DJ Jazzy Jeff offered some background information on one of television’s most enduring sitcom theme songs in the classic Fresh Price of Bel-Air track. The DJ and producer revealed in an interview that it took him and his rap partner, Will Smith just 15 minutes to create the track.
DJ Jazzy Jeff, born Jeffrey Townes, sat down with Entertainment Weekly recently for a chat about the beloved hit NBC series that launched Smith’s career as an actor en route to becoming a box office draw. EW spoke with Jazzy Jeff and series co-creator Andy Borowitz for a brief chat on how the song was developed after Smith was pegged to read for the show.
ANDY BOROWITZ: I was supposed to produce this pilot with Will, and the thing that had gotten the network very excited about Will was his video for “Parents Just Don’t Understand.” And so, when it was time to come up with a theme song I was like, “We’re basically doing the hip-hop Beverly Hillbillies here. Let’s not run away from that — let’s just go for it.” The whole pilot came together so fast, because it was very late in pilot season and we had very little time to throw the whole thing together. They probably wrote the theme song overnight. It happened very quickly.
JAZZY JEFF: We literally went into the studio and made the theme song in about 15 minutes. One of the things Will used to always say is the hardest part to come up with for a song is the concept, but the concept behind the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air was already laid out. I ended up just going in and programming some music, and he wrote something and laid it down. I did rough mix and sent it in, and in about three weeks it was on NBC.
Photo: screen cap