DJ Jazzy Jeff and The Fresh Prince Drop He’s the DJ, I’m the Rapper – Today in Hip-Hop
XXL celebrates 50 years of hip-hop with this moment:
March 29, 1988: In an era when New York rap was dominating the nation, two kids from West Philadelphia, Pa. changed all that with their second album, He’s the DJ, I’m the Rapper, which was released on this day on Jive Records in 1988. The LP was also the first to be a double-disc album in hip-hop.
DJ Jazzy Jeff, born Jeffrey Townes, and the Fresh Prince, born Will Smith, were underdogs at the time, but it was their second album that helped propel their careers. Their distinct style was loved by fans all over the world. Jazzy Jeff was the DJ showing off his intricate turntable skills while the Fresh Prince was the rapper delivering carefree rhymes of partying and having fun.
The album's centerpiece is "Parents Just Don’t Understand," which is another classic storytelling tune from Fresh Prince. On the comical track, the Philly rhymer recalls two stories when his parents couldn't understand his complicated life as a teenager. The song became a top 10 hit on the Billboard R&B/Hip-Hop Hot Song chart and the visual was a mainstay on MTV and other video channels during its heyday in 1988.
The song also helped the rap tandem win their first-ever Grammy Award for Best Rap Performance at the 31st annual Grammy Awards on Feb. 22, 1989. But Jazzy Jeff and Fresh Prince boycotted the ceremony due to the Recording Academy's decision not to present the rap category during the Grammys primetime telecast. Watch the video below.
He’s the DJ, I’m the Rapper was certified triple platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America on Feb. 1, 1995. It remains their best-selling album as a group to date.
Jazzy Jeff is one of the most respected DJs in hip-hop while Will Smith became a Hollywood superstar.
He’s the DJ, I’m the Rapper was a monumental album that helped establish DJ Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince as one of the best rap duos in hip-hop history.