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Album Review

In the 1980s, Philadelphia's hip-hop scene was diverse. At one extreme was the controversial Schoolly D, who was among the founders of gangsta rap even though he wasn't as big as West Coast agitators like N.W.A. and Ice-T. And at the other extreme was DJ Jazzy Jeff & the Fresh Prince, whose fun, lighthearted, often goofy tales were great for comic relief. Rock the House, the duo's debut album of 1987, demonstrated that Will Smith, aka the Fresh Prince, was as entertaining and amusing a storyteller as Dana Dane or Slick Rick. But unlike those New York MCs, DJ Jazzy Jeff & the Fresh Prince weren't off-color or controversial — in fact, their unthreatening, clean-cut image led some journalists to dub them "the Cosby kids of rap." And the Philadelphians had no problem with that; in a 1989 interview, Smith asserted that he was proud to be compared to the Cosby kids. You won't find a lot of hard-hitting social commentary on Rock the House; Smith and his partner keep things lighthearted on tunes like "Girls Ain't Nothing But Trouble" (the hit single that sampled the I Dream of Jeannie theme and put them on the map) and "Just One of Those Days." Equally strong is "Guys Ain't Nothing But Trouble," a sequel to "Girls Ain't Nothing But Trouble" that features female rapper Ice Cream Tee (who had a lot of potential but didn't get very far as a solo artist). Is Rock the House pop-rap? Absolutely. But for DJ Jazzy Jeff & the Fresh Prince, lighthearted doesn't mean lightweight. In terms of rapping technique, Smith could hold his own against any of the more hardcore rappers who came out of Philly in the 1980s. This excellent LP is a classic of its kind.

Customer Reviews


Dj Jazzy Jeff and Fresh Prince were the best. THat was what hip hop was really like.

now this takes me back!!

When they first came out they were kinda hype, then people started dissin'sayin'they was bubble gum rappers (wrappers) no pun intended, but are you kidding me? These guys knew how to have a little fun and make people and hip hop smile :). Plus these sick beats!!!! Again I say "Are you kiddin me?" A touch of Jazz is the phattest track on the album!! That jazzy hip hop flow and it is an instrumental track to boot!! What rap group do you know that has beats so phat, you don't need to rap over the track? Big ups to Jazzy Jeff!!!! You really should be called "the DJ Supreme"

scratchin', beat boxin', and havin' fun

This is definitely a hip hop classic. Especially a must have for DJ's trying to get their skills up. DJ Jazzy Jeff was argueably the best DJ around (not the clown you see on the tv show "The Fresh Prince of Bel Air"). The Fresh Prince was surrounded by talent. He had a great DJ and a beat boxer in Ready C. If like the old school stuff you'll like this album.


Formed: 1986 in Philadelphia, PA

Genre: Hip-Hop/Rap

Years Active: '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

To many present-day listeners, DJ Jazzy Jeff & the Fresh Prince are best-remembered for launching the superstar music/acting career of the latter, now known by his real name of Will Smith. In their heyday, however, the Philadelphia duo played a major role in making rap music accessible to pop audiences, as well as younger listeners. Smith's raps were never anything more than PG-rated, and his genial, winning personality came through in the good-humored stories that many of his best raps wove. His...
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Top Albums and Songs by DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince

Rock the House, DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince
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