This was the first year I was blessed with the opportunity to attend DJ Jazzy Jeff's Playlist Retreat August of 2016.
First of all, I got to say thank you to DJ Jazzy Jeff for reaching out and inviting me to his home. What ya'll may not know is that Jeff is my favorite DJ of all-time. I always loved the DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince records growing up in the 80s. I loved when he connected on "I Don't Know" with J Dilla and Slum Village on the CLASSIC Fantastic Vol. 2 album and again on "Are You Ready" off The Magnificent album in 2002. Seeing him rock the RUN DMC "Peter Piper" routine live is magic. When he, Kid Capri, Grandmaster Flash, and DJ Premier did a tribute to Jam Master Jay of RUN DMC in 2003, that solidified Jazzy Jeff as my favorite. Jeff cuts are always so clean and he always seem cool, calm, and collected with his performing. That's the signs of a great artist who loves what they do and practices alot too.
That whole Playlist Retreat experience truly did change my life and perspective on creating music. The biggest change was in the aspect of collaborating with other artists. Yes, i've always collaborated with artists throughout my career, but not in the way I did at the Playlist Retreat.
Prior to the Retreat, I've mostly been the type of producer that is used to making music alone. In order to be comfortable, I usually preferred to create in a room/studio space by myself - so I can sort out my thoughts with no distractions or outside influences. I like to be in familiar surroundings where I have all my keyboards and instruments at my leisure. At the Playlist Retreat, I was taken out of all of my creative comfort zones. I was collaborating with artists that I was just familiar with, but never met in person. I had times where I collaborated with artists where I didn't have chemistry with them and didn't necessarily make the best music. However, I got to collaborate with artists that i've only dreamed of working with and things came out dope. All and all, these interactions helped build my confidence and comfortability in working with different amazing creatives around the world.
When I came back to Los Angeles from the 4-day retreat, I had a renewed love for collaborating. One of the artists, I collaborated with was an up and coming Masego - who is now the man in these R&B streets. Love that dude. I was also able to connect with incredible artists such as Maimouna Youssef, Muhsinah, DJ Z-Trip, Tiffany Gouche, Pharaoh Monche, Chris Dave, J Cole, Eric Roberson, DJ Khalil, James Poyser of The Roots. Some of those great artists contributed to my solo project, For My Sanity - which I released in 2019.
So you might be wondering, did Jeff and I ever get some work done like we said??
We did. Since this first time we met, I visited Jeff's home every year afterwards as my creative getaway. I was brought in to record for the "Chasing Goosebumps" album sessions as well. The Playlist Retreat challenges are one of the highlights. The challenges are different every year, but the essence is that you are randomly grouped together with other artists with the goal to create a song in 24 hours. The challenge is also in the fact that you may or may not have the proper equipment to record due to everyone needing the same stuff. Seriously. One year, I had to record, arrange, and mix an entire record in Jeff's basement bathroom, with one loudspeaker on top of a chair to mix. I had to lock the bathroom door so nobody would try come in to use the bathroom while we recorded. Good times right?
Here's a snippet of one of the records I got to work on in the famous music challenges Jeff would do at the retreats.
This was from the 2018 challenge. Each team was given samples from different countries that we had to create something with. I was a part of Team Japan, which consisted of dope Chicago house producer DJ Terry Hunter, The Whooligan, Guitarist Decarlo, and the lovely Amber of Moonchild!
I'ma see if I can find a way to let ya'll hear that Team Japan joint Jeff's playing the video..