"Parents Just Don't Understand" - DJ Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince
from the album He's The DJ, I'm The Rapper (1988)
Billboard Hot 100 peak: #12 (two weeks)
Weeks in the Top-40: 10
Today's Song of the Day comes from the hip-hop/comic duo DJ Jazzy Jeff (Jeff Townes) and the Fresh Prince (Will Smith), who along with beatboxer/DJ Ready Rock C (Clarence Holmes) all came from Philadelphia, and after being signed by Jive Records released their debut album Rock The House in 1987. The single "Girls Ain't Nothin' But Trouble", which sampled the theme to the TV show I Dream Of Jeanie, popped on to the American R&B chart at #81 in 1986, while making it to #21 on the British singles chart. Although the quirky sample made it seem like a washed down version of rap, the misogynistic and borderline violent lyrics were nothin' like the Will Smith of later on. The second single "The Magnificent Jazzy Jeff", a flurry of pop samples, followed, going to #61. Both tracks had Will's delivery a little more harsh, like LL Cool J of the same era, while Holmes was noticably absent from the promotion of the act.
The group traveled to England to record their sophomore album, He's The DJ, I'm The Rapper. Not only did the title isolate Holmes more, but their sound veered more to the family-friendly variety. Proof is the first single, "Parents Just Don't Understand", written and produced by the trio, which caught the ears of all the suburban kids...
"Parents Just Don't Understead" became their first big pop hit, reaching the top ten on the Hot 100 in July of 1988. The single also climbed to #10 on Billboard's R&B chart as well. Internationally, the record made the top-40 in New Zealand (#13) and Canada (#28). It would notoriously go on to win the first Grammy Award for rap performance.
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In 2001, kid rapper Lil' Romeo, future ex-Mr. Carey Nick Cannon, and girl-group 3LW covered the song (with a little bit of lyric changes) for the animated Jimmy Neutron movie...
...and here's Jeff and Will live...
Finally, there's this.
Up tomorrow: A soulful expatriate wants your John Hancock.