DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince's He's The DJ, I'm The Rapper (3X Platinum) | Album Review

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CLASSIC RATING: 4 OUT OF 6

Based on the success of their 'Girls Ain't Nothing But Trouble' single in 1987, they managed to sell about 300,000 copies of their debut record Rock The House and go out on tour with Run-DMC & Public Enemy. This set the stage for their sophomore album I'm The DJ, He's The Rapper (released March 29, 1988) which would end of selling 3M records and they would also take home the very first Grammy Award for Best Rap Performance for the song 'Parents Just Don't Understand' which caused mixed reactions in the hip-hop community. 

The singles off HTDITR particularly well with 'Parents Just Don't Understand' which had an accompanying video which was played a lot on MTV, the single ended up charting at #10 on the US R&B chart. While their other single "A Nightmare On My Street" charted even higher, despite not having a video, at #9. A video was never made because New Line Cinema who owned the Nightmare On Elm Street franchise was not pleased that DJJATFP had made an unlicensed track based on the movie.

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One of the most noticeable differences on HTDITR compared to Rock The House is the updated production sound which is both more polished and refined. There's still an authentic hip-hop sound to the tracks with plenty of dope scratching and sampling provided Jazzy Jeff who is an excellent and highly tasteful DJ. The basslines are groovy and the highs melodic creating a smooth listening experience on such tracks as 'Here We Go Again' and 'Brand New Funk'.

 The single cover for DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince's 'Parents Just Don't Understand'

The single cover for DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince's 'Parents Just Don't Understand'

A very cool feature of the album (and their debut) is the inclusion of a live song, *Live at Union Square", which was recorded in November, 1986, and it's a terrific DJ'ing set which includes very, very dope scratching and cutting, and what makes it even more impressive is that it's recorded in a live situation without any studio trickery. The album also has a beatboxing track, 'My Buddy', and a couple more DJ tracks, with 'Rhythm Trax' being the most impressive with even more deft turntablism than before.  However, it's on 'Pump Up The Bass' that all three elements come together and arguably create the best pound-for-pound track on the album.

The album is basically two parts with one part being the "rapper" part, and the other being the "DJ" part (with some beatboxing by Ready Rock C thrown in for good measure). And this works well despite lowering the overall rating somewhat because the "DJ" part is not as interesting as the "rapper" part, which is understandable. A few notables for the album is that it was mostly recorded in the United Kingdom as well being hip-hop's first double-vinyl LP.

How Classic Is He's The DJ, I'm The Rapper?

CLASSIC: None, DOPE: A Nightmare On My Street, Parents Just Don't Understand, Pump Up the Bass, Live at Union Square, Rhythm Trax, GOOD: Here We Go Again, Charlie Mack, He's The D.J. I'm The Rapper, Jazzy's In The House, Human Video Game, OKAY: Time to Chill, As We Go, DJ On Wheels, My Buddy, Hip Hop Dancer's Theme
Alexander Ramalho