EXCLUSIVE: How J. PERIOD Upped DJ Jazzy Jeff’s “Cool Factor” With Multi-Media Masterpiece

From Lauryn Hill and J Dilla to The Roots and Nas, the Brooklyn-based maestro has shown his appreciation for the culture tenfold.

J. PERIOD is an undisputed mixtape king, crafting masterpieces with the catalogs of some of Hip Hop’s most celebrated artists. From Lauryn Hill and J Dilla to The Roots and Nas, the Brooklyn-based maestro has shown his appreciation for the culture tenfold. But DJ Jazzy Jeff thought it was time he branched out and cooked up his first official solo album—so he did. In April 2021, J. PERIOD delivered Story To Tell (Chapter One) featuring narrator Dave Chappelle, Black Thought, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Joell Ortiz, Bobbito Garcia, Crazy Legs and Masego.

Now, he’s back with a limited edition comic book collaboration boasting the illustrations of Dan Lish. Inspired by “Globetrottin” from Story To Tell (Chapter One), J.PERIOD Presents The Legend of Globetrottin, the limited edition comic book and 7” record set features a custom collectible book with full color illustrations, hand-painted centerfold poster and an exclusive 7” vinyl record with radio and instrumental edits. The accompanying featurette includes both Lish’s artwork and Muppet-like puppets made in the likeness of DJ Jazzy Jeff and others.

Speaking to AllHipHop, J. PERIOD explained the concept behind the multi-media experience.

“For me, the exciting part of this project has been creating my own version of a thing I loved so much as a kid—the comic book and 7” record set—and really pushing the boundaries of music and storytelling into new territory,” he says. “’Globetrottin’ is based on a true story of a basketball game that took place at Jazzy Jeff’s Playlist Retreat, so even translating that story into song was an accomplishment (thanks to Masego and Shad); getting Jemele Hill to play courtside reporter, Bobbito Garcia to cameo as a playground baller, all these things helped enhance the story.

“But it was working with an amazing illustrator like Dan Lish that unlocked another level of possibilities. I’ve been blessed to have uber-creatives like Jazzy Jeff and Pharoahe Monch always encouraging me to push the envelope, and in this case, that meant nearly two years of work With Dan Lish, animator Olise Forel and puppet and production-designers THE BOOM BAP KIDS to realize the full potential of this idea: story, song, comic book, record, animation, live-action short, puppets.”

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DJ Jazzy Jeff was equally as thrilled to see the project evolve and recounted the moment he nudged J. PERIOD to push that creative envelope.

“J. PERIOD was so amazing at putting together mixtapes, so detailed, that I told him, ‘You need to do an album. Take that same motivation and put it into some original music,'” Jazzy Jeff says. “Now he’s done it and watching all of this stuff roll out is really, really great. Anything he needs, I’m always like, ‘Yeah, I got it.'”

But DJ Jazzy Jeff didn’t exactly picture himself becoming a puppet—but his kids loved it. He explains: “When he sent me the puppet thing, I laughed and was like, ‘Yo! This is so cool.’ I showed it to my kids and it gave me cool points with my kids. They were like, ‘Dad’s a puppet [laughs]!”

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J. PERIOD adds: “Having Jeff as our ‘shopkeeper’ was definitely a full circle moment, because this entire project is as much a fun story about a mystical basketball game as a full-fledged exercise in the power of imagination—and that’s definitely something Jeff has encouraged in me. It’s exciting to see it finally come to life.”

But more importantly, Jazzy Jeff believes the project harkens back to an era in Hip Hop when making money wasn’t the primary goal.

“Hip Hop is such a creative thing that when we’re not worried about the money aspect of it and we go back to the creative aspect of it, it is amazing what we can do,” he says. “It’s a very big tug of war because there are a lot of people who are in this to make a lot of money. I came into Hip Hop like I came into basketball—I had a lot of love for it. I didn’t love it for what it could make me. I had a love for the culture. When I realized the culture could afford me a living, that was a plus.

“I think when you start getting people that come into with, ‘How much can I get out it?’ It’s like, ‘Damn, man.’ What I wanted out of it? I wanted the art. I wanted the creative. Like, how can I take this record, chop this sample up and turn it into something people will remember forever? That was more important to me. So much now is about the money aspect and very little about the creative aspect that when you hear or see something creative like with what J. PERIOD did, it makes you smile. That’s why. That right there.”

J. PERIOD Presents Story To Tell (Chapter Two) will be available in February. Until then, watch the featurette above and find pre-orders to The Legend of Globetrottin’ comic book and 7″ record set here.