DJ Jazzy Jeff Speaks On "He's The DJ, I'm The Rapper" On The Album's 25th Anniversary

DJ Jazzy Jeff says he and Will Smith didn't think "Parents Just Don't Understand" was single-worthy, talks 1989 Grammys.

It may not seem like it’s been two and a half decades since He's The DJ, I'm The Rapper was released, but tomorrow, March 29th officially marks the 25th anniversary of the release of DJ Jazzy Jeff and Will Smith’s iconic sophomore album. As part of a first-person feature story honoring the anniversary, DJ Jazzy Jeff spoke with PhiladelphiaWeekly.com about the creation of the album, touring, and even boycotting The Grammy’s in 1989.

Despite the immense success of the duo’s classic record “Parents Just Don’t Understand,” DJ Jazzy Jeff revealed that neither himself nor Will Smith were on board for using the record as the album’s first single.

“We were trying to do something that was a little bit harder, with some scratches in it, maybe some human beatbox stuff, and I remember one of the producers who was working with us saying, ‘’Parents Just Don’t Understand’ should be the first single,’” DJ Jazzy Jeff explained. “Me and Will were like, ‘No, no, no, no, no.’ And he was just like, ‘I’m telling you, ‘Parents Just Don’t Understand’ is a smash hit.’”

DJ Jazzy Jeff later spoke on the 1989 Grammy awards ceremony he and Will Smith both boycotted due to The Grammy’s unwillingness to air any of the rap-related awards.

“I didn’t understand. I watch the Grammys, and there are lots of times when they do the 13 country and western awards and the 15 classical awards, and I don’t really care about that,” said the Philadelphia deejay. “So, we’re thinking they’ve got to be able to move one of those awards to the pre-televised portion for one of the rap ones…So, we pleaded and pleaded, and we stated our case on The Arsenio Hall Show, so that hopefully they would televise it. They still declined. Me and Will sat down knowing that this is the first time rap has been here, that this is huge, and we mapped out what we wanted to do. We decided to boycott the Grammys.”

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11 Comments

  • Anonymous

    where's the 25th anniversary edition original full-length album

  • dazeone

    Jive rhythm trax set the trends for dj's...period and he been doing that since 85 and 86. As we go was that heat with the impeach the president beat. Brand New funk rocked the clubs. Parents just don't understand was the comercial record ..Girls of the world was 1000 times better...Pump up the bass..and charlie mack...they weren't public enemy but their stae show was just as good ....props to illadelphs finest from 60st West Philly all day..

  • da commanda

    When we're talking hip hop, his name is Fresh Prince, not Will Smith...

  • tumi

    rappers should boycott the grammys again since well now they show 1 category and the most useless one @ that: best rap/sung category

  • Anonymous

    Be paid weekly and earn like a boss! I just bought a great Mazda MX-5 from having earned $7126 this past 4 weeks and $10k past-month. Without any doubt this is the easiest and most comfortable job Ive ever had. I began this 6 months ago and right away was bringing in more than $83 per/h. Heres what Ive been doing Epic2.com_

  • Anonymous

    Big ups to boycotting the Grammys. They probably would have lost in the Rap category though. NWA, Slick Rick, BDP, EPMD and Ultramagnetic's best albums came out at the same time.

  • Anonymous

    That single sucked compared to songs like Black steel in the hour of Chaos. FACT!!!

    • georgel

      How can you compare those two songs? One is meant to be fun and funny the other is the complete opposite. its like saying your mom is better in bed than your sister. its not even close, your sister is younger with much better body and firmer tits but your mom is experienced and knows how to take care of a man but isnt as tight. but at the end of the day ill take both of them, at same time