DJ Jazzy Jeff Reflects On Near-Fatal COVID Battle: ‘I Almost Didn’t Make It’
In an interview with AllHipHop, the legendary DJ said he got ill right when the world shut down in March 2020 after performing a set in “the nation’s first hot spot.”
“I was one of the first people to get sick, and I almost didn’t make it,” he said. “I got sick the day the world shut down. That was the day it hit me. I actually did a ski resort in Ketchum, Idaho, which was the nation’s first hot spot. I came home and realized the world wasn’t right.”
Jazzy Jeff continued by saying the doctor initially misidentified his illness, and that the side effects of his infection were detrimental.
“I was on CNN and everything,” he added. “That was at a time when no one knew. I didn’t know I had COVID. I went to the doctor and they said I had double pneumonia. They sent me home to sit perfectly still.
“That was so early, we didn’t know symptoms and things like that. I didn’t know pneumonia was a side effect of COVID. Like, I was really, really bad. It was bad to the point where Lynette started making phone calls.”
Things then took a bizarre turn when Jazzy Jeff and his wife Lynette received a phone call from a reporter at the New York Post, who said he was calling because the party Jeff had performed at had led to 15 fatalities as a result of the coronavirus.
“Lynette called back and was like, ‘Wait a minute, what?’” he recalled. “When she told me, that was the first time I was like, ‘Oh shit! This was COVID!?’ You have to understand how spooky it is. I have footage on my phone from that night.
“To realize that some of the people in this footage are not here is crazy. Long story short, because I was in the first wave of people to get sick, I knew how serious this was very, very early.”
The celebrated turntablist then spoke on the Instagram Live DJ sessions he hosted at the peak of the pandemic, and said those two years in lockdown were some of the “best years” of his life.
“I just realized that I actually have the biggest club in the world,” he said. “I can either go to Saudi Arabia and play for 10,000 people or I can stream tonight for 100,000 people. That turned into everybody wanting corporate streams. It turned into a whole business.”
He continued: “Those two years — and I don’t say this a lot — were the best two years of my life. I regained my relationship with my family and kids. You’re gone so much you start missing stuff. I got back into the best creative zone I’ve ever been in my life. It was just re-direction that I realized I wouldn’t have taken if it wasn’t for this.”
While DJ Jazzy Jeff’s tour schedule is back in full swing these days, the 57-year-old took some time last summer to speak on behalf of his friend Will Smith following the actor’s infamous slap on Chris Rock at the 94th Annual Academy Awards.
“When it happened and I saw him walk up there, the one thing I would say — ’cause I’ve had people say, ‘Oh, he wouldn’t have done that to no gangsta,’” Jeff said on the FAQ Podcast. “Let me tell you something about Will: Will is somebody that cliff dove in Jamaica and couldn’t swim.”
“Will was the person that whatever he’s afraid of, he runs to. I ain’t got that in me. I don’t have that in me at all. I’ve watched Will almost die numerous times running straight.”
He added: “Will would’ve slapped Mike Tyson. It did not matter who was there. Will would’ve got his ass beat, but he was going to do what he was going to do regardless of who it was. It wasn’t for fake. It wasn’t for show. I have to protect. If that was a grizzly bear, he would have did it. I know him.”