Are Will Smith and DJ Jazzy Jeff Still Friends?

The 1980s were a much different time for hip hop. Back then, artists such as DJ Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince could turn even a rap song about Freddy Krueger into a hit single. Since then, the Fresh Prince aka Will Smith evolved from a popular rapper to a TV star and ultimately into one of the biggest movie stars on the planet. So that begs the question: is Smith still friends with DJ Jazzy Jeff aka Jeff Townes?

DJ Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince
DJ Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince | Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

Oftentimes, musical groups grow out of a familial connection. But that’s not the case with DJ Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince. Contrary to what some fans might think, Smith and Townes are not related. But the story of how DJ Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince met does have an air of destiny about it.

The fateful meeting went down in 1985 in Philadelphia, where both men were born and raised. Townes earned a reputation for serving as a DJ for local residents, tackling school dances and block parties. And upon learning Townes’ hype man missed a gig, Smith filled in.

The rest was history, as Smith and Townes hit it off. Before long, they formed a hip hop duo, calling themselves DJ Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince. And just two years later, they released their debut studio album, Rock the House. It featured the hit single “Girls Ain’t Nothing But Trouble.”

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They both appeared on ‘The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air’

The popularity of DJ Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince led Smith to an acting career. In fact, he had never acted before development began on The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. Rather, the series leaned on his charismatic presence and the fun-loving persona he cultivated in his music.

Nevertheless, The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air took Smith’s career to the next level. And rather than leave Townes in his dust, Smith brought him onto the show as well. Townes initially refused. Yet, during the show’s six-season run, he appeared in 46 episodes as Jazz, an oblivious friend of Smith’s Will.

Jazz became something of a fan favorite too. Fans of The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air could always count on the character to get Will in over his head. And Jazz getting literally tossed out of the Banks home developed into one of the series’ best-known running gags.

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Are Will Smith and Jazzy Jeff still friends now?

Fans might be relieved to know Smith and Townes remain close friends even to this day. In fact, they never really stopped working together either. After DJ Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince stopped releasing new music, Townes collaborated with Smith on his solo albums.

The duo reportedly performed together as recently as September 2019. So, just as Smith has kept his friendship with The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air co-star Alfonso Ribeiro alive, he has never lost touch with Townes either. Townes joined the rest of the show’s cast for its 30th anniversary.