DJ Jazzy Jeff - Biography
DJ Jazzy Jeff, aka Jeffrey Allen Townes, is an American DJ, music producer, turntablist and actor perhaps best known for his early career with Will Smith as the hip hop duo DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince. He is also credited with making the "transformer" scratch famous, along with DJ Cash Money. By using a fader to cut the sounds in and out quickly it makes a sound similar to those made by the robots in the '80s cartoon classic, The Transformers.
Born and raised in Philadelphia, PA Townes began spinning records at 10 years old. He met Will Smith at a party in 1985 and the two began working together shortly thereafter. In 1986, DJ Jazzy Jeff won the DJ competition at the New Music Seminar and he and Will Smith released Rock the House. Their second album, He's The DJ, I'm the Rapper (Jive, 1988) sold over 2.5 million copies and included their hit single, "Parents Just Don't Understand." That song also won the duo their first Grammy Award in 1989, the first ever given out for Best Rap Performance. As Will Smith transitioned into television and acting, DJ Jazzy Jeff also appeared on The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air as a recurring character, Jazz. They made two more albums together, 1991's Homebase which contained the massive hit, "Summertime," and earned them their second Grammy Award; and 1993's Code Red (Jive).
After the duo dissolved, Jazzy Jeff launched a production company, A Touch of Jazz, and helped develop artists including Jill Scott and Musiq Soulchild. In 2002, he released a solo album, The Magnificent, and followed it with 2007's The Return of The Magnificent. Both albums featured numerous collaborations with old school and new school artists including CL Smooth, Big Daddy Kane, Pos (De La Soul), Method Man, Rhymefest, J-live, DJ Babu, and Q-Bert among others.