Tuesday, January 13, 2009

The Fresh Prince Meets Jazz

"To other DJ's, Jeff is just too much - he doesn't use a line switch as a transformer crutch!"

Yeah, "The Groove (Jazzy's Groove)" is already one of the best, most understated DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince songs - certainly the best off of album #3. It's a hype beat with fun, clever rhymes by Smith hyping up his DJ:

"Look, it's simple;

Just admit it.
Jeff is the deffest;
You wanted to battle? Forget it!
You're a fool,
You're slippin', you're loony, you're crazy;
No if's, no and's,
It'll be just your butt, baby!"

And every hook or breakdown is Jeff using a showcasing his skills on the turntables in a different way. It's also an amusing answer record of sorts to Soul II Soul's "Jazzie's Groove" which was a big hit single at the time. ...But that's just the tip of the iceberg of what makes this second single so dope.

First, you've got the Extended Remix, which adds about a minute's length and features jazz great Grover Washington Jr.! About midway through the song, Smith adds a new verse about how they had trouble finishing the record and until Grover came in to save the day, and then Grover plays an incredible solo over the breakdown. Soon Grover is playing all over the track, and there's some additional keyboards and samples added as well. Jeff changes his final line from, "I made the beat hype, but still kinda smooth" to "I made the beat hype; Grover made it smooth." Finally, the A-side of is rounded out by the Radio version, which is just a shortened edit of the Extended version.

But that's still not the half, 'cause when you flip the record over, instead of "The Groove (Jazzy's Groove)," you have three mixes of "The Groove (Grover's Groove)." The beat starts out the same, with the added instrumentation of the Extended version, but Grover is playing from the first note. Basically, where the A-side was DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince song featuring Grover Washington Jr., this is a Grover Washington Jr. song that features them. The beat is mellowed out, dropping the drums and some other elements for most of the song. Smith starts kicking the verse he added to Extended Version on the A-side, but this is a fuller version, with more (and better) rhymes about working with Grover and music bringing together people from different walks of life. But it's just that verse; most of the song is Grover playing non-stop to the groove.

The B-side also has a Version Without Rap, which is pretty self-explanitory, totally removing The Fresh Prince from the equation. And finally there's a Radio Version - a tighter edit of the "Grover's Groove" mix. All this and a picture cover? And because it's not at all rare and people sleep on their later material, it can be easily found at super cheap prices. This belongs in your crates!

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