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Today In Hip-Hop: “He’s the DJ, I’m the Rapper” Celebrates 25th Anniversary

On this day, March 29th, in hip-hop history…


1988: In an era when New York rap was dominating from the rest of the country, two kids from West Philadelphia changed all that with He’s the DJ, I’m the Rapper.

DJ Jazzy Jeff (Jeffrey Townes) and the Fresh Prince (Will Smith) were underdogs at the time, but it was their sophomore album that helped propel their careers. Their style was unique and didn’t follow the New York model of rap groups. Simply put, Jazzy Jeff wasn’t behind the scenes when Fresh Prince was rapping. Rather, the duo worked in tandem where scratches, cutting and raps meshed together in tracks like “Parents Just Don’t Understand.”

He’s the DJ, I’m the Rapper was released on Jive Records and it was the first to be a double-disc album in hip-hop. It became certified triple platinum in February 1995 and ranks among the most successful hip-hop records ever.

Jazzy Jeff still remains as one of the most respected in hip-hop, and Smith will occasionally pick up the mic for fun appearances. In honor of their landmark album, revisit some of its classics.

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