In The Mix: They Don't Call Him Jazzy for Nothing
The very first Boiler Room set in Philadelphia is started with great energy from DJ Jazzy Jeff. Some funk, some soul, some rock. The talented artist begins by infusing an electronic robotic voice and an easy rhythmic beat.
The DJ so smoothly builds the energy and intention in his sound minute by minute, mastering a chill, funky-dance vibe. Hard-hitting, reverberating bass intensifies in his performance. The music causes you to feel completely limb and loose, emulating the DJ’s purpose of this performance as the MC so nicely stated, “Tonight is all about good energy, good music and good vibes…”
The mix pops off with A$AP Ferg’s famous “Work.” Echoing claps lead us to the popular “Alright,” by Kendrick featuring Jay Z, and into Chance the Rapper’s “No Problem.” A series of more incredibly well-known hip-hop songs mix into a trappy rhythmic mix. “Cha Cha,” plays and were taken into a funky, hip-hop/disco sound.
He takes it to every genre, perfectly flowing from track to track. He mixes the hip-hop/disco sound into great reggae music. It is a complete party in Philly at the Boiler Room; and a real privilege to witness DJ Jeff’s skills and will to start a musical riot. “Take ‘em on a trip Jeff,” the MC announces, then “Low Rider,” comes on in funky, contagious rhythm. Everyone sings and dances in generous unison. Instantly, the producer mixes the slow, vibey “James Joint” by Rihanna.
“Lets get a groove going,” repeats and melodically flows into a jazzy horn section to a popping mix of Jay-Z’s “Big Pimpin.” “Jazzy Jeff he ain’t even gotta speak,” the MC says. That couldn’t be more true as Jeff takes Lamar's hard hip-hop M.A.A.D. City song, with an incredible house-trap beat, into Lenny Kravitz’s famous “Fly Away.” The natural DJ follows this catchy rock tune up with “Beamer, Benz or Bentley,” somehow an unquestionable flow.
It is quite the impressive track list Jazzy is playing, bumping incredible 90s throwbacks into jazzy melodies. I could listen to this mix on repeat. The DJ has incredible taste; Jeff frequently uses DJ scratching as rhythmic flare. At about 40 minutes in, the DJ takes us on on another high, playing Jay-Z’s “Public Service Announcement,” and Ludacris’ banger, “Move Bitch.” There’s no dull moment in Jeff’s performance.
It's always great when he plays really classic songs with gentle melodies, like when he mixes Q-tip’s mix of “Got 'Til It's Gone,” by Janet Jackson. Jazzy Jeff is a master of rhythm. The producer’s set is always upbeat and fun, while never overwhelming. It seems like Jeff almost knows exactly what to mix, when and how he should incorporate each pleasant wave.
As we get further into the mix, alternative music, soul and funk circulate back into the performance. It is so impressive how easily the artist can mix completely estranged genres and melodies; alike when he mixes the groovy “Try a Little Tenderness,” that flows between LL Cool J. When the Daniel Crawford cover of “Everybody Wants to Rule the World,” comes on, (originally by Tears for Fears), everyone goes absolutely wild, reminiscing the popular sing-along.
The enthusiastic MC continues to encourage the good vibes by saying, “Ladies and Gentleman, I’d like to welcome you all to this little thing we like to call a magnificent experience…” A magnificent experience is just what we get, as were taken on a carefree journey led by DJ Jazz’s incredible ear and way with turntables. If you’re not into palpable hip-hop beats and funky, jazzy soul music, Jeff is not your man. The guy never misses a beat, and never bores us with just element in play.
Halfway through his set, the DJ hits another peak in his performance beginning with the Jackson 5’s infectious “Want You Back,” and transitioning with the hard hitting bass in Kardinal Offishall’s “Mr. Parker,” featuring Shi Wisdom. That hard-hitting bass is perfectly blended into Anderson .Paak’s funky expertise and electric bass involved in “Come Down.”
The last hour of Jeff’s show consisted of culturally-fused instruments like the acoustic guitar and drums, transferred into fast-tempo funk, then hip-hop, then reggae; making sure to hit everything in between. The energy was electric as excitement and circles formed around dancing people in the crowd.
Jazzy’s skills really glimmer for the closing of his performance as he samples David Bowie, Bilal, Fat Joe and Remy Ma in the most unified way possible. It is rather obvious after experiencing DJ’s Jazzy Jeff’s set in Philadelphia, he’s likable amongst several tastes of music because he’s simply a great DJ.