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#ThrowbackThurdsday: “Nightmare On My Street” By DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince

Image via Jive Records
  – Image via Jive Records

By Matt Clizbe With Craig Clizbe 

In case you weren’t looking at your calendar, and didn’t have costumed strangers approaching your door, last night was Halloween.  Therefore, folks like us from the music business were busy checking out the haunted music hitting the scene, and the resulting blog burst that set the tone for the holiday headlines.  Heads turned throughout Hollywood this year when YouTube helped a long lost hit rise from the grave to celebrate horror icon, Freddy Krueger. Krueger was at his height in popularity upon the release of the 4th installment of his franchise, Nightmare On Elm Street: Dream Master.  To celebrate, New Line Cinema paired him up with a cutting edge soundtrack, and one of the most unique lawsuits in entertainment. 

80s rap pioneers The Fat Boys teamed up with Krueger actor Robert Englund for “Are You Ready For Freddy,” which ran over top of the film’s back end credits.  Both the film and the franchise hit a box office high, but this week’s #ThrowbackThursday outperformed The Fat Boys, and momentarily hindered the rise of one of Hollywood’s most formidable duos, DJ Jazzy Jeff and The Fresh Prince. According to legend, and Andy Greene of Rolling Stone, JJ/FP’s similarly themed “Nightmare On My Street” provoked a cease and desist from Elm Street’s studio, New Line Cinema for copyright infringement. The studio was claiming specifically that the song’s music video would infringe upon the market value of the film and the aforementioned  Fat Boys/Englund collab.

“New Line presented evidence that it would suffer irreparable harm by the effect the A Nightmare on My Street video is likely to have on the sales of the Fat Boys song,” 

 

Apparently, this is because future Hollywood superstar, Will Smith came in second when being considered for headlining  a blockbuster soundtrack. that the now Halloween classic was originally intended for, as the song’s spot was taken by The Fat Boys and “Are You Ready For Freddy.”

Having said that, it makes perfect sense why both songs were both so directly connected to only the characters of The Nightmare on Elm Street franchise, complete with a Freddy Krueger look-a-like. in the JJ/FP video. It also explains why the single was released the same month as the Dream Master film in August of 1988. However apparently the man who would later revive his Rap career with a movie theme in 1997’s “Men In Black” was not yet cool enough to lead the famous horror movie soundtrack. DJ Jazzy Jeff And The artist formerly known as The Fresh Prince were able to become the first Rap act to win a Grammy, however their family-friendly sound would lead to them being replaced by The Fat Boys on the official Dream Master soundtrack.Plus even though Will And Jeff’s song was first considered  The Fat Boys were probably ultimately chosen over them after the Boys opted to share profits for “Are You Ready For Freddy” with New Line Cinema. As a result Jeff And Will’s efforts for the film were left in limbo, leaving their label, Jive Records with the option to only initially release the song as a vinyl and cassette single.

This was the summer of Freddy Krueger and all things Elms Street.  Although it was no longer officially connected to the film, the  song caught a huge buzz.  Naturally Jive and its then distributor, RCA/BMG took advantage of this by eagerly servicing the fun Elms Street themed music video for the song. This was  done in hopes to get fans anticipating JJ/FP’s second album. The rare video did get some brief play on MTV and became a treasured memory for die hard DJ Jazzy Jeff And Fresh Prince fans. However, for a generation that grew up watching Will Smith on NBC’s The Fresh Prince Of Bel Air, and in several blockbusters of the 90s like Bad Boys, Independence Day, and Men In Black, “Nightmare On My Street” was nothing more than a fun parody of the Nightmare On Elm Street franchise. Details of the song’s once official connection to the franchise would fade and stories of the song’s once official music video would become the stuff of legends in a pre-YouTube era. For decades it was believed by many that what was once an official release on TV, had faded into obscurity and got lost in time.

The Fat Boys

“Are You Ready For Freddy”

Rhino Entertainment


This was because of the fact that even though the “Nightmare On My Street” clip aired on MTV briefly in August of 1988 upon initial release, the previously mentioned lawsuit from New Line Cinema against Jeff And Will stipulated that all copies of the original  music video were to be destroyed. They tried to make a counter claim of fair use under parody, but it was thrown out..  
For three decades, the video was assumed lost. Jazzy Jeff told Uproxx earlier this year that his then-girlfriend had mistakenly taped over his copy, and that Will Smith’s father had reportedly lost his.

Jeff said, “If there’s anyone out there that regularly taped MTV in 1988, go through your archives and see if you have the actual ‘Nightmare on My Street’ video.”

Well, it appears that someone heard Jeff’s Plea.  Just in time for Halloween, an unknown uploader added the classic to YouTube on October 22nd. It’s grainy, and apparently taped over an old episode of Growing Pains, but the upload serves as a testament  of the song’s true staying power, as “Nightmare on My Street” has become a favorite of the Halloween holiday.
Upon its release in August of 1988, the JJ/FP tune went on to number 15 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart and number 9 on The Billboard Hip Hop/R&B Chart. Although it was not included on the Dream Master soundtrack, and suffered from legal issues, a compromise was made when the song found a home on the duo’s career defining second album He’s The DJ, I’m The Rapper, along side  their other classic hits, “Brand New Funk”, “Parents Just Don’t Understand,” and more.  So, in honor of Halloween 2018, and the resurfacing of its long lost music video, check out “Nightmare On My Street” by DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince.  Enjoy!

 

DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince

“Nightmare On My Street”

From: He’s The DJ, I’m The Rapper

Jive/RCA Records