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Skratch Lessons: Completing Projects with Jazzy Jeff

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>> Right,
we got Grandmaster Jazzy Jeff in the
>> My man, Qbert.
>> I got some more questions.
Now, you were saying about getting work
done cuz sometimes I'm like, man,
I'm scared to put this out, or.
>> Yeah.
>> It's taking a long time,
like, making an album is tough.
So what, what kinda advice you got?
>> I don't think it's just making an
I think.
Thing is that anything that
you do creatively.
I think the older you get, the more
experience you get,
the more cautious you are.
>> Why is that?
>> I, I don't know, I'm, I'm trying to
figure it out too.
And the funny thing is I don't think any
of us got to the position where we were by
being cautious.
So it's just kinda an oxymoron, we get to
this stage.
That you probably have more knowledge and
just more skill, and, and, and
understanding of what you do now, why be
You know, but I think it, it happens with
everybody, you know.
I gave the, the, the analogy that my wife
said to me,
that when I was six years old I would jump
from the top step to the bottom step.
You know I may be in the best shape of my
life, but I'm scared to do it now.
Because my brain is telling me if I fall
and break my leg I won't be able work and
I'm won't be able to do this.
You know, you have to kinda find a way
especially creatively to
break away all of the barriers and go back
to you just doing it.
Which I don't have the answer to that.
I know where I need to go I'm always
trying to figure out how to best myself.
>> So, so it's like a fear thing then.
>> So absolutely it is a fear thing
>> Uh-huh
>> You know like you said sometimes you're
afraid like you know, is this good enough
to put out should I put this out.
You know, it's you didn't have that fear
when you did it
the first time
>> Uh-huh.
Why is that, you think?
>> You don't have anything to lose.
You have nothing to lose
>> That's what it is
>> That's it you know what and
that's pretty much what the cliche is.
When people are say sophomore jinx.
You know, people who the second or
third album because your trying to live up
to the previous ones.
And you absolutely need to approach
everything like it's your first.
>> Whoa, that's a good tip right there.
>> That's a good tip, so
>> And you know the funny thing we,
we don't, we don't want to make mistakes.
But if you make a mistake you just do it
>> Uh-huh.
>> So why don't just do it?
>> How many albums have you put out now?
>> Man, I haven't counted.
>> Whoo-Hoo.
>> I haven't counted.
>> What are some lessons you have learned
from making all these albums?
>> That, that trying to get rid of that
fear factor.
I actually did the first solo album I had
someone basically
give me a budget for the record to force
me to do it because I wouldn't do it.
And it took six months.
>> Why is that?
>> The, the, the same thing that you're
going through.
Just, you know, is it good enough?
You know, will people like it?
You know, the expectations.
And it's kinda like you have to figure out
a way to kinda shed those expectations or
just make those expectations yours.
And, and you know, it's, it's nothing
wrong with being you know,
being afraid to put something out.
You just can't be afraid to the point that
it stifles your creativity or
it stops you from putting it out.
>> At that time, how did you put those
records out,
if, if, did you have a fear at that time?
Or you just said.
>> You know what's funny, I, I,
it took me six months to really come up
with th concept of what I wanted to do.
And it actually took me three weeks to
finish the album from beginning to end.
Cuz once I had the concept I just rolled
through it.
>> What's this concept?
What are you talking about concept?
>> Well, just, you know.
In making the record, you have to figure
out, what, what is your goal?
What are you trying to do?
What do you want to accomplish?
Like, you know, do I want to make a Hip
Hop album?
Do I wanna make a Soulful album?
Do I wanna make a House album?
And if I do, you know, how deep to I wanna
Am I trying to go experimental?
Am I trying to be you know, a little bit
You know, once you kind of map out exactly
how you want to do it,
then it's easy to just approach it.
But the funny thing with me is once I
finish the album and
they sent it out for reviews was when I
got scared.
Because that's when you realize this is
the time
when people say if they like it or they
And I don't care who you are creatively,
you want everybody to like your shit.
>> Sure, sure.
>> You know, you don't want any bad
You know and even though they're, they're
all subjective to the person,
but that's when the fear factor came in.
You know?
And then when I did the next one.
I almost went into the studio worrying
about the reviews.
>> That's like what counts, huh?
>> So you just, you got to, you know?
It's, it's really funny.
You know and I, I think sometimes you have
to draw inspiration from new people.
And then sometimes you get, you, you find
that new DJ or
that new producer that has nothing to
And he's going with reckless abandonment.
You have to feed off of his energy.
He may not know that's what you're doing
a lot of times I surround myself with a
lot of young guys.
Because the young guys are the ones that's
like listen,
I'm gonna go in my garage and I'm going to
make this beat tonight.
And my friend down the street is gone
shoot the video and
we're going to put it out tomorrow.
So you sit there like wow, you just did it
and I'm sitting there thinking and
second guessing for two years.
>> [LAUGH] Right
>> So you know sometimes I think
you know somebody who has nothing to lose
can be your best motivator.
>> Mm-hm.
Kinda just like don't, don't care.
Just do it.
>> You have to.
You have to.
You got, you got it inside you.
You, you got, you got every, you got all
the tools that you need.
You know, right now the only thing that
Qbert is doing is just refining the tools
that he has.
You know?
The only thing you're doing is taking
those scratch and
adding a different element to it is not
something that super brand new.
It's something that's a hybrid of
something that you already did.
>> True. True. >> So everything that you
need, you've got inside of you.
You just gotta, you just gotta do it.
>> Yeah.
What are some
tips on getting rid of that fear.
>> Yeah, I, I don't know.
I don't know.
>> But you've done, you've done, you've
countless albums, right?
You don't even know anymore, huh?
That's amazing.
>> You know, but that, but, you know, I,
but I go through those roadblocks.
You know, I'll go through those blocks
that you're just trying to figure
out, I don't.
You know, I've, I've started working on
records and got to a point that I
started thinking about, who am I doing
this for, and I stopped.
You know and gots you can't.
>> Who are you doing it for?
>> Well I'm doing it for me.
But that's the whole thing.
It's you know, sometimes it's very easy to
get caught up.
>> Hm.
>> It's very easy.
>> Cau, caught up in what?
>> Just who you doing it for, you know?
You, you start doing it for you, you know?
And it's the same thing with anybody.
You know, it's like we started.
You started playing basketball because you
loved the game.
You go to the school, you even, you go to
the playground.
You develop your skills.
You started playing because you love it.
You played ball in high school, because
you love it.
You played ball in college because you
love it.
And somebody says, you know what?
You're great, you should go to the pros.
And they give you a whole bunch of money.
And then what you find yourself is you're
not playing it for
the love anymore, you're playing it for
the money.
>> Oh.
>> You're trying to get the next contract.
>> Uh-huh.
>> You know, and
it's very easy to kinda get caught up in
To get, you know, we've all turned our
love into a business.
That sometimes unfortunately we're
thinking from the business side,
and not the creative side.
>> Uh-huh.
>> You know, you're thinking, you know, I
need to do this.
Because this is great business, and not
great creativity.
And that's when we wonder why our
creativity is stifled.
You know, because, you know, and it's
because I'm trying to get to a point that
there's some.
You know, there's some events that I do
that are great business decisions.
But I always have to do a good share that
adjusts for me.
That, that's because where I wanna to
That's the music that I want to play.
Those are the people that I want to play
I don't care if it's free.
I don't care if it costs me money to do
That feeds my soul.
>> Nice.
>> And you just have to kinda figure out
that balance.
That some of these things that you do are
for your soul and
some of these things that you do are for
>> Mm-hm.
>> You know.
And I think.
You know that's the whole thing.
That's, that's LeBron James playing a
pickup game in the summer.
You know, that's all love.
That's love.
I love playing basketball.
Yep, I get paid for it but I need to go to
the park and play with these guys.
Because I love playing basketball.
>> That's dope.
>> You know, and it's the same thing.
It's like you know it's cool to DJ.
You get someone that wants to pay you.
And you know, every once in a while you
just kinda gotta you know.
It's like I need to go and play some music
for myself.
You know, for some people that will enjoy
what you do.
>> That's dope, that's dope.
>> Now you just gotta take that same
mindset into the studio.
>> Uh-huh.
>> Steve, Steve.
No one said it was gonna be this hard.
I'm really mad.
[LAUGH] Somebody should have warned me.
>> Steve.
>> Thanks, Jeff.
>> Absolutely.