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.”