poison to the mind


DJ Jazzy Jeff & that there Fresh Prince

No uploading this week, so here's a lengthy YSI to tide over.

For a decade or so, I've repped Will Smith hard to sneering non-popists of my acquaintance. Yes, his film career is a bit hollow, yes his "solo" records are complete clownshoes, and I never really watched his sitcom, but those early singles were ace! I would urge. He made great pop records about being a kid! They cleverly did what they said on the tin, ie titles like Parents Just Don't Undersand and Girls Ain't Nothing But Trouble start as they mean to go on.

All this was based pretty much on four records I heard on the radio in the '80s*, though. Recently I discovered that a mate actually owned their second and third albums, and borrowed them to EXPLORE THE OEUVRE. This, I can report, is an inessential cultural move - the records are chockers with beat showcases, shout-outs to crew (there is a whole song about their bodyguard and the fact that he gets out of the limo to protect them) and such, while being short on witty extensions of concept. The Prince's boundless charisma totally carries them, as it does so well for him in Hollywood, but there's not much to reward repeated listening.

One of the most blatant examples of padding on He's The DJ, I'm The Rapper (remember, this is the first double album in hip-hop ever - and this was in the mezozoic era before Prince Paul invented the skit) is an excerpt from a live set at some package tour showcase situation. And in a reverse-ironic bloat move, here's the entire set! Check the crowd-pleasing queerfear, years before Smith moved into films by playing a rentboy:

DJ Jazzy Jeff & the Fresh Prince - Live At Union Square

As usual, the only thing in print here is a greatest hits by a Sony imprint designed for cut-outs. You can still get the original album in America though.

*I really loved "Boom! Shake The Room!" too, and probably bought the CD single for 50c years later.

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