DJ Jazzy Jeff

By • Nov 20th, 2003 • Category: Interviews

Batman has Robin. Simon has Garfunkel. George Michael has Andrew Ridgely – the other guy from Wham whose name nobody can remember.

The general dynamic of a duo is collaboration. However, regardless how evenly a workload may be distributed, one member will seize the spotlight. The other is doomed to ride out his/her wave of success as long as possible, only to fade away after the inevitable split.

The early ’90s rap twosome DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince sold 10 million records, won three Grammys, an MTV music award, two Soul Train awards, two NAACP awards and three American Music Awards.

Last Thursday, Will Smith was in Los Angeles doing voiceover work for, “Shark Tale,” his upcoming animated film with Robert De Niro, Jack Black, Angelina Jolie, Ziggy Marley, Martin Scorsese, Peter Falk, James Gandolfini and Renee Zellweger.

DJ Jazzy Jeff was at Otto’s Niteclub, 118 E. Lincoln Highway.

The Weekender had a chance to talk with the legendary deejay and producer before his set.

DJ Jazzy Jeff: Nice shoes.
WeekENDER: Thanks. So here’s DeKalb.

DJJ: Big college town, huh? Where is everyone?

WE: I’m here. Don’t I count?
DJJ: Where’s everyone else? Eating corn? Studying in the dorm? Where are the 25,000 students I thought went here?

It’s early still. Relax. Besides, this is only one stop on a pretty extensive tour.
DJJ: Yeah, I haven’t been home in over six months. We’re always on the road. I should just live on the bus permanently.

Where’s this trek taking you?
DJJ: Where is it not? It’s going all over, from Philadelphia to Canada. We’re doing two Chicago shows. Mostly it’s overseas.

WE: Where?
DJJ: Japan, Europe, Australia … everywhere.

WE: Any place stand out?
DJJ: Cork, Ireland. I know it sounds odd. But those are the nicest people in the world.

WE: NIU offers an exchange program to the university in Cork. I’m hoping to study there in the fall.
DJJ: Do it. You’ll love it. You can be blindfolded, walk into a club or restaurant, and think you’re back here. It’s the coolest place.

So you like being on the road more than the studio?
DJJ: I’d say it’s about equal. I was doing this sort of thing long before I was ever in the studio.

WE: This is closer to your heart?
DJJ: I had to start somewhere.

WE: Speaking of the studio, last year you put out your first record in over a decade.
DJJ: Yeah, it took me a while to get started on that.

WE: How long were you stockpiling material for it?
DJJ: Actually, it only took a month-and-a-half from conception to completion.

Even with guests like Jill Scott and Shawn Stockman?
DJJ: Believe it or not, those were just people who stopped by the studio. They’re friends of mine who came by to chill and got on tracks.

WE: Are you currently working on anything new?
DJJ: I have a few things in the works, mostly tours, though. The road prepares me for the studio.

WE: When does this tour end?
DJJ: It never stops. It’s like a cycle. Studio, put out the record, tour, studio, put out the record, tour. I should record again at the top of the year and then hit the road again in the spring.

WE: You won’t be worn down?
DJJ: No. Playing music is therapeutic. I love it.

WE: Even in places like DeKalb when the crowd is less than it should be?
DJJ: Hell yeah, nothing changes. I’ll play for just my friends, or even for nobody. It doesn’t matter who’s there. Getting together and living through music is the wave of the future.

Northern Star, Nov. 20, 2003

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