The deejay’s place in the Hip Hop hierarchy may be changing. The deejay is the cornerstone of the culture, so much so that in early Rap groups the deejay got first billing, as was the case with Grandmaster Flash and The Furious Five, Eric B. & Rakim and DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince.
As Rap became Hip Hop’s most popular component, though, the deejay faded from the spotlight, so much so that many rappers traveled and performed without deejays. DJ Jazzy Jeff, in particular, has been an award-winning deejay since the 1980s and watched the deejay fade from the limelight as his career with the Fresh Prince began taking off in the late 1980s.
“I think the deejay didn’t get the spotlight for a good bit of time,” DJ Jazzy Jeff says in an interview with VladTV. Jeff says that times are changing, though. “I think the deejay has the complete spotlight now ’cause everybody in the world wants to be a deejay,” he says. “It’s the biggest thing in the world…You have deejays making an enormous amount of money now just because the music is so big and the deejay is so powerful. It’s kind of come full circle.”
Today Jeff performs deejay sets around the world and was recently a judge at the Red Bull Thre3Style US Finals in Los Angeles. He also said in the interview that he doesn’t like “sucker deejays,” people Jeff says are “someone who pre-records what they do.” Jeff says he doesn’t see that often though, since he doesn’t travel in those circles.
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