'Mike told me, 'You know, I get it all the time,' ' Jeff says of doubting MJ was actually on the phone.
DJ Jazzy Jeff had an interesting relationship with the late King of Pop. The Philadelphia turntablist's A Touch of Jazz production company worked with Michael Jackson
on "Butterflies," a slow-jam top-40 hit from his last solo effort, 2001's Invincible. The song was originally intended for British soul duo Floetry, but when MJ's camp got wind of the number, Jackson
decided he had to have the track for himself.
So he called Jeff.
"It was funny, because [the guy that connected the call] was like, 'Mike heard the song and he loves it,' " Jeff told MTV News. "And, you know, anytime you heard anything about Mike, you're kind of like, 'Whatever.' I was mad, 'cause I was the only one in the room. So I answer the phone, and he was like, 'Jeff, I got Mike on the phone.' And Mike was like, 'Hey, Jazzy, I just want to let you know I need this song, man.' And I was just standing there like, 'OK.' And I hung up the phone and went into the room with everyone. I told them I just got off the phone with Michael Jackson
and he wants the song. Everyone was just like [skeptically], 'Ohhhh-kay.' "
The DJ, who recently put out the Michael Jackson
mixtape He's the King, I'm the DJ, understood the sentiment completely. Years earlier, when he and Will Smith were active as DJ Jazzy Jeff & the Fresh Prince, he had a similar feeling of disbelief over an MJ call.
"I've had some bad experiences with Mike on the phone, 'cause I actually hung up on Mike in the studio once," Jeff explained. "I walked in, and Will was in the studio on the phone, and I didn't know who he was talking to. He was like, 'Hold on — say what's up to Jeff.' And when I grabbed the phone, he said it was Michael Jackson
Jeff hung up, to Smith's chagrin.
"Will just had a blank look, like, 'Dude, you hung up on Michael Jackson
,' " Jeff recalled, laughing. "I apologized [when he called back], and Mike told me, 'You know, I get it all the time. It's OK.' "
MJ didn't hold it against Jeff when the two eventually worked together. Jeff said his time in the studio with Jackson
was a unique experience. The superstar singer took three days to complete "Butterflies," Jeff recalled. He would only work for one hour a day after warming up his voice for one hour prior to the studio session.
The DJ said he had never seen anyone go to those lengths to achieve a peak performance, but after the first day, the shock of MJ being in the studio wore off. Jeff described the gloved star as "cool."
"By the second day, everything was normal and he was cracking jokes," Jeff said.