Tag Archives: DJ Jazzy Jeff

Let’s Move It Philly: Black Thought and Hometown Heroes Party with Purpose

Story by Franceska Rouzard

Many in the region may remember Saturday, February 21st as the night of a wicked wintry storm. However, the funkiest and flyest of Philadelphia will remember it as the night they shared a dance floor with brilliant activists like Dr. Janice Johnson Dias, and talented artists and pioneers the likes of Philadelphia’s own Tariq “Black Thought” Trotter, DJ Jazzy Jeff and Rich Medina [yea we’re claiming you too Rich!].


Hosted by the GrassROOTS Community Foundation, an organization co-founded by long time friends Black Thought and Dr. Johnson Dias, The 5th Annual Let’s Move It: Philly aimed to raise money for Linglebach Elementary [learn how you can help #SaveLingelbach], one of many educational institutions in Philadelphia who received laughable, in a not so funny kind of way, discretionary funding for this school year. Held at Trilogy [formerly Palmer Social Club], attendees described it simply as, “a good time for a good cause.”

Many who braved the weather and ventured to the event, from near and far, expressed openly they were “glad they came out!”


Personally I, as a Philly transplant, was in awe of the entire evening. It is difficult to pinpoint a sole source of wonderment. It could have been the overwhelming turn out given the weather. Perhaps, it was bankhead bouncing to Busta Rhymes with an accomplished, well dressed sociology professor. Conceivably, it was the easy-going nature of Grammy-Award winning, world-renowned artists mingling with guests just like all the others.

No doubt it was the DJ sets and live performance from Black Thought, which so well complimented the energy of the evening – originating with the cause(s) the GrassROOTS Community Foundation stand for.


I was afforded the privilege of speaking with Dr. Johnson Dias, Rich Medina, and Black Thought about the GrassROOTS Community Foundation, the Linglebach Elementary cause, and future plans for Philadelphia.

FR: On the home page of the GrassROOTS Community Foundation’s website, there is a big banner that says “A Tribute to Tanji Dewberry”. Who is that?

Dr. Johnson Dias: Tanji Dewberry is a friend, author, mentor and a trailblazer in ‘Super Camp‘, a summer day camp for Philadelphia’s inner city girls. Her dream was to extend it to Philadelphian boys. She died in a fire trying to rescue her children. Last year, her mother, Cynthia Mitchell, funded three boys to Super Camp.

FR: What does it take to put an event like this together?

Black Thought: It takes a lot of planning and flexibility and the delegation of many responsibilities. It takes a strong and reliable team, people you can trust and who can improvise. It takes a village.

FR: I read the GrassROOTS Community Foundation has a three year commitment to Linglebach Elementary to create an after school program. What are the next steps?

Black Thought: After tonight, we plan to give a nice sized contribution. Our next fundraiser is a 5k race called Roots Rock Run.

FR: Dr. Johnson Dias and Black Thought have decided to take their success and help the city of Philly, and others. What motivates you, Rich?

Rich Medina: I have a son, a 7 year old. Also, I went to college so I know the importance of education and learning. However, I feel I learned even more during college in my extracurricular activities — outside of the classroom. For that reason, I remain a student even now. I believe in a lifetime of learning and promoting wellness and forward thinking.

More info about the GrassROOTS Community Foundation

Website | Twitter | Facebook

 Photos courtesy of Saeed Briscoe

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Legendary DJ Jazzy Jeff and International Music Producer Rich Medina Join Tarik “Black Thought” Trotter of The Roots and A Special Surprise Celebrity Guest for a Classic Dance Party to Raise Funds For Women and Girls Living in Economically Disadvantaged Communities

On February 21st, Tarik “Black Thought” Trotter, co-founder and lead MC of the GRAMMY® Award-winning hip hop band, The Roots, will host the 5th Annual Let’s Move It: Philly! charity dance party to raise funds for the GrassROOTS Community Foundation (GCF). In addition to hosting, Black Thought, co- founder and Chairman of the Board for GCF, will perform alongside hip hop legend DJ Jazzy Jeff and international producer and DJ Rich Medina. New this year is a special surprise celebrity guest committed to helping young girls and women lead healthy, happy lives. Let’s Move It: Philly! will take over Trilogy, formerly The Palmer Social Club, located at 601 Spring Garden Street, Philadelphia, PA 19123. Doors open at 9pm.

To purchase tickets, visit: letsmoveitphilly5.eventbrite.com.

Video of previous Let’s Move it Philly! Events

The GrassROOTS Community Foundation—co-founded by Black Thought and Dr. Janice Johnson Dias—is committed to contributing to the health and well-being of vulnerable populations and disadvantaged communities. Using rigorous scientific research, GCF creates innovative, health and wellness-centered, community-based programming that provides educational and recreational services to girls and women.

“We want to interrupt the structural inequality that exists in our communities; food access and health disparities are much higher in the African American and Hispanic populations than the rest of the nation,” says Dr. Johnson Dias. “The GrassROOTS Community Foundation recognizes and upholds young girls and women—specifically those of color—as agents of change and creates spaces for them to thrive physically, economically and emotionally. We know it is not enough to just describe the water in which people are drowning, we have to move and do the work together to change the tide.”

This year’s beneficiary organization is the Anna L. Lingelbach Elementary School in Germantown. In August 2014, there was a national outcry after it was revealed the school received only $160 in discretionary funding for the entire 2014-2015 school year. With a total student body of 400, spending equates to just 2.5 cents per pupil. The budget was to cover the costs of everything from books and copier paper to stamps and afterschool activities. After learning of the unfortunate appropriation, GCF moved into action. The proceeds from Let’s Move It: Philly! will go toward building an afterschool program at the school and increasing the capacity of youth and adults in the Germantown neighborhood. This program, titled LEAVES, is a social action public health program for middle school aged-girls. Funded by the Annie E. Casey Foundation, LEAVES will educate and inform community members about health disparities; amplify youth and community members’ voices on local health concerns and begin a community partnership to establish community investment in girls’ well-being.

GCF is committed to the LEAVES program at Lingelbach for three years.

“We’re excited to be part of the Linglebach community and to start the LEAVES afterschool program. As a father, I always want my children to have access to activities that challenge their bodies and their minds, and make them better people,” said Black Thought. “This year’s Let’s Move It Philly concert is going to be amazing and will give people an opportunity to party for a purpose with me and my friends.”

Building on the success of First Lady Michelle Obama’s national call to action to encourage young people and family members to be active and make better food choices, Let’s Move It: Philly! is one of GCF’s 10 city initiative— which is also active in Newark—that addresses health inequality for African Americans and low- income communities.

The Let’s Move It: Philly! dance party is part of a day-long wellness event which begins with a Townhall Conversation about Health at Lingelbach School, which will happen in the morning.

Let’s Move It: Philly! is sponsored by Monami Entertainment, Skai Blue Media and Superfly Mom.

To purchase tickets, visit: letsmoveitphilly5.eventbrite.com.

Video of previous Let’s Move it Philly! Events

ABOUT GrassROOTS Community Foundation
The GrassROOTS Community Foundation (GCF) is an anti-poverty and wellness organization that supports, develops, and scales community-driven solutions to the health challenges facing women and girls living in poverty. For more information, visit www.grass-rootsfoundation.org.

ABOUT Skai Blue Media
Skai Blue Media is a full-service communications agency based in Philadelphia. We bring together experience from the fields of public relations, journalism, video production, retail and non-profit in addition to maintaining close relationships with media outlets, business networks influencers, entrepreneurs and decision-makers. Skai Blue Media specializes in helping businesses build their communications foundation. Whether we are helping a client prepare for a store opening or generating press opportunities in regional and national publications, our unique pitching style is secures coverage in niche and national publications. However big or small, we provide each client with an individualized approach to garnering press and creating unique collaborations. For more information, follow us online @SkaiBlueMedia or visit Facebook.com/skaibluephilly.
ABOUT Monami Entertainment
Monami Entertainment is a multi-faceted boutique entertainment company specializing in talent management, brand development and film/television production. Founded by Haitian-American philanthropist Mona Scott-Young, Monami Entertainment was created on the premise of maintaining Scott-Young’s track record for success while expanding the scope of services beyond music to encompass all areas of the entertainment business.

DJ Jazzy Jeff with The Roots on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon

Philadelphia legend DJ Jazzy Jeff joined the Roots last night to spin a few tracks on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon. This follows the 25th Anniversary of his album with Fresh Prince’s He’s the DJ, I’m the Rapper. Their debut LP, 1987’s Rock the House, included the mild hit single, “Girls Ain’t Nothing But Trouble,” but it was the duo’s sophomore effort, which eventually sold enough to be certified triple platinum, that ranks among the most successful hip-hop records ever—and certainly the most successful out of Philadelphia.

He’s the DJ, I’m the Rapper made Jeffrey Townes and Will Smith household names throughout their beloved hometown, while subsequently putting Philly on the map and the global stage in ways that still resonate a quarter-century later. Townes remains one of the most respected spinmasters in the world, and Smith has become one of the highest grossing actors in Hollywood and part owner of the 76ers.

Read more about the 25th Anniversary of the album on Philly Weekly and watch the DJ Jazzy Jeff’s performance on Jimmy Fallon below:

A Conversation with DJs Jazzy Jeff and A-Trak

Last night DJ Phsh represented Philadelphia to the fullest by winning the title of East Coast representative at the Red Bull Thre3style Regional.  The wild, head-to-head DJ battle featured 5 of the East Coast’s finest competitors – DJ PHSH, DJ LAYZEEBOY, DJ Petey C, Trayze, Zeke. Also in the building to judge the competition were legendary DJs: DJ Jazzy Jeff, A-Trak and Z-Trip.

I got the opportunity to sit down and chat with 215 gem, DJ Jazzy Jeff, and turntable phenom, A-Trak about their thoughts on Philadelphia, best/worst DJing experiences, and more.

First up was Jazzy Jeff:

two.one. five magazine: You’re a 215 legend, how did Philadelphia influence you as an artist?

DJ Jazzy Jeff:  Philly’s a pretty tough town, and I think it gives you tough skin and prepares you for any curveballs that are thrown at you. I think when you’re out there and you have any kind of adversity, you just kind of tap into your Philly side and you’re able to tough it out.

I know people who aren’t from here that come here and say it’s pretty tough. It definitely is tough to please a Philly crowd, they expect great things and you have to always be on you’re A-game.

two.one. five magazine: I’m sure it’s benefited you in certain situations. What’s the worst experience you’ve ever had DJing?
DJ Jazzy Jeff: Someone booked me to do a Soca party, and they told me that they didn’t want me to play Soca music, they just wanted me to “do me”.  About an hour before I got there, the guy is like “Yo, can you do a Soca set?”

I didn’t know a single Soca record.

I arrive and there are about 3,000 people on the floor, dancing to Soca music. I got up there and started playing, and all I remember is this girl in the front row, and for the entire time I was playing she was just shaking her head like “nope”.  She didn’t say a single word, she just kept shaking her head. I was like ,“Oh my god”, and I just kept playing.

That’s that Philly tough style, you’ve got to keep playing.

two.one. five magazine: That sounds petrifying! On a lighter note, what’s the best experience you’ve ever had DJing?

DJ Jazzy Jeff: Oh man, I have way too many of those.

two.one. five magazine: How about one of the most memorable?

DJ Jazzy Jeff: Every two years I play a festival in Singapore called ZoukOut, and there are about 85,000 people on the beach. So it’s really, really massive. Just imagine looking out at 85,000 people, and telling everyone to put there hands in the air – that will give you the chills.

two.one. five magazine: That’s insane, do you get nervous?

DJ Jazzy Jeff: Nope!

two.one. five magazine: Not even when you were first starting?

DJ Jazzy Jeff: More than nerves I think you get anxiety. I’m never nervous; I think I’m just anxious. You have all of these people in front of you, and you know what you’re going to do before they know, and you’re just so excited for them. It’s really cool.

two.one. five magazine: How do you feel out a crowd when you’re constantly going to different venues?
DJ Jazzy Jeff: It’s hard to explain, it’s so second nature to me now. I think more than anything, my job is to take people on a trip, and sometimes people start to enjoy it two minutes in, ten minutes in or twenty minutes in, but at the end of the day you just want them to enjoy the trip.  I think that’s it. You’re just thinking about how you can take these people along with you for the ride.

I definitely don’t go on what I see. I go on what I feel.

two.one. five magazine: I know you’ve been in competitions like the Red Bull Thre3style before, do you remember what the most stressful part about that is?
DJ Jazzy Jeff: I’ve always had tunnel vision. I’ve come up with what I’m going to do and I can’t worry about what anybody else is going to be doing. Focusing on what other people are doing is one of the biggest mistakes you can make. You just have to do you and see how it comes out. I’ve seen that be very disastrous for people who start listening or paying too much attention to somebody else.

Once you come up, a big plus is your level of commitment to your own style. You can commit to what you want to do and just stick with it. If you believe in it, just do it.  If you don’t believe in yourself, nobody is going to believe in you.

two.one. five magazine: DJ Phsh is from Philly, do you feel any bias towards him because he’s from your hometown?
DJ Jazzy Jeff: Let me tell you something, this is probably my third year doing Red Bull Thre3style judging. I’m very hard and very fair. I’m not the type of judge that wants you to set yourself on fire to impress me, but I pay attention to all of the little stuff. You’ll never pull something over on me. I’m watching, I’m listening and if what I see and what I hear don’t match, then the hairs on the back of neck stand up.

Hey, that makes you a great judge to have for the competition. Lastly, do you have any advice for the DJs for tonight and moving forward from the competition?
One of the biggest pieces of advice that I have, especially for the DJs from the US, is to not take the rest of the world for granted.  I think that the rest of the world is a lot more musically advanced than the United States, and I’ve seen a lot of guys from the United States take that for granted, and lose. So, watch out for the little, short, tiny guy from Chile who looks unassuming, because he will put his foot in your ass.

two.one. five magazine: That’s a solid piece of advice. Thanks so much, Jazzy Jeff, you seriously rule.

Next up was A-trak.

two.one. five magazine: You’ve been in competitions like this before, as a DJ, what is the most stressful part of competing?

A-Trak: The most stressful part is that you want to make sure you don’t mess up [laughs]. A DJ set is very intricate, there are a lot of cues, you have stay sharp the whole way through, but you also want to put on a good appearance for the crowd.

There is this whole sort of balancing act where you don’t want to look at your records the whole time because you want to engage the crowd, but at the same time, your mind needs to be sharp, you need to be focused and you want to remember everything.

You’re also really depending on equipment that could fail. In the pure, vinyl days it would be skipping, and nowadays your laptop could just go blank or crash. Things happen, and you want to stay tight. That’s probably the most stressful part of preparing for battle, just wanting to make sure that you perform your set correctly.

two.one. five magazine: Has you equipment failed on you?
A-Trak: Everything has happened to me. I was in the world finals in 1998, the DMC World Finals and the cross-fader knob flew off of my mixer. When these things happen you’re just like, “Why?! This is not supposed to happen [laughs].”

Records have skipped on me too. It’s really part of being a DJ, though. DJing is a live thing, you’re performing in front of a live audience and part of performing live is learning to roll with punches. You have to adapt.

two.one. five magazine: Is that the worst thing that’s happened to you on stage?
A-Trak: Definitely [laughs] I’d have to say that’s the worst.

two.one. five magazine: What’s the best experience that you’ve had DJing?
A-Trak: I have been DJing for 16 years. I’ve done a fair share of things; I probably can’t even pick a top three.

two.one. five magazine: Do you have a favorite artist that you’ve worked with, or an artist that has inspired you the most?
A-Trak: I’ve worked closely with Kanye West for many years, he’s definitely one of the guys who has influenced me a lot and helped me grow. I’m currently in a group called Duck Sauce with Armand Van Helden, and you know, that “Barbara Streisand” track that we put out was the biggest hit I’ve ever had.

Even beyond that, my relationship with Armand just as a music partner and friend is one of my favorites too. I really like the guy, he’s my homie.

There have also been a lot of other great collaborations that I’ve been a part of before. I’m just so happy to do what I do, and be able to earn a living with my craft, my passion and not have to do what other people have done before me.  Not only is it cool to live off of music, but to feel like I’m creating a path that’s my own is even more thrilling I think.

two.one. five magazine: I know you’ve been all over the world, has coming to Philadelphia to judge this competition inspired or influenced you in any sort of way?
A-Trak: Jazzy Jeff is probably the single-most influential DJ to me. He’s the dude that’s influenced me the most over my career, especially when you’re talking about longevity and well roundedness. To keep a career going for as long as me is one thing, but as long as Jazzy Jeff is another thing. Jeff is the don for me.  So being in the city that he comes from is inspiring to me.

two.one. five magazine:Do you have any advice for tonight’s DJs for after they move on from this competition?
A-Trak: For tonight, I would say be original. There are a lot of people that are doing the same shit. For moving on from the competition, I would still say be original because there are always going to be people doing the same shit no matter what level you reach. Bring something fresh to the table, and that’s how people will notice you.

Thanks for such an interesting chat, A-trak.

PSK (Philadelphia Sound Konnoisseurs) @ Voyeur Nightclub

Clash of the DJ titans at Voyeur… Photos by Tim Blackwell

Questlove brings back the heavyweights for another amazing 4th Of July holiday eve at Voyeur Nightclub… DJ Statik, DJ Phsh, Rich Medina, J-Rocc, DJ Jazzy Jeff, DJ Drama and Questlove himself formed like Voltron and delivered the goods… which is probably a major understatement. Especially if you were there, sweating profusely from excessive dancing, pouring cold Heineken on your head, or partaking in free ice cold shots of Ciroc courtesy of DJ Drama. I’m pretty sure I did all three (from what I remember..), and somehow managed not to lose my camera in the process. Despite the hedonism that was PSK, I still manage to get some great shots. This easily beats losing an eye setting off shitty fireworks in your driveway. If you were one of the few people who weren’t there, check out the flicks now, and we’ll figure out your punishment later…

Heineken Green Room: DJ Jazzy Jeff x DJ Phsh @ Club Whisper

Jazzy Jeff brings it back home to Club Whisper… Photos by Tim Blackwell

Heineken continues their series of exclusive Green Room event’s with Philly’s very own, DJ Jazzy Jeff… along with fellow West Philly native, DJ Phsh, warming up the crowd with a opening set. With endless green bottles, non-stop club bangers, the wall to wall crowd got a serious workout on the dance floor.

If you’re still sleeping on the Green Room events (Wake up!), sign up on the Two.One.Five Magazine email list for exclusive info on future Heineken events. Don’t get left behind…