DJ Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince
In 1985, Will Smith (The Fresh Prince) was introduced to Jeff Townes (Jazzy Jeff) when Jeff was playing at a house party near Smith's home. When Jeff's hype man did not show up (the backup singer who gets the crowd fired up), Smith filled in. It wasn't long before the two joined up and enlisted the help of beat boxer Clarence Holmes (Ready Rock C).
Their first single, "Girls Ain't Nothing But Trouble", was released in late 1985 under the Word Up Records label. Many of you will remember this song considering it used the I Dream of Jeannie theme song as the main track. The song became a hit even before Will Smith graduated high school. The success of the single got the attention of Jive Records, who produced the first DJ Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince album, Rock the House, which was released in 1987. The band went on tour with Run DMC and Public Enemy to support the effort.
In 1988, their next album, He's the DJ, I'm the Rapper, hit shelves. The album propelled them into multi-platinum super stars. Many of you will remember the song "Parents Just Don't Understand" from this release, the video of which met with great success on MTV, and the Freddy Krueger parody song "Nightmare On My Street". And In this Corner was released in 1989, and although it did not do as well, it did feature the hit song "I Think I Can Beat Mike Tyson".
Around this time, Smith and Townes were offered their own show, The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. An interesting tidbit about Smith: During the first 3 years of the show, the IRS garnished 25% of each paycheck for past tax evasion. Riding the coattails of their TV success, two more albums were released before they called it quits. Homebase in 1991, and Code Red in 1993. Songs from these albums you may remember include "Summertime", "Ring My Bell", and "Boom! Shake the Room". In 1993, Will Smith went on to full time acting and we all know how lucrative his career has been. The DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince Discography is as follows:
- 1987: Rock the House
- 1988: He's the DJ, I'm the Rapper
- 1989: And In This Corner...
- 1991: Homebase
- 1993: Code Red
- 1998: Greatest Hits
- 2000: Before the Willennium
- 2003: Platinum & Gold Collection
- 2006: The Very Best of Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince