DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince | Albums Ranked

 Photo courtesy of  @djjazzyjeff

Photo courtesy of @djjazzyjeff

Will Smith’s Contributions to Hip Hop

Will Smith recently celebrated his 50th birthday with The Jump, which was awesome. You could really feel his fear and the buildup to the jump was amazing. Very inspiring indeed. The reason I’m starting this article with that bit of information is because during the coverage surrounding The Jump people were bringing up Will’s biggest achievements. One that got brought up was his contributions to Hip Hop.

He’s rightfully touted as someone in the mainstream who represents Hip Hop culture (well Hip Hop is mainstream) but you could say he paved the way of taking Hip Hop into the mainstream. That would be more correct. He’s surely not the only person to do this. Dr. Dre, Snoop Dogg, 2Pac, Coolio, Eminem, and others have surely done as much to move Hip Hop into the mainstream. But Will Smith is undeniably the most PG friendly of the rappers who have represented the Hip Hop culture in the mainstream.

Representing The Culture

You could also make the point that he represents “the culture” even better than any of the above. He not only raps about positivity and having fun (two elements of early Hip Hop), but he’ll do stuff like off the cuff beatboxing on a major talk show. He also had his DJ as an official and prominent member of his group. That’s another element right there. He might not break dance, but he can dance. And he dances well, which is part of the having fun part.

The unfortunate part about Hip Hop culture from late the 80s and onwards is the fact that you don’t get respect unless you’re “street”. The has just been the nature of “the game”. Rappers who are hard, are considered “better”, even to the point where actual skills matter very little. There are countless untalented, unoriginal rappers that get tons more respect than The Fresh Prince. Sad but true.

But his true fans, and even more mainstream music fans, hear Will Smith for the amazing talent that he is. A masterful storyteller whose imagination is vivid and endlessly creative. He can make a song about just about anything, and it will still be great. That’s how talented he is.

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One of the Greatest DJs of All-Time

 Photo courtesy of  @djjazzyjeff

Photo courtesy of @djjazzyjeff

Don’t even get me started on his DJ who created the best sounding DJ tracks on any Hip Hop albums. EVER! His scratches were crystal clear, precise and musical to a tee. From the 80s and until today he’s a respected DJ who is constantly in demand, both for live DJ sets and in the studio as a producer. The man is a legend.

With no further ado. Let’s start the CHHM album ranking of all DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh albums *

DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince’s Albums Ranked

5. Homebase (1991)

 Read the  original review

Considered a comeback album. Released during the success of The Fresh Of Bel-Air series, one could question the group's motivation. They smashed the critics and won a Grammy for their Classic song “Summertime”. As a whole, the album is more dance-oriented and the lyrics tend to be more personal than before. A solid album.

4. And In This Corner… (1989)

 Read the original review  here

Read the original review here

Their third album was considered a flop...selling only to Gold status. Nonetheless, it contains no weak tracks and has a warm and lively production. However there are a lack of big singles, hence the lower sales. The album is very solid both lyrically and musically. Will Smith would be hired as an actor on The Fresh Prince Bel-Air shortly after its release.

3. He’s The DJ, I’m The Rapper (1988)

 Check out the  full review

Check out the full review

On this album, they were riding a wave of crossover popularity and would win a Grammy and sell an incredible 3 million records. Broken into a DJ part and a rapper part, the album showcases plenty of DJ’ing and even some beatboxing. It was a great representative of Hip Hop music in the mainstream.

2. Code Red (1993)

 Read the entire  review here

Read the entire review here

Released during Will Smith’s hectic schedule in 1993 (movies, tv show) this album was of surprisingly high quality. The album has an up to date feel with producers such as Teddy Riley and Pete Rock. While Will sounds hungry as ever on the microphone. The album contains the worldwide chart-topping single, “Boom! Shake The Room” which is a classic. A lot of good songs on this one.

1. Rock The House (1987)

The album which started it all, containing songs like “Girls Ain't Nothing But Trouble”, “Rock The House”, and “A Touch Of Jazz”. With songs like that it’s easy to see why they became such massive stars. The production is crisp for 1987. And the songwriting is impeccable.

Cheers to DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince for being the most underestimated group in the history of hip-hop.

* The CHHM method for rating albums gives you the most accurate rating available anywhere. We go through every single song on every single album to give you the score which matters the most. Not every album from the 80s and 90s is a classic and you deserve credibility when investigating old school albums. We provide context where there is little or none elsewhere.

Alexander Ramalho