Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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DJ Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince

  • He's the DJ, I'm the Rapper [Jive, 1988] B-
  • And in This Corner . . . [Jive, 1989] B+
  • Greatest Hits [Jive, 1998] **

Consumer Guide Reviews:

He's the DJ, I'm the Rapper [Jive, 1988]
From Fabian and Chubby Checker to Cosby and this crew, Philadelphia has always produced too many unthreatening teen dreams--it's enough to make you stop worrying and love Schoolly-D. Though I grant the Fresh Prince's acting ability and find myself touched when he tells the crowd he's 17, he makes the mistake of coming on smug in a genre whose staple is confidence. In life, maybe the wheedle is more socially advanced than the demand; in art, it's a turnoff. B-

And in This Corner . . . [Jive, 1989]
The Prince is already planning for life after rap. Will settle for standup, but wants his own series. Does creditable Richard Pryor-style impressions--rev, grandma, barber, wino. Writes good situations, too--"Who Stole My Car?," "I Think I Can Beat Mike Tyson," "The Men of Your Dreams." Then there's the gold digger (calls her a '49er, a new one on me), and the cannibal yarn no white artist would dare anymore. B+

Greatest Hits [Jive, 1998]
The antigangsta, as only a master of light comedy could render him ("Summertime," "Lovely Daze"). **