Nightclub celebrates anniversary, books legendary DJ

Dj Jazzy Jeff. Photo by Leon Laing.

Over the years, Level 2 has booked notable DJs including DJ A-Trak, Kanye West’s former DJ. To celebrate its 10-year anniversary, the upscale nightclub in downtown Harrisburg hired the legendary DJ Jazzy Jeff to spin. Level 2 held this milestone on May 31.

Thirty years ago, Jeff and The Fresh Prince helped to put Philly on the proverbial map with the classic He’s the DJ, I’m the Rapper album. These boys next door went on to star in the hilarious The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, one of my favorite sitcoms.

After I interviewed Jeff, we watched Game 1 of the NBA Finals. The Golden State Warriors hosted the Cleveland Cavaliers. J.R. Smith’s notorious blunder forced the game into overtime. (The Cavs would lose to the GSW 114-124.) When regulation ended, Jeff ascended upstairs to his turntables while Biggie’s “I Got a Story to Tell” blasted from the speakers. The waterfall décor may have provided tranquility, but Jeff was feeding off the energy from the frenetic fans. The scene was movielike.

Jeff worked his turntable wizardry, playing 50 Cent’s “In Da Club,” Drake’s “Controlla,” and Baby and Clipse’s “What Happened to That Boy,” to name a few songs. What type of reception have you been getting for your new album, M3?
Jeff: Really well. In making it, I didn’t think about the reception. I just kind of dove straight into the music. …We’ve gotten a really, really good reception.

How did some of your collaborations come about?
I think before the album started, I wanted to do three generations of MCs. …It wasn’t hard. This was a very different process from a lot of the other records that I did.

At midnight, Kanye and Black Thought will be dropping albums. What album will you be listening first?
Ah, man. That’s without a question—I can’t wait for that Black Thought album. I’m a Black Thought fan.

What type of advice can you give to aspiring DJs, producers, artists, etc.?
Surround yourself with honest people. Don’t surround yourself with people who are going to tell you you’re doing good when you’re not.

How does it feel to DJ for Level 2’s 10-year anniversary celebration?
It’s an honor. I have a bunch of friends that have been out here and played. And everybody told me how great it was. To finally come out here and play, on the anniversary, this is great. I’m absolutely honored.

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