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Interview: DJ Jazzy Jeff Talks Respect for His Art, Emotional Investments, De La Soul, and Chasing Goosebumps

Our next featured guest is a Grammy-winning music legend. He’s an incredible producer and one of the greatest DJs of all time. His next album ‘M3’ is on the way, and its first single “2 Step” is available now. Earlier this year he invited a collective of the best musicians, songwriters and singers in the world to his home to, in just 7 days, record and release ‘Chasing Goosebumps’. It’s one of the best albums of 2017, which you can get on He also dropped by The Intersection in Grand Rapids, MI for a set he referred to as “top 5 this year”. Please welcome to … “The Magnificent” DJ Jazzy Jeff”! Jeff, since the launch of we’ve been honored to interview icons and legends – Chaka Khan, Teddy Riley, Ice Cube, and Kurtis Blow, among others. The shared theme has been showcasing people who have respect for their art. What type of respect do you have for your art and what type of respect do you command for it?


djjazzyjeffDJ Jazzy Jeff: I don’t know if I can put that into words. Two turntables and a mixer has taken me all around the world for 30 years! Listen, at 15 years old, never in your wildest dream would you have thought that. I think it’s very disrespectful for people to take your art form for granted, especially when your art form is something that you do as a hobby. That’s a beautiful thing. When you art form is something that can replace your job? That’s incredible. When your art form turns into a career, you need to get on your knees every day and thank the creator. We definitely thank the creator for the history we’ve made, and having you here on our site is another historic milestone. What has the Internet done for you to take your career further?


DJ Jazzy Jeff: We were having a conversation a couple of days ago about relevancy. It’s one of the things I think I’ve always looked at. Being relevant is as simple as paying attention. It’s really that simple. All you have to do is pay attention to what’s going on around you, and you can be relevant. Just understanding the power of the Internet was something I looked at long time ago. It was certainly a new eye opener to the power of conversation.


DJ Jazzy Jeff: With AOL messenger I could talk to somebody. Going into a chatroom, it’s 30 people in there and you don’t know them. Even though it was a little weird in the beginning, you’re just talking to people and having conversations. That was the beginning of social media. Right, which today really lets you take control of how you interact with your fans.


6F1A2744DJ Jazzy Jeff: I came up in an era when I didn’t control my fan base. The record company, or whoever you were signed to, were the ones who controlled your fan base. They cut the fan switch on when it was time for you to do a project, and they cut it off when they thought your project was fading out. Basically what social media and the Internet has done is put the control of your fan base in your hands at all times. Your fans don’t cut on or off. They’re either with you or not. So to be able to interact with and talk to your fans is an incredible thing. Jeff, what to you is a good example of an artist using the Internet and social media to their advantage, and really taking control of their fan base?


DJ Jazzy Jeff: That’s De La Soul doing a Kickstarter campaign and raising $600,000 in less than 24 hours. That’s your fan base! I just think that there are a lot of people who don’t understand the power they have in their hands. Looking at what De La Soul did with their ‘and the Anonymous Nobody’ album, ask yourself what if Snoop did that? What would happen if Public Enemy did that? What would happen if Pete Rock & CL Smooth did that? Anybody with a fan base you have direct access to, you really need to start paying attention a little bit more because you can cut the whole middle ground out of the picture. You cut the middle ground out the picture and made ‘Chasing Goosebumps’. The album is incredible. We love it. But what album to you was the first “Chasing Goosebumps”?


DJ Jazzy Jeff: That list is way too long! Earth Wind & Fire, Chaka Khan… The concept came from the music I grew up on that gave me that emotion that I don’t really get a lot of right now. This wasn’t a new concept. It was actually a very old concept that just needed to be revisited. When did you realize you had an emotional investment in music?


6F1A2758DJ Jazzy Jeff: The first time I heard it. You knew it before you knew what it was. Being too young to control the music in my house, I soaked up everything my brothers listened to. I was 5-years-old listening to Mahavishnu Orchestra and Weather Report. I didn’t know what it was but that music moved me just because of the chord structure, of the melody! As you got deeper into music people categorize stuff too much. There’s 97 categories of rap. There’s 97 categories of rhythm & blues and soul music. It’s good and bad music. Everyone wants to put stuff in a box and label it. I used to go in Tower Records and be confused. I didn’t know where to look for something! If they had just put everything in alphabetical order I would have been okay. They’re over thinking it. The music…goosebumps is transferable. If you’ve got something that feels good to you, 9 out of 10 times it’s going to feel good to somebody else. It was that simple. |

CREDITS Written by Mr. Joe Walker | Photos – Search Engine Exploration | DJ Jazzy Jeff – as Himself | Producer – Liquid Arts & Entertainment | Creative Director – The Liquidation Committee | Editor – Mr. Joe Walker | Copy Editor – Mr. Joe Walker | Site Editor – Doug Sims | Webmaster – Doug Sims | Twitter – @LiquidAEMag | Instagram – @liquidmagazine

Liquid Arts & Entertainment is committed to presenting engaging conversations with top artists. We hope you enjoyed this interview with DJ Jazzy Jeff.

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