Many fans of the popular TV show ‘The Fresh Prince of Bel Air’ remember Jazzy, whose real name is Jeffrey Allen Townes, as Will Smith’s best friend on the show. Their signature handshake was imitated in playgrounds all around the country in the ‘90s.
Things you’ll remember about Jazzy for sure:
We understand that he is an American hip-hop and R&B disc jockey, record producer, and actor, but it’s hard to stop thinking of him as the goofy best friend of Will Smith.
However, there’s so much more to his story than that. Here is what you need to know about this talented DJ:
1. Even from an early age, he developed a reputation and a following as a school and block party DJ.
2. He met rapper Will Smith in the 1980s when they were both trying to make names for themselves in West Philadelphia's local hip-hop scene.
3. After joining forces with Clarence Holmes (Ready Rock C), the team members became local celebrities. Unfortunately, Clarence left the group in 1990 and later sued it for his friend in 1999.
4. The group received the first Grammy Award for Best Rap Performance in 1989 for ‘Parents Just Don’t Understand,’ though their most successful single ever was ‘Summertime.’
5. ‘Summertime’ earned the group their second Grammy and peaked at number 4 on the Billboard Hot 100.
6. Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince have sold over $5.5 million albums in the US.
7. When Smith branched out into television with the sitcom ‘The Fresh Prince Of Bel-Air, Jazzy Jeff played a recurring character named Jazz, Smith’s best friend on the show.
8. In the early seasons, the two always greeted each other with their signature handshake, using the same footage for comedic effect.
9. Still having a bit of extra money from starring in the sitcom, the duo decided to stage a comeback album in 1991, Homebase.
10. This new album featured a more mature sound from the group, with Smith rapping in a deeper, consistent voice and changing their sound to fit the era’s trend of hip-hop.
11. The singles for the album were ‘Summertime,’ ‘Ring My Bell’ and ‘Things That U Do.’
12. The final single for the release was ‘You Saw My Blinker,’ a song about an old lady that crashed into Prince’s new car and his anger at the events that happened after.
13. ‘You Saw My Blinker’ is the first and only song where Smith curses, saying the word ‘bitch’.
14. Their last studio LP as a duo was released in 1993 and was called ‘Code Red.’ Fortunately, it reached gold sales.
15. Since then, DJ Jazzy Jeff continues to tour the world as a respected DJ. He has also become an R&B producer of note, overseeing releases by Jill Scott, Rhymefest, and many others.
16. His production company, A Touch of Jazz, became the launching pad for talent out of the Philadelphia music scene. DJ Jazzy Jeff has resided in Wilmington, Delaware, since 2004.