Jeffrey Townes is best known to the wider world through his partnership with Will Smith, which saw DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince release such radio pleasers as Summertime and Boom! Shake The Room! in the early '90s. But Jazzy is also revered as one of the original pioneers of DJ scratching, as well as being one of the greatest producers in the hip hop industry. And, as we found out at an Xbox Live event, his gaming knowledge isn't too shabby either...
The following interview originally appeared in Xbox 360: The Official Xbox Magazine, issue #02. It was conducted just prior to Xbox 360's launch in North America.
I see you certainly know you way around the racetrack in Forza Motorsport. Are you heavily into your videogames?
Jazzy Jeff: Well, don't tell anybody, but I've actually played this game before. I've already got an Xbox, and I can't wait to get my hands on the new Xbox 360. It'll be another one to add to the collection. I have been playing games for a long time now, but I'm especially a big, BIG fan of the sports titles. The likes of Madden and NBA...
Your collection? What exactly are we talking about here?
Jazzy Jeff: Oh, everything, man. Anything to do with technology. Recently I bought a new laptop to take around with me when I'm touring.
So is that the last gadget you bought for your collection?
Jazzy Jeff: No, the last thing was a digital camera. It's great - got a lot of options on it.
So what's your impression of Xbox Live?
Jazzy Jeff: Man, I'm completely blown away by it. I mean, being able to play anyone in world anytime, any place? That's just amazing. You used to have to get some friends round, and get them all staring at the one screen... but this really opens up the experience. You don't have to be waiting for people to come round if you want to be playing people. It's great being able to just pick up a pad and start playing.
Well, since I gave you that Xbox 360 to be photographed with, you haven't let go of it. You seem pretty fired up about getting your hands on one of your own.
Jazzy Jeff: I certainly am. I've been hearing a lot about it - the games are something I can't wait to get my hands on. As I said before, I'm a sports game guy. I'm looking forward to the new NBA game; I cannot wait for that. They've got this sweat physics engine on it; it looks just the real thing, man! I need it today. I need it when it comes out, first day.
You need sweat? Okay... Anyway, have you got your home system set up already?
Jazzy Jeff: Oh, I have indeed. I need to play this thing [lifts up the Xbox 360] at the best quality; I need it with the bells and the whistles. I just bought a 100-inch TV screen and a whole new surround system so I can sit and play it. I got it all, except the console. All I need is this thing to complete the puzzle.
Well, you haven't got too long to wait now. Guess the very first thing you'll be loading is the new NBA?
Jazzy Jeff: Yes, sir. The realism on this new one, I love that. The realism and the gameplay combined...? I'll be picking up all the sports games soon as they're out. I'm loving the Madden, the NHL, I need these games! This whole new generation of gaming is fantastic. I was a big Xbox fan, and with this new generation... I can't wait, I can't wait.
A lot of the sports games have licensed soundtracks. Has your production company, A Touch Of Jazz, been approached to contribute music to a videogame?