He's The DJ, I'm The Rapper is the sophomore album by DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince. While their debut Rock The House solidified The Fresh Prince as a great and humorous storyteller, and DJ Jazzy Jeff as one of the best DJs in the game, their follow-up doubled down on those skill sets and expanded their fanbase exponentially.
The double album and its videos put the duo on a course that made them household names — they eventually became music, TV, and movie superstars.
Parents Just Don't Understand
"Parents Just Don't Understand" picks up where songs like "One Of Those Days" and "Girls Aint Nothin But Trouble" from Rock The House left off. The Fresh Prince's storytelling was on full display as he wove a tale of various scenarios that universally appealed to young people concerning parental relationships. "Parents Just Don't Understand" which was the lead single from He's The DJ, I'm The Rapper also marked the first video by the duo. The colorful and humorous video received heavy airplay on MTV and other outlets that didn't traditionally air rap videos. More importantly Warren Littlefield, an NBC executive told the Los Angeles Times in 1990 that the idea for The Fresh Prince of Bel Air (a sitcom based on the life of record exec Benny Medina) was born when he saw "Parents..." on MTV. “We were all looking at Newsweek and Time and seeing these cover stories (about rap music),” he explained. “I was personally watching ‘Yo! MTV Raps’ and just feeling waves of something new and contemporary running through various streams of culture in America. We felt there was a drum beat going on out there, and we looked at our development (schedule) and said, ‘It’s not represented.’ ”
The 900 Number
Those who remember the late 80s-early 90s may also remember how popular 900 numbers were. These numbers, or "chat lines," which predate the spread of cell phones, charged the caller a set price for the call, and an additional charge for every minute after. Fortune tellers, entertainers, and adult entertainers alike raked in big bucks from these numbers. In an effort to promote He's The DJ, I'm The Rapper Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince created one of these 900 numbers. The number grossed a reported $10 million in two years. The line, which charged $2.00 for the first minute and .45 cents for each additional minute, offered relationship advice, the inside scoop on "the Hip-Hop scene" or a chance to chat with Jeff and The Prince.
Brand New Funk
"Brand New Funk" was not only a great song, but it stands as one of the best videos by Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince. The video contains live audio and video pieces from the group live in concert with alternate vocal takes. Will's cadence on the song is widely celebrated as one of his best performances on record. "Brand New Funk" was also given a remix that contained extra samples and cuts by Jazzy Jeff. On an album that contained much more crossover material than their debut, "Brand New Funk" is about as Hip-Hop as it gets.
Live At Union Square 1986
"Live At Union Square" is a showcase of DJ Jazzy Jeff's incredible turntable skills. Recorded and performed at Brooklyn's legendary Union Square, this song is like. throwback to the days of the live Hip-Hop tapes that predate rap recordings. The Fresh Prince starts by shouting out Cold Crush Brothers and Furious 5 frontmen Grandmaster Caz and Melle Mel respectively. He also shouts out New York radio legends Mr. Magic of WHBI and WBLS and DJ Red Alert of KISS FM.
"I'm a young boy comin' up doin' this. I'm 17 years old and I'm gettin' ready to do what I wanna do up here," he announces. J
azzy Jeff runs through a set of classic of foundational breakbeats such as "Got To Be Real," "Apache" and"Let's Dance To The Drummer's Beat" which is still amazing.
As We Go
"As We Go" is another Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince classic, and a perfect display of the synergy that exists between the two. Over a sample of "God Make me Funky" and "Impeach The President" by The Honey Drippers, The Fresh Prince flexed his storytelling skills once more as he spun tales of meeting up with "girlies" with Jeff and his beatbox Ready Rock C who also makes an appearance on the song.