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KevTastic

Gettin' Jiggy at 31

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Hi guys, i just wrote a blog about my JJFP fan story and what this forthcoming tour means to me.  If you have 5 minutes please take a look.

https://www.tumblr.com/blog/kevtastic84

 

Gettin’ Jiggy at 31 years young

Early 1998, Hip Hop was ruling the world and a 13 year old working class family lad was beginning to spend his hard earned paperboy wages on CD’s and Cassettes (I rocked a walkman).  The Fresh Prince of Bel Air was constantly on my square TV, and a track popped up on a chart compilation tape i had bought.  This track was Will Smith’s Gettin’ Jiggy Wit it.
What was it about this track that got me hooked? The rhyme’s were fun, the flow was slick, the sample and cuts worked perfectly, the chorus is annoyingly catchy. It was the perfect pop rap track.  Will’s music and movie career were both huge, he was everywhere.
The internet was starting to get some real steam and i began to look into Will’s career more and more.  It was then that i realized older hits Boom shake the room and summertime i remembered as a kid were by him and and a man called Jazzy Jeff.  As a family we’d be tuned into the UK Top 40 every sunday afternoon.
Around this time Jazzy Jeff ad Fresh Prince’s greatest hits was released. Jive records clearly cashing in on Will’s resurgence in music, and who can blame them.  I had that disc on repeat even more than Big Willie Style.  The tracks were the gateway i needed as a young teen to explore and study Hip Hop music and culture, educating myself from the old school up.  But whatever i explored, it was these five JJ+FP studio albums that found their way back into the CD player time and time again.  Jeff’s samples and cutting, Prince’s stories that you couldn’t help but memorize, their obvious ability to add their live chemistry onto record.  It was infectious stuff.  I would be force feedling school friends mixtapes of the duo’s stuff, if they wanted it or not.
Will being such a huge movie star, and often prioritzing that above music made me doubt ever getting to see him perform live. Not through lack of trying.  I attended the movie premieres of Hitch and Hancock in London in hope of rumours of him performing live claimed to be true.  As i began to follow in my sisters footsteps (A modest heavy metal star in her day) and begin a love affair with Rock and alternative music. I questioned Hip Hop stars passion for performing live.  Whilst in my late teens and throughout my 20s i have seen dozens of my favourite bands tour regularly. I didn’t understand why rappers didn’t push themselves to the same limits. A lot of people i know who love Hip Hop music have never seen their fave artists perform live and seem content in that just being normal.  As a varied music lover I almost find it odd that when a new abum drops, that a artist doesn’t follow it up with a tour for at least promotional purposes.
In 2002 i joined a Jazzy Jeff & Fresh Prince fan site ran by an Australian named Tim, who has become a good friend of mine over the years.   I have met many like minded fans and we have built a great community over the high and low points of the duo’s post millenium career.
Around 2004 i noticed Jeff was touring a lot.  But it wasn’t until early 2006 that i decided to attend a show in Leeds where an old friend was at University.  Tim from the JJFP site asked me to get in touch with Jeff’s tour manager at the time via myspace. (remember when that ruled your life?) He said i could possibly meet Jeff at the show.   I didn’t expect too much, however when we get to the show Jeff’s crew give me and my friend the VIP treatment.  Getting to witness Jeff’s killer Hip Hop set sidestage washing it all down with free beer was at the time one of the best nights of my life.
Since that inaugral night in 2006 i have been lucky enough to attend over a dozen shows.  Initially with the slept on talent of Mad Skillz, and more recently the young, hungry and humble Dayne Jordan filling the Master of Ceremonies duties. Each time getting to hang out with Jeff.  Here is a superstar DJ who has allowed fans the chance to befriend him.  He never had to do that, and I can’t stress how honoured some of us over at jazzyjefffreshprince.com are to have been put in this situation.
Jeff has opened my eyes and ears to so many different styles of music i would have otherwise ignored.  He can give you a straight Hip Hop set like no other, but just as easily throw in some house, soul and funk that will leave your feet sore.
As longtime supporters of Will’s career we as fans often get frustrated with his commitment to music, but understand the workload he has had to juggle. Will admits that he has never done a proper full on tour with Jeff. Occasionally we as fans would find out afterwards that the duo have performed together at a movie wrap up party, or whatever. It’s been a gruelling task to stay optimistic that we would ever see them perform live together. Jeff has always told us it could happen, and Will wants to. But with Will not taking music seriously for the past 10 years even the most hopeful of fans had given up.  
A 31 year old Man wakes up one morning, still a regular visitor to said JJFP fan site. He sees Will has returned with a verse on a Columbian dance track. The site is buzzing. Nobody expected this.
Soon after Will is interviewed by music journeyman Zane Lowe. Will drops a bomb shell about being focused on music and……..Touring with Jazzy Jeff next summer.  This 31 year old is shot back to a teenager instantly. The idea of me being able to be there in a crowd rapping along to one of my all time favourite artists and seeing Jeff back him up on the wheels is still something that hasn’t quite hit me fully. Something i had written off ever happening a decade ago, will happen and i will be there amongst friends and fellow fans. I don’t think Will is aware just how much demand there has been for this over the years. 
I happen to be seeing Jeff live again this very evening. Words of excitement are due to be shared.  He has been a driving force in Will’s ear that this is something that can be very special for a lot of people. Me being one of them.

 
 

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Excellent article!  While our history with JJ+FP and Hip-Hop is different, you captured the feeling of the upcoming tour and music perfectly!

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Thanks guys. Its a special time for the fans

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well done, i felt emotional reading that, JJFP 4 life!

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Well done Kev! That was an enjoyable blog post and I felt like I was reading my very own thoughts online. I got into Will right around the same time you did, except I was about 9/10 years old and everyone had the Big Willie Style album on cassette/CD. I was able to put one and one together and realize that this was the same person on my TV and he made great music. Although, I really didn't fully understand exactly what Will was saying, I just knew it was good music. I also got very curious about who he was so I did some research and discovered that there was Jeff - along with 5 studio albums! I felt like I struck gold haha. 

Born to Reign dropped in 2002 and I remember I was in 8th grade and Black Suits Coming was the most downloaded song on AOL. (Yes, AOL - also on a 56k modem LOL). That summer, I got the album along with all of JJFP's albums and had them on repeat again and again. I joined this forum that same year and the rest was history. I never would've thought that a 14 year old me would join an online community and continue to visit literally everyday of my life, discussing everything JJFP and wishing the man known as the Fresh Prince would return to music. 

In 2009, after I turned 21, I met Jeff outside of Fluid in Philly. I'll never forget that night. I was so starstruck and probably asked too many questions about music. haha. I just wanted to have a musical conversation with him and ask him everything I've ever wondered. Like if him, Will and Michael Jackson ever did a track together...etc. I would see a couple times a year ever since and he remains the same guy. Such a humble guy, along with his wife and team. Great people! 

Life has gotten kind of hectic over the last couple of years and I'm itching for the next time Jeff plays in my area. I can't wait - especially now that we are just beginning a very special time for JJFP fans. 2016 is going to be a great year! 

Anyway - awesome read again dude. It really captivates my personal thoughts and the forum here as a whole. 

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yeah i remember when i was 12 when Men In Black came out and Big Willie Style came out in the fall of '97 and I got the album on CD, one of the first hip hop albums I was heavy into, before that I was more into r&b music back then than i was hip hop, great memories, and I'll never forget when I got my first computer back in february 2004 and I started posting on the JJFP.com forum and then Switch and Lost & Found came out a few weeks after my 20th birthday back on march 29th 2005, there's been ups and downs for me since then but my love affair for JJFP and hip hop music has remained stronger than ever, i turn 31 on march 4th and i'm anticipating the greatest year ever with JJFP and life in general, great memories but great times ahead too, one love!

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Amazing stuff Kev! Doing this site for 20 years is so worth it when I read stuff like that! 2016 is going to be an amazing year for us all.. and believe me we have been there through the tough times.. 10 years of nothing!!! the rain is over lets enjoy the sunshine... summer, summer, summertime!

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Thanks Guys, i know we all have a good story to tell out our history with JJFP's music. It was really cool of Jeff to post the article up on his facebook page as well.

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