DJ Jazzy Jeff - conducted by Phayde  

DJ Jazzy Jeff

April 2007

MVRemix: When it came time to provide the transforming sound effect for the upcoming Transformers movie, you were overlooked. Why does Michael Bay hate rap music?

DJ Jazzy Jeff: [Laughs] You know, I never even thought about that. Never thought about that. It's funny, because I didn't even know Michael Bay hated rap music. It's funny that he hated rap music and did the movies with Will. But different people have different musical tastes. If Michael Bay is only exposing himself to the rap music that's on the radio, sometimes you can understand why he may hate it.

MVRemix: What are some of the greatest things to ever have happened to you?

DJ Jazzy Jeff: Ooh, the greatest thing. I definitely would have to say my kids being born. Musically, I would definitely have to say winning that first American Music Award, you know, just kind of getting that recognition. The feeling that you get when you realize that you have a record that people really like because you're performing for 20,000 people and everybody starts singing your record and you're just kind of looking, like "I can't believe that they're singing my record." One of the biggest things recently is putting together that DVD and just kind of looking, saying like, "Wow, I'm on stage in front of 1,500 people in Hong Kong, and then I'm on stage in front of 1,500 people in South Africa, then 2,000 people in London. I'm playing the same music. We don't speak the same verbal language, but we speak the same musical language. That's one of the things that I'm probably the most proud of, just taking something that I started in my mom's basement as a hobby and it has taken me to different places around the globe.

MVRemix: What's this I hear about you and Will touring together again?

DJ Jazzy Jeff: Well somebody put out a rumor that we were supposed to go on tour, like we were definitely going on tour.

MVRemix: Yeah, on the "Boom! Shake the Land" tour.

DJ Jazzy Jeff: Yeah. [Laughs] You know what it is? Will and I talk It's funny, because we actually performed together Friday night at the wrap party for his movie, and every time we get together, we talk about going out on the road, because he really, really, really wants to do that, but it's just kind of hard. Will's one of the biggest movie stars in the world, and it's really hard to juggle two careers. He often talks about that he thinks that the movies and television really messed his music career up because he couldn't really devote all his time. His heart is always there. One of the things that I do like, and we talked about it, is what he tries to do is whenever he puts out a movie, and he does the promotional stuff for the movie, he ties a concert in with the promo stuff. He did talk about when he releases the new movie, I am Legend, that he wants us to go out and do a tour in all of the places that they're releasing the movie. I look at it like, any time Will calls me, I'm there, because Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince is what started his movie career as well as my music career. We always kind of take whatever time we need to take out for that. You know, I keep my fingers crossed.

MVRemix: Where did you get your first big paycheck from, and what did you do with it?

DJ Jazzy Jeff: Ooh. First big paycheck was probably from a collection of shows that we did, and I took the money and I put it in my pocket. [Laughs] Bought a pair of shoes, and I put [the rest of the money] in my pocket, because the first big check I was so afraid of putting it in the bank. I didn't trust the bank for at least a year. I just took my money and put it in my pocket, and when it got too much to put in your pocket, I just put it under my bed.

MVRemix: You've said in past interviews that you completely support the Internet in relation to hip-hop because it makes music accessible to people who would otherwise not hear it. Still feel that way?

DJ Jazzy Jeff: Absolutely. As much as I'm a purist, I'm a technology geek. You can't really fight technology. You can't fight that, now, the internet brings accessibility to people who couldn't go and get your records. It's funny, because I was talking to somebody about this record. When I put out the last record, the record didn't come out on iTunes. It came out on iTunes after-the-fact. The difference between the last record and this record is that I can tell someone at my show right after that if you want to pick this record up, just go to iTunes. At the end of every show, we always tell people if you want to contact Jeff, or contact anybody, here's the web site address, or here's your MySpace address, and after every show, there's 10-15 people, at least, that contacted you: "Hey man, it was a great show. Thanks for the autograph, thanks for the picture." So if you can turn those people to a place that you can direct them to buy your product as soon as they see you, it's a plus. It's definitely a plus for the artist.

MVRemix: You take care of the MySpace page yourself?

DJ Jazzy Jeff: You know what? I try. I tried in the beginning, and then I kind of got cool with the people at MySpace and they made me a MySpace DJ. In one day, it went from like 4,000 people, friends and friend requests, to 40,000. It just got to a point that it was like, "Okay, this is way out of my hands now." So I try to answer as many e-mails as I can, you know. It's getting kind of hard, because it's starting to be a whole bunch of spam, people trying to get me to buy something from Victoria's secret. If you check 30 messages and 28 of them are Victoria's Secret ads, you just end up giving up, saying, "Never mind." I know a guy in DC who told me he booked a whole tour through MySpace. I mean, I've bumped into people from Howie T to Mix Master Ice from U.T.F.Oguys that I haven't been in contact with for 20 yearson MySpace. So it's definitely a community where you get these guys that can put their records and put their music out there and people can listen to it. It's definitely a big change, because now you have the accessibility to get your stuff out there and let people hear it without signing to a big record company. I just think it puts the power back into the artists' hands, or some of it.

MVRemix: Is there anything about it that you feel is detrimental to hip-hop?

DJ Jazzy Jeff: Detrimental. No, I don't think necessarily detrimental. I look at stuff like MySpace and the internet as what you get out of it. What you're starting to get is people focusing on, "Oh, these people prey on little kids," and child pornography. I mean, you're going to have good and bad in everything. That's just like picking up your phone and making prank phone calls, somebody trying to pick your son up. It doesn't necessarily make everything bad. It all depends on what you use it for. It's definitely a great tool if you use it to be a great tool.

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"Absolutely. As much as I'm a purist, I'm a technology geek. You can't really fight technology. You can't fight that, now, the internet brings accessibility to people who couldn't go and get your records."