The Cut recently caught up with the legendary DJ Jazzy Jeff at DJ Q-Bert’s Skratch University headquarters to talk about the Philadelphia DJs illustrious career. Jazzy Jeff explained how he pioneered sampling and the transformer scratch on his and the Fresh Prince Will Smith’s 1986 record “The Magnificent Jazzy Jeff.” He even said that the godfather of Hip Hop Afrika Bambaataa gave him respect for how he implemented a sample of James Brown’s “The Funky Drummer” at the end of the song.
“A lot of people don’t know, which is bad, I was the first person to let somebody else’s record go on mine [on ‘The Magnificent Jazzy Jeff’],” he explained. “Like everybody would just scratch, at the end of the record, you remember, I let [James Brown’s] ‘The Funky Drummer’ go…I fucked it up for everybody. [Afrika] Bambaattaa came up and told me, ‘You know what? You’re the first person to ever sample,’ and I was like, ‘What do you mean?’ [He said,] ‘I couldn’t believe you let ‘Funky Drummer’ go at the end of ‘The Magnificent.’ I was like, yo, you’ve got balls.’ I was like ‘I didn’t know it was illegal!'”
Revolutionary DJ and Invisibl Skratch Piklz alum DJ Q-Bert also talked about his reaction to Jazzy Jeff’s work on the song. He said that he was stunned and humbled by Jeff’s transformer scratches and chirping when he first heard the track.
“I remember my girlfriend at that time was like, ‘Can you do this scratch?’, and I was like ‘Oh, I can do any of these scratches,'” said Q-Bert. “I heard that [song], and I was like, ‘What the hell?’ That shit fucked me up. The whistle and everything…I melted to the ground, I was like, ‘Oh man, that shit’s hella hard.’ I don’t know what the hell he was doing, especially the chirp part and the transform…I didn’t know what it was, how he did it!”
The full video can be seen below.