Summertime – D.J. Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince | Top 40 Chart Performance, Story and Song Meaning

Chart Performance: Pop (#4) & R&B (#1); 1991

Story Behind The Song By Ed Osborne

Time – and pop culture pundits – has a way of rewriting history; elevating unknowns to prominence and consigning stars to obscurity. A case in point is D.J. Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince, a duo from Philadelphia who, made radio and listener-friendly rap singles, and paved the way for mass acceptance of the genre only to be critically dismissed. Jeff “Jazzy Jeff” Townes initially rose to fame as a master of the turntable, creating the chirp scratch and developing the transformer scratch. Will “Fresh Prince” Smith was a good-humored, non-threatening entertainer. The two first tasted success with Parents Just Don’t Understand (which took home the first rap Grammy) and A Nightmare On My Street. Their career stumbled a bit as the next singles and album failed to connect, then Jeff and Will unleashed their biggest single ever: Summertime. In the tradition of songs such as War’s Summer, Summertime sailed to platinum sales on a sample from Kool & the Gang’s Summer Madness.

This content and all Song Meaning articles were created and written by Top 40 Contributing Editor Ed Osborne. © 2024 Ed Osborne. All Rights Reserved. In addition to these song meaning articles, Ed has written our “Year in Music 1960s-1990s” articles.

Produced by:

  • K. Fingers (Craig Simpkins)
  • Hula (Lamar Hula Mahone)
  • Roland Edison

Lyrics Written by:

  • Will Smith
  • Jeffrey A. Townes
  • Robert Bell
  • Ronald Bell
  • George “Funky” Brown
  • Robert “Spike” Mickens
  • Lamar Hula Mahone
  • Craig Simpkins
  • Charles Smith
  • Alton Taylor
  • Dennis “D.T.” Thomas
  • Richard Westfield


  • “Summertime” won a Grammy Award for Best Rap Performance by a Duo or Group at the 1992 Grammy Awards