In 2015 DJ Jazzy Jeff hosted his very first “Playlist Retreat,” a monumental event that I dubbed “The Avengers” of production. For a week he and some of the best known names in DJ and production culture gathered for the sole purpose of exchanging ideas and creating great music.
“One of the things I wanted to stress was that I don’t care how established you are or how long you’ve been doing something. You’re never too established to learn,” Jeff said then. “There was some legends; Lord Finesse, DJ Spinna, DJ Cash Money, DJ Scratch… and some new guys…who do things a little bit different, and you put them in a room and hopefully the inspiration goes both ways. I was really happy because there was a lot of dialogue back and forth. People were really accepting of new ideas.”
In 2017 the Playlist Retreat is in its third year and they’ve upped the ante, creating an album with singer Glenn Lewis called “Chasing Goosebumps” which was recorded in seven days. It features contributions from Rich Medina, Vidal Davis, Eric Roberson, Sir Tall Black Guy, Maimouna Youssef and many, many more. On the track “Die Empty” you can hear Jeff evangelizing the need for more creative freedom in music.
“In the music industry everybody wants to be second. Because nobody has the balls to create what’s going to be first. Everybody wants to be second…Ain’t nobody trying to be innovative. That’s why there’s a kid in a garage who sneaks out with something that becomes the big thing and everybody runs to do the same and be second. You will never put out all of the music that you make in your lifetime. So this is what you need to do: Sell some, give the rest away. Die empty. Don’t die with shit creatively inside. Die empty. I want to absolutely blow everybody’s mind at what was created in a week.”
Stream “Chasing Goosebumps” below: