In 1986 Rap Moved to Philly

Today we continue our coverage of Know Your History: Episode 7 – Rap Moves Out of New York.

If you missed Part 1 you can go back and read it now or you can stream the entire show with the player below. Don`t forget that you can download it for free as well.

Without further ado, on with the show!

In Philadelphia there was a DJ by the name of DJ Jazzy Jeff. One day his hype man fell ill and he needed a replacement for his show that night. As luck would have it, he met a kid by the name of Will Smith. They hit it off so well that DJ Jazzy Jeff and The Fresh Prince were formed almost immediately.

Together, they put out a record in 1986 called “Girls Ain’t Nothing But Trouble.” A year later that song was re-recorded for Jive Records and Jazzy Jeff and The Fresh Prince came out with their first album “Rock the House” on Jive Records in 1987. Jazzy Jeff and Will Smith met in 1985, started making music together right away, and had a release in 1986 on Word Up.
This is the original version. It’s not the Jive Records version. Give it a listen and we’ll talk about it when we come back.

Pretty much all of the music we know and love from DJ Jazzy Jeff and The Fresh Prince is light-hearted and tame. They made a name for themselves by making fun and humorous story-rhymes.
While that early version of the song was a story rhyme and had its humorous side, it wasn’t so light and fluffy. It was cleaned up for the Jive Records release. The I Dream of Jeannie sample was made a little more prominent. However, this early version really focuses on the DJ. I like how DJ Jazzy Jeff was cutting “Trouble” over and over again in that mix.

It’s interesting to see how that early release was a little more raw both in the production of the record and the content of it. Which brings me to another Philadelphia emcee by the name of Schoolly D. He put out a self-titled release on Jive Records as well. This record is credited as being the first gangsta rap record.
Listen to PSK by Schoolly D and we’ll be right back.

Listening to that record, you can hear how it influenced artists such as Ice Cube, NWA, and Ice-T. Ice-T uses some of the same cadences and rhyme patterns in his song “6 in the Morning.”
Today’s episode of Know Your History focused on how rap became popular in 1984. The explosion of the culture was felt worldwide as hip-hop moved out of its confines of New York City to such far away places as Paris, France to more local ones such as Pennsylvania.
The three songs that we played today are all over the map, both figuratively and literally. We had gangsta rap, light-hearted comedy rap, and French rap. Rap is done in many different languages across the globe to this day.
Hip-hop is unstoppable.
I didn’t even touch base on the Texas scene. I wanted to play some Geto Boys. I could have talked about Boston, or Toronto. In fact, I will have to do future episodes focusing on these different regions and the unique sounds they brought to the culture of hip-hop.
New York and LA are still killing it. Hip-hop is definitely not going anywhere.
Thanks for tuning in to Know Your History. We’ve aired 12 episodes this year. I’m a little behind on transcribing them for you but will feverishly catch up so I can bring you the second season of the show in the New Year.
Until then, stay tuned for the monthly episodes on DOPEfm as this on-going series grows and develops. Thanks!

Music Playlist at