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Philly Music Tea w/DJ Jazzy Jeff

A Philly music legend…

First Class DJ…

Mr. Will Smith’s “Summertime” co-conspirator…

And first class gentleman. 

Yes, those are all of the words and phrases that anyone could use when it comes to describing the many talents and unlimited creative perseverance of the City of Brotherly Love‘s very own, DJ Jazzy Jeff.

And now after thirty years of straight up making us werk for our “Summertime” lives and beyond, the incredible DJ is serving it up more than ever before, with sets at the annual Roots picnics, a killer opening set at last year’s Gaga/Lenny starring Democratic National Convention concert, and now a special event at NOTO Philadelphia, in which Jeff will be spinning it all sorts of out and then some a bit later this hump day evening.

But before he takes over our Philly dance music lives once again (and that he most certainly will do..), Jeff was ridiculously gracious enough to stop by Philly Mixtape for a few beats of local music tea where he broke mugs about the continuing “Summertime” madness, what it takes to keep on in today’s crazy times, and of course, his love for all things music. 

My man! Thank you so much for taking the time to chat with Philly Mixtape, from both a personal level and from all of your fans, we truly appreciate it. Now, I know that you’ve been asked a million questions about “Summertime,” but I just want to say that I was ten-years-old when that record came out, so I’m totally about that life. So, just getting down to the nitty-gritty of it all, how did you and Mr. Smith come through with the track? What was the overall vibe like putting it together? Tell me everything, man… Well, mainly it was Will’s first season on The Fresh Prince of Bel Air, so he was in California, so you know of course anybody on the East Coast…we get the four seasons..leaves turn brown and it’s golden..next thing you know we got the winter and there’s snow. But when spring hit and everybody started to come out [Will] called me because he was he was so used to eighty-five degree winters being in L.A. He didn’t get a chance to experience that seasonal change that we all grew up with. So as it started to get warm and him being nostalgic of Philly, he would call me and be like, “Yo, so what’s going on?” and I’d be like….it was eighty-two degrees here today and I got the car out and I wiped it down and [he would tell me], “Awe, man, I miss that!” And then we would turn it into…you remember such-and-such, you should see her..she look completely different than she did last year! [Those are] the things that we go through during the changes of the seasons, especially going from spring into summer…the first day that it’s hot enough to put out shorts..somebody got a new car who didn’t have one last year…some girl looks completely different..she was the “ugly duckling” and now she’s beautiful. You get all of those nuances of summer that [Will] absolutely missed being in L.A. because it was eighty-five degrees in December! So, that’s where the nostalgia part came in. And then it was [basically us] just talking about the feeling that you get with the seasons. And that’s kind of why I feel like “Summertime” has a different meaning to people who have four season climates. [It’s a cool] record to everybody in L.A., but everybody in Philly knows exactly what we mean going from fall, winter, spring to summer. And that’s how it was basically created, man. 

Now, in those “Summertime” recording sessions, did you and Will think you would have this kind of a long-lasting impression with a seasonal flow? You don’t ever think that. You’re making a record for the moment. Especially hip-hop records back in the ’90s, you know, we were just like, let’s make a cool record that kind of talks about the summer and next year it’s going to be over. You hope in your career that you have something that just doesn’t go away…that’s an ultimate blessing. Whether it be a movie…you know everybody still talks about Scarface…it’s passed generations..Al Pacino got one with Scarface. We’ve been blessed to have that with both The Fresh Prince of Bel Air and “Summertime.” It’s a golden blessing to have one, and it’s almost impossible to have two that you created something that sticks and transcends generations. But you don’t ever think that, I think that every summer since that record’s come out I think it’s the last one and their not going to play it past that summer…and as soon as it’s warm…there it is. 

Absolutely, man…there it is. So, I have to ask, how does it feel for you personally knowing that there may be a new little dude or diva out there getting their “Summertime” on for the very first time this year? You don’t ever get used to that. I tell people all of the time that so many times when I get together with Will, we’ll go through this nostalgic period..we’ll just look at each other and be like..’you believe this? No.’ Because everybody thinks that you just get used to it and settled in. I think it’s the exact opposite or I guess it is for him and I that as you get older you become more reflective of how difficult doing something like that is, so you become more appreciative…this is crazy..look at what we’re still doing. 

What are some of your personal favorite summer jams? Definitely “Summer Madness,” (by Kool & The Gang) where we got  “Summertime” from. Roy Ayers, “Everybody Loves the Sunshine.” There’s a lot of summer nostalgia out there. The funny thing is that a friend of mine, another DJ, Mick Boogie, came to me eight years ago and was like, ‘Hey, I got an idea,.let’s make a Mix Tape that just has all nostalgic summertime records.” It was pretty much, let’s make it a little bit over an hour–you do seventeen minutes..I’ll do seventeen minutes. We did it..had someone do the cover..put it out and got over a million downloads. Everybody was playing it. It was the exact same thing..thought it was over when it was out….we cool. Come spring time, we started getting all of these Tweets and messages wondering if we we’re going to do it again. We ended up doing a second one and we’re on the eighth one now. Summer brings a feeling of nostalgia that I feel like I’m almost responsible to provide the music for your BBQ. 

Okay, just to put you on the spot for a minute, shout out for me three of your all-time favorite records…. Can’t do that..Imma tell you why. People always ask me to pick my favorite Hip-Hop track. Music is like kids to me..I can’t pick my favorite kid. Mainly because I am a walking bank of music–I have all-time jazz records, all-time rock records, all-time hip-hop records. I am a music junkie. So, when someone asks me a question about picking my favorite music my brain goes in eighty-five thousand ways as soon as I hear that question. I love the Yellow Jackets, I love Chicago, I love Rare Earth. I can go down the list..I’m infatuated with ‘7os rock…I’m infatuated with the ’60s Chicago Oakland Scene and Flower Child..I’m excited about the ’70s jazz scene…my brain just splinters. It’s kind of like, I don’t know what to say. If I get in my car and drive to Philly..I might want to listen to some jazz or some Kendrick Lamar…it’s really crazy how my brain is when it comes to music..it’s a blessing and a curse. 

You know what, I get a lot of grumbles over that question from other artists I interviewed…so I appreciate your honesty. I guess it makes me sort of a hypocrite, too, because I know I couldn’t answer it..one day I’m in a Madonna ‘Ray of Light’ vibe and on Friday I’m sure I’ll be living that Katy Perry life when her new album drops….  Exactly! Cause it’s real! I’ve been put on the spot so many times that I trip on how my brain just shuts down because it’s like you hit enter ion the computer and it just starts going. I can’t figure out my favorite record today is! 

Okay, so you’ve been in the game a long time now, but do you still get nerves before a high-profile set, much like NOTO tonight? I never have lost the anxiety before I play. It’s just an excitement, you know, because it’s really dope to play records for people. It’s even doper for me to know the journey I want to go on and they don’t know the unexpected turns that I’m about to make that everybody’s going to look at me like I’m crazy…and when I make the full turn you gonna be like ‘Oh, My God, I can’t believe he did that.’ It’s almost like you have the answers to questions that will make people happy..and they don’t know when you’re going to give them the answers. And it’s not just that, I get a kick out of playing for people all over the world…great, I get to play at a cool spot for my hometown…but then it’s like, okay, I’m playing in The Philippines in Manila where it’s a whole different group of people who are just music lovers that want to hear the direction you’re going to play. So, you always get that little bit of anxiety. I almost feel like that if you don’t get anxiety or nerves before every time you play…you’re not really playing. 

I would ask you what people can expect from your set tonight, but my guess is you’re just going to straight up make them dance… I just play. I have a little bit of an idea of what I’m always going to do..like, I got a bass, but I love the fact that, you know, I can go off target and just do some stuff. I have a lot of friends that have played at NOTO. Everybody has raved about the club and how great it is. I’m just happy that it’s my turn. I’m happy because you get to play in all of these cool places around the world and now I get to play in a really cool place in my hometown. I’ll go and pretty much wing it. I am Philadelphia, so as much as I’m playing, I’m probably in the crowd having a good time. 

One last order of business, without going into all of it, there’s no denying that it’s a crazy world out there right now. And we need to spread the message to anyone that’s creative out there to keep doing their thing and let nothing stop them. So, what words of advice would you give to someone to keep it all moving along? Well, you know what, it’s crazy because sometimes the advice that I had or the advice that I took may not apply for today. I just tell people find something that you absolutely love and would do for the rest of your life for free. And if you work at it, nine-out-of-ten times it will be the thing that will take care of you for the rest of your life. I have been blessed that I have very rarely done any kind of job that I did not love. I don’t know how to do that. It’s interesting to me to give suggestions to people to ‘follow your heart’ because unfortunately there are a lot of people who haven’t had the ability to do that. And because I don’t know anything other, it’s more important for me to be happy doing something that I love. I just push people like…find out what your passion is…everybody has that kind of passion. A lot of times there’s always something that’s going to knock you off of your passion path, but if you’re passionate about something…don’t let anything or anyone stop you from at least giving it a shot.

And there you have it, guys and gals.

To catch up with DJ Jazzy Jeff at NOTO tonight, check this out, and for much more with this truly one-of-a-kind Philly talent, check out his official website right here.  

Are you an entertainer, promoter or event planner who’s the epitome of professionalism and dancin’ along fabulously in Philadelphia? Then Philly Mixtape wants to hear from you! For questions, comments and everything else in beat-tween (everyone’s welcome here, so don’t ever be shy), become a fan on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram and/or email Patrick DeMarco at iluvbeatz96@gmail.com and let’s promote it ALL up proper…and together. Slay.

Cover photo courtesy of Lifestyle Asia 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Groove of the Evening/DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince/”Summertime”

“Summer, summer, summertime
Time to sit back and unwind

Here it is the groove slightly transformed
Just a bit of a break from the norm
Just a little somethin’ to break the monotony
Of all that hardcore dance that has gotten to be
A little bit out of control it’s cool to dance
But what about the groove that soothes that moves romance
Give me a soft subtle mix
And if ain’t broke then don’t try to fix it
And think of the summers of the past
Adjust the bass and let the alpine blast
Pop in my CD and let me run a rhyme
And put your car on cruise and lay back cause this is summertime

Chorus

School is out and it’s a sort of a buzz
But back then I didn’t really know what it was
But now I see what happened is
The way that people respond to summer madness
The weather is hot and girls are dressing less
And checking out the fellas to tell ’em who’s best
Riding around in your jeep or your Benzos
Or in your Nissan sitting on lorenzos
Back in Philly we’d be out in the park
A place called the plateau is where everybody goes
Guys out hunting and girls doing likewise
Honking at the honey in front of you with the light eyes
She turns around to see what you beeping at
It’s like the summer’s a natural aphrodisiac
And with a pen and pad I compose this rhyme
To hit you and get you equipped for the summer time

Chorus

It’s late in the day and I ain’t been on the court yet
Hustle to the mall to get me a short set
Yeah I got on sneaks but I need a new pair
Cause basketball courts in the summer got girls there
The temperature’s about 88
Hop in the water plug just for old times sake
Break to ya crib change your clothes once more
Cause you’re invited to a barbeque that’s starting at 4
Sitting with your friends cause y’all remincise
About the days growing up and the first person you kiss
And as I think back makes me wonder how
The smell from a girl could spark up nostalgia
All the kids playing out front
Little boys messin round with the girls playing double-dutch
While the DJ’s spinning a tune as the old folks dance at your family
Reunion
Then six o’clock rolls around
You just finished wiping your car down
It’s time to cruise so you go to the summertime hangout
It looks like a car show
Everybody come lookin real fine
Fresh from the barber shop or fly from the beauty salon
Every moment frontin’ and maxin’
Chillin in the car they spent all day waxin’
Leanin’ to the side but you can’t speed through
Two miles an hour so everybody sees you
There’s an air of love and of happiness
And this is the Fresh Prince’s new definition of summer madness” 

Enough said. 

Lyrics to “Summertime” provided by Lyrics Freak 

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Philly Weekday Entertainment Groove

Let’s get our weekday entertainment party on and stuff, shall we? You know the answer…go. 

Sing Your Life Karaoke What’s your favorite karaoke song? Chances are the fabulous Sara Sherr has them all (meaning…all the ones you belt in the shower) in her always sun-kissed Sing Your Life Karaoke collection, which will be serving your vocal chords all week long and beyond at any one of these fabulous Philly locations listed below. Sun, 9-2 Bob and Barbara’s, 1509 South Street Tues, 9-2 12 Steps Down, 9th and Christian Thurs, 9-2 W/N W/N 931 Spring Garden, Fri, 9-1 Southhouse, 2535 S. 13th St. Saturday, 9-1:45 Les & Doreen’s Happy Tap,1301 E Susquehanna Ave

Jerry’s Girls Grab those tickets for a magical evening this week (and during the weekend, too!) that’s guaranteed to be jam-packed with the still delightful music of Jerry Herman and some of Broadway’s best musicals, including Hello Dolly!, Mame, Mack and Mabel, Dear World and La Cage Aux Folles. What it all comes down to is…go. Enough said. Now-July 2nd, Walnut Street Theatre, Independence Studio on 3, various showtimes and ticket prices 825 Walnut St.

Motown:The Musical  There comes a time in life when we must not run, we must not walk, but instead just straight up….dance. And while we’re all on the dance floor of this crazy little thing called life, we must groove it on over to see an incredible Broadway experience in the City of Brotherly Love…and Motown:The Musical has just what everyone is looking for at this very moment in time. But in case you need a touch further convincing as to why everyone should experience this Tony Award owning show about Motown Records pariah Berry Gordy and all of the incredible music stars that came along on his wild music tale-Diana! Smokey! Michael!–Philly Mixtape has these 5 reasons why right here as to exactly why everyone should grab those tickets to see Motown:The Musical while it’s here until this Sunday, June 11th.  Let’s groove.  The Academy of Music, various showtimes, 240 S. Broad St. 

Saturday Night Fever:The Musical Since you know you’ve got that “Staying Alive” strut more than mastered, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t boogie oogie oogie over to the box office at the Walnut Street Theatre and grab those tickets for Saturday Night Fever, the smash musical based off of the John Travota disco game changer, which also coincides with the fortieth (!!!) anniversary of the classically funkdafied ’70s dance flick. Of course, in order to truly prepare for this bedazzled spectacle, play, like, every Bee-Gee’s record ever as you grab those tickets right here, right now. Walnut Street Theatre, MainStage, May 16 – July 16th, $20 – $95, 810 Walnut Street

Shut Up & Sing! Because a night of karaoke and carrying on at Woody’s alongside sexy ‘n sassy Philly drag divas Ms. Vinchelle and Ms. Sutton Fearce is just what you need for the start of your long, hard werk week. Every Monday, Woody’s, 202 S. 13th St. 7-9

DJ Jimmy DePre  Whether it’s at Stir on Thursday (10 pm, 1705 Chancellor St.) or Tavern on Camac (10 pm, 243 South Camac St.) on both Friday & Saturday, that’s three chances to hear Mr. DePre spin out this killer remix of Ms. Grande’s “Everyday,” in which you know he will because he’s always got that good shit for your dancing feet. 

Brand Nubian/Das EFX  “They Want EFX” for lyfe. And of course, Yo, MTV Raps forever. Those were the daze, weren’t they, kids? Bag ’em up.  Thursday, 9 pm, Underground Arts, 1200 Callowhill St. 

O.A.R./Natasha Bedingfield/Train While we’re more than excited to see O.A.R. and (some of us) Train (does anyone really know why?) take over BB & T Pavilion this Thursday night, we just have to give a big ol’ yaaas, Ms. Bedingfield to the “Love Like This” songstress because, hey, it’s been a while, right? Especially when it comes to this still killer Johnny Vicious remix, which you get down to while you grab those tickets.  Thursday, 7 pm, BB & T Pavilion, 1 Harbour Boulevard, Camden, New Jersey

Glitter & Garbage  That voice and that sass are back as extraordinary Philly talent, Ms. Shannon Turner, returns to L’Etage this Friday to help kickstart your summer in the most magical way possible..by blowing you away with all of her god damn incredible talent. But since she loves bringing lots and lots of friends along for her G&G romps, Ms. Turner will have Keyboard Bish, Lili St. Queer, Drag Supa Star, Aurora Whorealis, and Burlesque Wizard, to help bring the heat for what’s guaranteed to be a fiery night of true Philly entertainment. So, just f#$king go, okay? Enough said. Friday, 7 pm, L’Etage, 624 S. 6th St 

B.o.B.  “Airplanes” for life. There’s really nothing else to say here. Grab those tickets.  Friday, Kung Fu Necktie, 8 pm, 1248 N. Front St. 

Sex Dwarf:Hey! Ho! Rainbows!   The many talents of DJ Robert Drake mixed with the vibes of Club Mousai plus the music of Erasure, Dead or Alive, Boy George (and many, many more) plus lots and lots of rainbows equals a big ol’ yaaaaas, Pride Month Kween! So, now that you know, let’s dance and be gayer than Ms. Gaga’s disco stick, shall we? And please for the love of all things glitter………let’s all get along. Go. Friday, 10 pm, Club Mousai, 1227 Walnut St. 

DTF:Daryl & Timaree Fun Hour   Besides the fact that it’s on 6/9 this month (of course!), you should absolutely strut your sexy stuff over to Franky Bradley’s this Friday night (and it’s gonna be a hot one, kids) as Dr. Timaree Leigh and certified funny man, Mr. Daryl Charles team up to serve you with the greatest sex ed/comedy/game show in the known universe once again. Saddle up and be there. And then afterwards…we dance like nobody’s f#$king business.  Friday, 830 pm, Franky Bradley’s, 1320 Chancellor St. 

Also on the local and legendary entertainment decks for your Thursday…..Jurassic 5 @TLA Philly (8 pm, 334 South St.)……..Timber Timbre @Boot & Saddle) 830 pm (1131 South Broad St.)…..Vacationor @Coda (9 pm, 1712 Walnut St.)…..Friday…...Slightly Stoopid @Festival Pier (730 pm, Columbus Blvd & Spring Garden St)…..Matt Lange @Coda (11 pm, 1712 Walnut St.)……..Matt Kelly @Ortliebs (8 pm, 847 N. 3rd St.)….Epoch Failure @Dave&Buster’s (325 N. Columbus Blvd.)…

With of course, much more right here…so, go.