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DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince

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DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince was a s and s duo. The vocalist of this duo, Will Smith, met Jeff Townes while trying to make a name for himself in West Philadelphia’s local party/rap scene. After joining forces, the team became local celebrities. Philadelphia-based Pop Art Records released their first single, Girls Ain’t Nothing but Trouble, in late 1985, a tale of misadventures with the opposite sex. The song sampled the theme of I Dream of Jeannie. Smith became known for lighthearted, storytelling raps and capable, through curse-free, ‘battle’ rhymes. Townes was known for his turntable acrobatics, and is credited by many as inventing a style of scratching called “transforming”.

Based off this success, the duo were brought to the attention of Jive Records and Russell Simmons’. Their first album, Rock the House, debuted on Jive in the summer of 1987. The band found themselves on their first major tour with Run DMC, Public Enemy, and others, that same year. The album sold about 300,000 units. Their 1988 follow-up hit, He’s the DJ, I’m the Rapper made them multi-platinum stars. Mostly recorded in the UK, the album was rap musics’s first double-vinyl LP release (also issued as a single cassette and CD). Parents Just Don’t Understand, the lead-off single, made them MTV household names, and tracks like Brand New Funk was received well by their fans. Rock The House was re-released to gold sales later that year.

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