October 28, 2017 Che Smith

Oh The Places You’ll Go! My Thoughts on World Touring with DJ Jazzy Jeff

Note: All photos below by @cristopherschafer on Instagram. Please provide photo credit if the photos are reposted or shared. Thank you!

WHAT I’VE BEEN UP TO

When Jazzy Jeff asked me to come on tour around the world with him to promote the new music we created, I said “Yes!” before he got the word tour out his mouth. The last world tour we did together was 2007 a full 10yrs ago. Since then I’ve been playing a background role in Hip-Hops evolution, running for Office, helping to pen songs like “New Slaves”-Kanye West & “Glory”- Common & John Legend.  I did a documentary “In My Fathers House” that debuted on Showtime and even acted in a film with Emilio Estevez, Micheal K. Williams & Gabrielle Union (The Public) coming soon. Recently I’ve been nominated for an Emmy for a segment I produced called “Creating History with Rhymefest” for a local Chicago Station WCIU- THE U and I became a Montgomery Fellow at Dartmouth College, not to leave out my African Abolition work and endless community engagement with Dondas House for young artists in Chicago.

WHY I STOPPED

Yet with all of this, I haven’t truly picked up a Mic and hit the road like a dedicated M.C. should. Partially because I believe we as artists have to show the full range of our abilities. I didn’t want to just rap about and imagine the possibilities of changing communities, I actually wanted to do it. I also got caught up in chasing the wrong things, like fame and how many clicks I had on social media. I started becoming increasingly depressed when my peers got public accolades I believed I deserved. I decided to step away and work on myself and my purpose.

THE WORRY!

Fast forward to October 2017 The Magnificent DJ Jazzy Jeff World Tour feat. Dayne Jordan & Rhymefest. There were a lot of things I forgot how to do in preparation for this type of adventure. How do you pack a bag for a world tour without bringing your whole closet? I have diabetes now, how do I eat healthy on the go? What if I get sick? How do I shut off everything in my life to give this priority, and “oh shit” I don’t even have all the Raps memorized.

ARRIVAL

Our first stop was Dubai, I’ve never been here before but watch it all the time on my Apple TV screen savor and think “wow that place looks like the future”. As I departed the plane I quickly realized my assumption was correct. Dubai is Ultra Luxurious, the airport looks like a great work of modern art, as the driver picked me up in an all black Bentley I thought “ok this is interesting” I’m not a guy who feels totally comfortable indulging in Luxury (fyi). We rode past huge billboards selling Rolex watches, Lamborghini’s and whatever you can think of that costs 50k or more. Huge 5 lane highways with the cleanest streets I’ve ever seen. Capitalism on Steroids.  When I arrived at the hotel I was greeted with a platter of almonds wrapped in Dates & fresh fruit juice. The workers were all so nice and spoke fluent English. I checked in and made my way to Jeff’s suite where he immediately asked which song I wanted to do. I’m like dam “I thought perhaps I’d watch you guys the first night to see your routine then rehearse tomorrow before the show”? Ya know, seeing as how I haven’t done this in a while and was still learning my own raps. Dayne laughed and said nah just jump in the ring Fest you got it.

The Fire Walk

We were all escorted downstairs to a huge party on the beach with a dope ass stage, complete with Huge Fire Pyrotechnics the prettiest women from all over the world ready to dance, guys in Halloween Costumes, minimum security a turntable & 2 mics. All I could think was “let me deploy these new found acting skills of mine to work my way through this”. The music began. Dayne Hyped the crowd, Jeff transformed into The Magnificent DJ Jazzy Jeff! I had a million thoughts racing, had I forgotten how to say “Just throw your hands in THE AIRRR, SAY hooo!!!” And mean it? Or how to control a crowd that could give 2 fucks about my Fellowship & intellectual prowess because they came to dance. I had to re-learn how to bridge that gap… yet when my mouth opened and the beat started thumping it all came back to me like lost lovers reunited. The crowd kept groovin’ Dayne and I began to find our chemistry and The World Tour officially started with a BANG!

 

THANKS JEFF FOR RE-INTRODUCING ME TO THE WORLD.