The Fresh Prince's other half takes time out from his neverending spin cycle and recalls what it was like being at the center of hip-hop's mainstream breakthrough.
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. Will this stance ruin our career? We really didn’t know. It just became a matter of principle. They’re slighting the music.
The day of the Grammys, we got a call at about five o’clock in the afternoon saying we won, which kinda sucked because we took 30 people on the stage at the American Music Awards, and then for this award, somebody called us to tell us that we won.
The AMAs had been much better. We ended up winning two American Music Awards, and it was televised. Then we went to all of the after parties. We were extremely excited. And then Will made the announcement to let Philly know we were coming home the next day.
We flew back, and when the plane pulled up to the gate, I looked out the window and saw a sign with my name on it, and I was tripping. I think that shit just said “Jeff.”
Then they came on the intercom and told us to wait until everybody got off the plane. Once we got off the plane, the news cameras were there, and everybody from the neighborhood—old girlfriends, everybody and their grandmother—was at the airport, and they were all really excited.
Then I came back around my mom’s house in West Philly and walked on the block, and there was a banner from one side of the street to the other, saying “Congratulations.” I was just really happy because I knew we did good.
DJ Jazzy Jeff, with Questlove and others, will spin at Fluid’s final Tastytreats party on Sat., April 6.
More info: djjazzyjeff.com
PW's Music Issue 2014