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"Rock The House" came in 1987 and was the debut album for DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince. It is important to note that, in spite of the name, a third member Ready Rock C existed within the set, but from the off-set Will Smith (as The Fresh Prince) knew he'd only be a temporary role and so left him uncredited as the beatboxer to the group before he left for good in 1990. It was the breakthrough release from the funky crew and saw the Philly lot act as the final wave of positive, light-hearted rappers from the late eighties before it become more serious and Gangsta Rap was introduced and so they carried on the legacy of the Fat Boys, Doug E. Fresh & The Get Fresh Crew and others with their overall style being like theirs, but with an innovative DJ and very strong lyricist to make i fit in with the new trends.
1. "Girls Ain't Nothing But Trouble"
This was, by far the most popular track on the release and a great one to kick the album off with as you find that you have them hype the thing up with a fresh jam with The Fresh prince taking the lead and letting all the guys no how getting into relationships is nothing but trouble for them as Jazzy Jeff comes up with a mix of the theme from "I Dream of Janine" and the funky drum roll from Funkadelic's "You'll Like It Too".
2. "Just One Of Those Days"
They are seen to move things on with what is the longest track on the album and they come out with a hardcore tune that gets them performing with production that is seen to be very current for the time with the heavy drum machine heard making a massive impactful sound on the thing to enable the rapper to come out with some of his freshest rhymes as he tales a Slick Rick-like story, but here based on a bad day at school.
3. "Rock The House"
The titular track tot he album is amongst the best on the whole thing and one that you just can't get over once you here the quality of it as you find that their beatboxer Ready Rock C makes his first appearance on the album and comes through strong with heavy beats which uses breaks such as "The Big Beat" and other popular ones from the time as a sort of "La-Di-Da-Di" joint to take from Doug E. Fresh & The Get Fresh Crew.
4. "Taking It To The Top"
In another one that you can't listen to with out things for Doug E. Fresh's posse, you get a tune that has them getting into a fly groove and having the Fresh Prince coming out with some funky rhymes as he shows just how well he is able to work the mic(rophone) and switch up his approach to fit in with the jumpy production that you have Jazzy Jeff cutting behind him. It is another big one and keeps the quality levels high.
5. "Magnificent Jazzy Jeff"
They move into one of the other singles to the album, and in this case it wasn't as popular as here you get a track that is really designed to show the Turntablist skills of the DJ (which when they are billed as a Pop Rap acts, their mainstream listeners won't appreciate the creativity of it all) as he lays down a heavy cut with a variety of tracks from many periods, all of which add to the things as the MC continues with the flows.
6. "Just Rockin'"
The heavy beats come back through with this one as we turns back to the much more typical material and you find that once again the influences in the music are very clear and in this case The Fresh Prince chooses to go in the Run-D.M.C style and he does very well with their in-your-face mode as they lay down a heavy jam session. You get a little more from Ready Rock C here and it just makes their fresh music more raw.
7. "Guys Ain't Nothing But Trouble"
Returning back to the lead single from the album (and the first track on the record) you get a track that is a straight killer of a joint as the female rapper Ice Cream Tee responds to that one as a representative of the other side of the argument on the same groove. It is a well-constructed one and sees her rip it, with a few extra lines from The Fresh Prince and even DJ Jazzy Jeff to set it up like a Slick Rick tune, but with the people actually taking on their own roles, rather than one man providing it all.
8. "A Touch of Jazz"
This was the final single from the album and it is one that finds them going hard with it as they come up with a raw jam that is solely about DJ Jazzy Jeff's live Turntablist skills and has no vocals whatsoever (something that has completely phased out of mainstream Hip Hop releases since the early nineties). It is nice inclusion to the thing and set things up nicely for later ones where The Fresh prince would freestyle over such sets.
9. "Don't Even Try It"
On the final proper track on the album you find that you get a tune that seems to round things off nicely as it brings in all of the main elements that made the album so heavy and has The Fresh Prince coming out with some killer rhymes that take on the format that bridged the Old School years with the sounds that would allow Hip Hop to establish itself as a proper genre (and not o still be looked upon as a fad genre by the late eighties).
10. "Special Announcement" (Outro)
This is a very strong release and it came during one of the most influential times for Hip Hop as it was within the year when the likes of Public Enemy, Eric B. & Rakim and Boogie Down Productions all made their debuts and this stands as another classic (but one that went relatively unnoticed in comparison.
The debut album for DJ Jazzy Jeff and The Fresh Prince which was actually released in march 1986 not 1990 like the description says, there were 3 singles that came off the album including "Girls Aint Nothing But trouble".
Each Track Reviewed.
1 Girls Aint Nothing But Trouble. The first single from there first album, a great start based around the theme tune of 'I Dream Of Jeannie' and the rap is about how girls are not always as nice as they seem, a video was also released.
2. Just One Of Those Days. I love this track, when im having a bad day it alwasy comes to my had, A great hip-hop beat with the prince rapping about the bad day that unfolds.
3. Rock The House. The beatbox track featuring Ready Rock C who beatbox's throughout with no produced beat, a random rap about who the fresh prince and ready rock c is.
4. Taking It To The Top. Not the greatest track on the album, a simple beat line with the rap about how the prince will rise up.
5. The Magnificent Jazzy Jeff. Definetly my favourite track, the beat is amazing fast and upbeat with Jeff scratching away, the prince raps about how brilliant Jazzy Jeff is and he isnt wrong.
6. Just Rockin'. Another amazing song, the beat is bassy and the prince has a more angry voice rapping about rocking away in his room to his stereo and refusing to turn it down.
7. Guys Aint Nothing But Trouble. A reply to track 1 but women rapping insted about the problem with guys with Jazzy Jeff and the Prince replying.
8. A Touch Of Jazz. No lyrics in this just Jeff performing his own beat with various scratchs and mixes
9. Dont Even Try It. Replying to the aftermath who dissed the fresh prince when they said he wouldnt make it, a nice more powerful beat with a few word from Jazzy Jeff ont he final verse.
10. Special Announcement. The final track no beat or anything just a shoutout to everyone and saying thanks.
My Final Thought.
A great debut album which set the benchmark for a certain way hip-hop could go, although it only had 9 actual beat tracks i wasnt dissapointed that more were not added, the beats worked well and the scratching from Jeff was brilliant with The Prince adding funny yet trueful lyrics, a true hip-hop album.
Well when I saw that this album had just been added to dooyoo I just had to add my opinion.
The picture shown is of the UK release, the US version shows Messers Townes and Smith sporting white and green Benetton sweatshirts
(which myself and my brother used to own)
The US release was 1987 (although most of the tracks would have been available on 12" in 86) way before "The fresh Prince of Bel-Air" was even considered
Here is the tracklisting and a breakdown of each song:
"Girls Ain't Nothing but Trouble" - story about the trouble the Fresh Prince gets into with various ladies. samples I dream of Jeanie theme.
the version most popular in the UK was the Paul Oakenfold remix (as the album version was kinda empty) until Jazzy jeff remade the song in 1988 adding a few extra samples and another verse added by FP.
"Just One of Those Days" - story about the trouble the Fresh Prince gets into whith a girl at school and being late from work. contains a replayed version of "putting on the ritz" as the hook
"Rock the House" - Fresh Prince and human beatbox Ready Roc C explaining how they rock the house.
uses resung versions of Michael Jacksons Ben, Diana ross' theme from Mahogany and a beatbox version of Sanford and Son's theme
"Taking It to the Top" - a dull album filler
"Magnificent Jazzy Jeff" - A tune showing off the DJ skills of DJ Jazzy Jeff, hard old school beats, fresh (for it's day) rap by Prince, Jazzy Jeff making the records Burp, sound like a bird and turn into an Autobot.
This is by far my favourite tune by the duo!!- uses samples of 19 by Paul Hardcastle and Nothin serious just Buggin by Whistle.
"Just Rockin'" - another dull album filler, Prince telling us what he's doing.
"Guys Ain't Nothing but Trouble" - rapper Ice Cream Tea telling us a story about Guys being trouble (Fresh Prince provides the male voice trying to chat up Miss Tea while she tries to make a run for it and pulls out a gun)
b-side of girls ain't nothing but trouble, also contains sample of I dream of Jeanie
"Touch of Jazz" - DJ Jazzy Jeff cuts up a bunch of jazz to create a new tune (now, for some reason the samples escape my mind but I remember they were mainly Bob James tracks, once my brain is up and working again I will update this section)
"Don't Even Try It" - Story about how good the duo are, not an outstanding track though.
"Special Announcement" - just chatting, nothing to say here.
These days this album will sound incredibly dated (well it is 21 years old) but for it's time it is a very important piece of work
People will diss it, But I know at the time even the most hardcore heads would have bobbed and laughed at the adventures of Fresh Prince and would have gasped in amazement at the skills of DJ Jazzy Jeff.
I know full well that I did!
I will still use portions of these tracks in my mixes and shows being as they are easily recognisable to people of my age (who I see singing along to all the words, as I do)
so, now it's a nice piece of pop history and a lot of fun, but back in the olden days a great mix of comedy and great beats.
obviously you can still catch Will Smith at the Movies and the occasional album, as well as seeing DJ Jazzy Jeff touring all over the world still spinning the wheels of still and wowing the crowds with his DJ skills.
Disc #1 Tracklisting
1 Girls Ain't Nothing But Trouble
2 Just One of Those Days
3 Rock the House
4 Taking It to the Top
5 Magnificent Jazzy Jeff
6 Just Rockin'
7 Girls Ain't Nothing But Trouble - DJ Jazzy Jeff & the Fresh Prince, Ice Cream Tee
8 Touch of Jazz
9 Don't Even Try It
10 Special Announcement