Tag Archives: Mad Skillz

Live Review – DJ Jazzy Jeff & Skillz

Venue: The Jazz Cafe, London  Date: 9 May 2012

It’s a true sign of the times when a deejay can simply walk into a packed club, plug his laptop in, check his headphones and then five minutes later be launching into his set. Gone are the days of power-lifting bags of records around and worrying about damaging treasured white label singles and having to work with worn-out needles. Some would say recent advances in technology have diluted the abilities of many new deejays, but with a veteran like the magnificent Jazzy Jeff you get the best of both worlds; an old-school deejay who came up rocking house-parties with vinyl on makeshift equipment who uses new technology to enhance his talents rather than hide any shortcomings.

Joined onstage by VA’s (formerly Mad) Skillz, who acted as a lively and entertaining host for the evening, Will Smith’s former recording partner took the sold-out crowd on a two-hour musical journey that encompassed everything from golden-era Hip-Hop and classic breaks to vintage soul, funk and disco.

With Skillz prowling the stage and working the crowd like a true professional (at one point performing his own 90s classic “The Nod Factor”), Jazzy Jeff remained silent behind his laptop set-up, speaking only with his hands and flashing a wide grin every time he played a track that drew a particularly enthusiastic response from the crowd.

Pacing his set to near perfection, the Illadelph deejay dropped in snatches of familiar samples before segueing into the Hip-Hop cut the audience knew each original track from. So R. Kelly’s “Your Body’s Callin'” made way for Biggie’s “Unbelievable”, whilst Bobby Caldwell’s quiet storm favourite “Open Your Eyes” was effortlessly blended into Common’s Dilla-produced “The Light”.

The Beastie Boys’ 80s classics “Paul Revere” and “Hold It Now, Hit It” drew particularly large cheers given the recent passing of group member MCA, whilst a West Coast medley featuring 2Pac’s “California Love”, Snoop’s “Gin And Juice” and Dr. Dre’s “Still D.R.E.” had Skillz encouraging everyone to throw up their Westside hand-signs.

Familiar crowd-pleasers such as Pharoahe Monch’s “Simon Says”, Gang Starr’s “Full Clip” and Biggie’s “Hypnotize” were all given an airing, whilst some early Jackson 5 had Skillz doing the two-step and a short snippet of the “Fresh Prince Of Bel-Air” theme raised laughter from the crowd.

Keen to show that, party-rocking aside, he’s still no slouch on the turntables, Jazzy Jeff went back-to-back with Bob James’ “Take Me To The Mardi Gras” break-beat and sliced the intro of LL Cool J’s brilliant “Rock The Bells” to pieces, using the transformer scratch that became his trademark back in the 80s to whip the audience into a frenzy.

With timeless tracks from the likes of Pete Rock & CL Smooth, Rob Base & DJ E-Z Rock, Slum Village and the Incredible Bongo Band all finding their way into the mix, not even Uncle Phil would have wanted to throw the hard-working Jazzy Jeff out of his house following a set as impressive as this.

Ryan Proctor

Footage of DJ Jazzy Jeff and Skillz at The Jazz Cafe.

Where It All Began – Skillz

AmbrosiaForHeads.Com interview with VA’s Skillz discussing some of his first memories of Hip-Hop on wax.

Infamous Quotes Mixtape Download – Skillz / J.Period / DJ Jazzy Jeff

Download Skillz’ new mixtape here – album “The World Needs More Skillz” is out October 25th.

Rock The House – DJ Jazzy Jeff / Skillz

Mr. Smith’s right-hand man Jazzy Jeff on the ones-and-twos in Paris with Skillz.

New Joint – Skillz

Skillz ft. Kornbread – “Be Alright” ( Koch / 2008 )

Lifted from Skillz’ recent album “The Million Dollar Backpack”.

Where I Been – Skillz

Skillz gets into some of his history with NYC’s Ms. Drama whilst promoting his new thoroughly entertaining album “The Million Dollar Backpack”.

Design Of A Decade Vol. 1 – Skillz

New mixtape featuring your favourite rapper’s favourite ghostwriter doing his thing over a strong selection of 90s instrumentals – download here and read what Skillz himself had to say about the project below.

“Now I don’t do that many mixtapes, I think I may have like 5 or 6 to my credit. Maybe because I just dont really get inspired to spit over whats hot right now and leak it to the world. I feel like doing something special when I do something, something that will stand out from what else is being at the moment. Picture me rapping over Lollipop right now?? LOL, aint happening homie! So I came up with this idea to do a mixtape series on decades of music. I had to start with the 90’s cuz that music influenced me the most. And when I started pulling songs it was a zillion, I couldn’t decide on which ones that I wanted to do. So these songs are me paying respect to the cats who inspired me. I still get in the car and pick a week where I just listen to one artist all week whenever Im in the car so I can remember how I felt when I first heard those songs. Like last week I listened to Eric B & Rakim all week long, every song, every album. It helps to inspire me ya know? I can’t get inspired by what I hear on the radio. I titled the songs by their initials so you wont know what I did over until to hear the actual song, so check it out, ride with it (it plays perfect in a ipod) vibe to it and hopefully I can make you feel the way I felt while making it. Shout to Cannon & J. Period for making it with me…look out for future volumes cuz I can do these joints all day long!! LOL!”

 

 

 

 

New Joint – Skillz

Skillz – “Crazy World” ( Koch / 2008 )

Interesting video clip from the Virginia native’s forthcoming album “Million Dollar Backpack”. 

More Skillz – Mad Skillz

This year’s “07 Rap Up” is so dope I had to put up yet another Mad Skillz post – this time courtesy of AllHipHop.Com.

New Joint – Mad Skillz

The full video for “07 Rap Up”.

Outta Here – Mad Skillz

Having blessed us for a number of years now with his humorous and witty “Rap Up” cuts, Mad Skillz puts a new twist on his trademark annual twelve month summary by recording a video for 2007’s edition.