Friday, September 3, 2021

"A Nightmare on My Street" by DJ Jazzy Jeff & the Fresh Prince

Song#:  3602
Date:  06/30/1988
Debut:  74
Peak:  15
Weeks:  16
Genre:  Hip-Hop, Rap


Pop Bits:  The duo's second album, He's the DJ, I'm the Rapper, would be their mainstream breakthrough reaching #4 Pop and #5 R&B thanks to a pair of hits. First, "Parents Just Don't Understand" would make it to #10 R&B and #12 Pop. It would end up being a gold-selling single. Then this follow-up would do similar business getting to #9 R&B and #15 Pop. The two songs helped sell albums and by September of '88 it would be certified double-platinum. In 1995, it would reach the triple-platinum mark.

ReduxReview:  If I hadn't heard tracks from Run-D.M.C. and LL Cool J, maybe I would have liked DJ Jazzy Jeff & the Fresh Prince; or maybe not. Their brand of rap/hip-hop bordered on novelty to me and because of that some of their tunes were kind of fun the first time around, but they quickly got stale and annoying. I think what they did was perfect for a younger crowd (and their parents). For folks who had heard rap tracks by the artists I mention above and others, the duo's work already sounded a bit antiquated. These days, some rap considered old school is still fun to hear and continues to be influential, but tracks like this one from JJ & FP have virtually disappeared becoming nostalgic novelties. This Nightmare-influenced track certainly hasn't aged well. It was silly when it came out and it is even worse now.

ReduxRating:  3/10

Trivia:  This song is basically a tribute/take on the horror film franchise A Nightmare on Elm Street and its famous villain Freddy Krueger and it happened to be written and recorded around the time that the fourth film in the series, subtitled The Dream Master, was in production. Oddly enough, the film's production company and rights owner New Line Cinema was contemplating having a rap act do a theme song for the film along with an associated video. The duo's record label, Jive, contacted New Line about a song the pair had written and were hoping they could do a video that would be released in conjunction with the film. At the same time, New Line was in talks with The Fat Boys to do the theme. Despite that, New Line extended an offer to Jive for the JJ&FP track but they turned it down as the financial portion was too low. New Line then signed on The Fat Boys who came up with "Are You Ready for Freddy." Meanwhile, the He's the DJ, I'm the Rapper album was released, which included the track. New Line noticed and looked into legal action for copyright infringement. To make things worse, the duo filmed a music video of their song that included a Freddy Krueger lookalike. It got aired a few times on MTV, but the channel pulled it once they were notified of a potential lawsuit. In the end, a settlement was agreed upon between New Line and Jive. Some finances were exchanged and future pressings of the album had to include a disclaimer stating "A Nightmare on My Street" was in no way associated with the Nightmare franchise. In addition, all copies of the video had to be destroyed. The agreement also had New Line offering DJ Jazzy Jeff & the Fresh Prince options to star in two films, both of which they turned down. One of those films was House Party, which then got cast with Kid 'n Play and was a hit. In an odd twist, Kid 'n Play were initially pitched a TV series, which eventually became The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air starring - the Fresh Prince Will Smith. The video for "A Nightmare on My Street" was seemingly lost forever and even personal copies that the duo had got lost along the way. However, in 2018 someone discovered they had taped MTV during a time that the video aired and put it out on YouTube. It later got taken down, but at least a copy of it still survives.

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