Beyond the massive success of the Nightmare On Elm Street film franchise, the pop culture phenomenon of Freddy Krueger was also making chart-topping hits for bands like Dokken and rappers The Fat Boys. Back in 1988 everyone wanted a piece of Freddy mania, including Will Smith and his DJ, Jazzy Jeff. While there are tons of behind the scenes stories revolving around the time Elm Street licensing rights became available, DJ Jazzy Jeff's and the Fresh Prince's "A Nightmare on My Street" has always been shrouded in some mystery, until today.
We now have our first look ever at the now infamous canceled music video for the Fresh Prince's "A Nightmare on My Street," thanks to director/production designer, Greg W. Harrison. The song had DJ Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince battling iconic slasher Freddy Krueger. Though the rap track appeared on their huge hit album 'He's the DJ, I'm the Rapper', when it came time to release the video, New Line Cinema shut it down quick. Released as the third single from the blockbuster album, "A Nightmare on My Street" became a hit, charting at #15 on the Hot 100. But those glued to MTV back in 1988 were never treated to this glorious short, which would have had Will Smith and Jeffrey Allen Townes heading into their own nightmarish dreamscape. It hasn't been until this very second that we've ever gotten a look at what the duo had planned.
Freddy Krueger doesn't appear in these leaked images from the set of the A Nightmare on My Street music video, but its unknown if he was ever supposed to. Instead, we get a nightmarish version of Will Smith, dressed like a punk rock Frankenstein in a leather jacket and bleached fade...and, is that a Misfits skull on his jacket? This monster almost looks like something his son Jaden would conjure up here in 2018. The evil creature wears high top sneakers and has a bass speaker coming out if its left ear. He also has an LED boombox equalizer sticking out of his right eye socket. The creature is more cartoonish than it is terrifying.
Along with getting to see the main monster from the canceled "A Nightmare on My Street" music video, we also get a few shots of Will Smith and DJ Jazzy Jeff in their beds, waking up in a nightmarish world where they'll have to battle this Hip-Hop Frankenstein. A storyboard is included from the shoot, which shows a melting clock, the monster burning the feet of a Will Smith Voodoo doll, a wall thermometer exploding due to excessive heat, and the Fresh Prince waking up in a cold sweat. These are all things alluded to or outright addressed in the lyrics of the song.
The track itself sounds like a mashup of the Fresh Prince theme song and the Elm Street score. Will Smith directly references Freddy Krueger and his knifed glove. There is no mistaking who this song is about. The rap was produced four years after Wes Craven's original A Nightmare on Elm Street became a horror phenomenon. The single was considered for A Nightmare on Elm Street 4: The Dream Master, but producers of the film declined to include it on the soundtrack, and instead went back to it's butt rockin metal roots with songs like Vinnie Vincent Invasion's "Love Kills," which got a proper video release, complete with Vinnie Vincent wearing Freddy's glove and doing a pick slide during the solo.
New Line Cinema also turned around and sued DJ Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince's record label for copyright infringement. This forced Jive Records to trash the completed music video. The case was settled out of court. But all subsequent vinyl pressings of "He's the DJ, I'm the Rapper" had to contain a disclaimer sticker that says, "Nightmare on My Street is not part of the soundtrack...and is not authorized, licensed, or affiliated with the Nightmare on Elm Street films." The song sounds authentically spooky because it contains a sample of Charles Bernstein's original musical motif from A Nightmare on Elm Street.
"A Nightmare on My Street" still exists today as a single and is readily available. But the actual music video has never seen the light of day. Perhaps one day it will be exhumed from the vaults. But we're lucky just to get a sneak peak with these ominous photos featuring The Fresh Prince and DJ Jazzy Jeff. It's a fun halloween treat that teases what could have been. And if this had of been released, we're sure it would have gotten ample screen time on MTV, back in 1988, when they were devoted to showing such things. There have been quite a few songs devoted to Freddy Krueger over the years, but none are more infamous than what DJ Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince cooked up.