Interviews DJ Jazzy Jeff

Published on April 23rd, 2023 | by Dr. Jerry Doby


DJ Jazzy Jeff: His New Beat Making Program, Hip Hop 50 and More!

As we celebrate the 50th anniversary of Hip Hop, GRAMMY Award-winning producer DJ Jazzy Jeff always leading and providing opportunities for DJs and musicians, talks to us about his newly launched exclusive beat-making course, Command Central: Making Beats  in collaboration with CafeMedia. The six-week online program provides students with the resources to build the core foundational skills for music production. Each week sharpens participants’ beat-making skills through intricate video module lessons ranging from drums, melody, arrangements, mixing, and sampling which participants will then apply to their own produced tracks. Students will also be treated to surprise award-winning musical guest appearances throughout the program and the opportunity to have their produced work played in DJ Jazzy Jeff’s live DJ sets.

There is no doubt this legend has pretty much seen and done it all musically, this is a further display of his leadership and desire to see the fabric of Hip Hop and music in general advance and usher in a fresh wave of fully qualified beat makers!

DJJJ_Trailer_PM1 from CafeMedia Experiences on Vimeo.

You can still register for DJ Jazzy Jeff’s Command Central here:

The Interview

I got a chance to get the legend to weigh in on the 50th anniversary of Hip Hop and his place in it, the reason that his Command Central: Making Beats program is one of the important tools that will help ease the path for upcoming beat makers and producers. Always a leader and with the distinction of winning the very first Hip Hop GRAMMY Award DJ Jazzy Jeff is not resting and putting his time and energy into the next wave of music makers. Talk about leaving a legacy!!!

Can you tell us more about your new Command Central: Making Beats program with CafeMedia and how it came about? 

I wanted to create this program because I did a similar course over a year ago and wanted to extend that kind of impact. Through the program, I hope that upcoming producers and DJs continue to be inspired by courses like this that allow them to cultivate new skills. My main goal was to help inspire the next generation of music and be a primary influence in their pursuit of this career.   

What can participants expect to learn from your six-week online program? 

This intensive six-week online program will provide content creators, DJs, and aspiring producers of all skill levels the resources to build the core foundational skills for music production. Each week we will sharpen participants’ beat-making skills through intricate video module lessons ranging from drums, melody, arrangements, mixing, and sampling which participants will then apply to their own produced tracks. You can also head to to learn more about the program.  

You’ve won a GRAMMY Award and have been in the music industry for a long time. How has the industry changed since you first started, and what are some of the challenges you’ve faced along the way? 

The industry has evolved in the way technology has impacted the way music is shared and consumed. Back in the day, it was unheard of that an artist could put out their own music. For a long time, record companies controlled how and when an artist could put out music, perform shows, and connect with their fans. Now, we can pretty much create music and put it out in a day. And we have to ability to connect directly with our fans whenever we want. Social media has leveled the playing field when it comes to discovering new artists and finding new opportunities. Being able to adapt to how quickly the industry continues to evolve always remains a challenge but luckily the projects we continue to develop move with that tide.  

This year marks the 50th anniversary of Hip Hop. How do you feel about this milestone, and what do you think makes Hip Hop such an enduring genre? 

Hip Hop has been such an integral part of music and celebrating 50 years is a huge milestone that is something rightfully deserved.  Hip Hop is an enduring genre because its influence is entangled with everyday culture. The music continues to speak to issues that affect disenfranchised communities and wider populations at the same time to connect with communities by the masses. It’s truly a genre for the people.  

As a pioneer in the Hip Hop industry, how do you see your place in the history and evolution of the genre? 

I don’t think I can say what my place is. Only history can do that. I hope I’m seen as a champion of the culture, a mentor, and someone who helped push the culture forward in a positive way.

Throughout your career, you’ve collaborated with many different artists. Is there anyone you haven’t worked with yet that you would love to collaborate with in the future? 

That’s a tough one. There are so many amazing artists out right now. Yebba, Tank and the Bangas, Giddy Gang, and maybe Kendrick Lamar.

Your new program offers students the opportunity to have their produced work played in your live DJ sets. How important is it for you to support and encourage up-and-coming artists in the industry? 

It is extremely important. As a fellow DJ, promoting their music is a crucial way to promote artist discovery. It’s a critical launchpad step for artists who might not otherwise have a chance in the industry by expanding existing platforms and reach.  

What advice do you have for aspiring producers and DJs who are just starting out in the industry? 

Be consistent and remain curious! Find something that interests you. Take courses, pick up skills, learn from professionals, and try to find something that you are passionate about. Keep creating and sharing your art. There are so many artists out there, and it’s easy to get lost in the noise. Find your voice and keep putting yourself out there. 

You’ve accomplished so much in your career. What are some of your most satisfying achievements, and what goals do you still have for the future? 

I was really proud of what was created with my studio and production company A Touch of Jazz. I was blessed to play a role in developing so many incredible artists and producers like Musiq, Jill Scott, The Roots, Dre and Vidal, Ivan, and Carvin,  etc. and they’ve all gone on to have really successful careers. The artists have become some of the best in the business, and a lot of the producers who started with me are now working with some of the biggest names in music.

What’s the most fun for you about making music? 

I love the spontaneity. I love going into the studio without any expectations and seeing what comes out. I love the process of getting to know an artist and establishing a relationship with them. It’s a bonding experience that allows all of us to let our guard down and really tap into our creative magic.

What’s next for DJ Jazzy Jeff? Are there any upcoming projects or collaborations you can share with us? 

I hope to eventually build out this program to reach an even wider audience or enlist a larger round of collaborators and supporters – maybe even integrate this into school programs. 

More on DJ Jazzy Jeff

DJ Jazzy Jeff was born in West Philadelphia and developed a love of music early. Jeff was just ten years old when he started spinning records at parties; his family’s basement was a training ground for his expert mixing. Since 1985, DJ Jazzy Jeff has wowed fans with his flawless turntable skills, innovative production, and musical versatility.  

DJ Jazzy Jeff’s rich legacy in music includes a DMC Championship and multiple GRAMMY Awards, American Music Awards, and NAACP Image Awards. Introduced to the world as one-half of DJ Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince, his accomplishments extend beyond his multi-platinum, GRAMMY-winning TV collaborations with Will Smith. Notable is his acclaimed production company, A Touch of Jazz, credited for work with Michael Jackson, Jill Scott, Darius Rucker, and more. 

Keep up with all things DJ Jazzy Jeff 

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About the Author

Editor-in-Chief of The Hype Magazine, Media and SEO Consultant, Journalist, Ph.D. and retired combat vet. 2023 recipient of The President's Lifetime Achievement Award. Partner at THM Media Group. Member of the U.S. Department of Arts and Culture, the United States Press Agency and ForbesBLK.

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