Parents Just Don't Understand

"Parents Just Don't Understand" is the second single from DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince's second studio album, He's the DJ, I'm the Rapper. The song won a Grammy Award for Best Rap Performance at the 1989 Grammy Awards, one of the two songs to do so before the award was discontinued in 1991. It peaked at #12 on the Billboard Hot 100.[1] The song was released as a single in spring 1988. The song was referenced several times in the television show The Fresh Prince Of Bel-Air. The song was ranked #96 on VH1's 100 Greatest Songs of Hip Hop, and the music video was featured in the 2003 film Malibu's Most Wanted.

"Parents Just Don't Understand"
Parents Just Dont Understand.jpg
Single by DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince
from the album He's the DJ, I'm the Rapper
ReleasedFebruary 17, 1988
Format12" Vinyl
GenreGolden age hip hop, comedy hip hop
  • 4:13 (Radio Edit)
  • 5:35 (Album Version)
Songwriter(s)Harris, Smith, Townes
Producer(s)Harris, Smith, Townes, New
DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince singles chronology
"Brand New Funk"
"Parents Just Don't Understand"
"A Nightmare on My Street"
Audio sample


The song's two major verses involve The Fresh Prince's problems with his own parents. The first verse is a recollection of when he went school-shopping with his whole family, including his brother and their younger sister, at the Gallery Mall. The Prince's mother bought him a whole wardrobe that was way against his style, getting "Zips" shoes instead of Adidas...along with bell-bottoms, reversible slacks, a plaid shirt with a butterfly collar, and the like. He suffered the inevitable on his first day at school.

The second verse was of him taking the family Porsche out for a spin - despite having no driver's license - while his parents were on vacation. He picks up a beautiful girl and goes to McDonald's. The Prince floors it, but gets pulled over for speeding...and discovers the beauty he picked up is a tween runaway. He gets arrested, and the Porsche is impounded. His parents cut short their vacation to bail him out, and issue severe physical discipline on the drive home.

Cover versionsEdit

In late 2001, a cover of the song was recorded by Lil' Romeo, 3LW, and Nick Cannon, which appears on the Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius soundtrack. A video was made with cameo appearances from Vanessa L. Williams and Whoopi Goldberg.

The song was also used by young Tupac Shakur in a music video he made with Smith's future wife Jada Pinkett. Shakur and Pinkett had been attending the Baltimore School for the Arts. The song was covered by Amy Poehler in the second season premiere of Parks and Recreation. In 2007 T-Squad covered the song on their only album "T-Squad".

Track listingEdit

7" Vinyl
  1. "Parents Just Don't Understand" – 4:13
  2. "Parents Just Don't Understand" (Instrumental) – 4:06
12" Vinyl
  1. "Parents Just Don't Understand" (Danny D Mix) – 6:20
  2. "Parents Just Don't Understand" (Original 7" Version) – 5:13
  3. "Live At Union Square, November 1986" – 4:03
American 12" Vinyl
  1. "Parents Just Don't Understand" (Extended Mix) – 5:27
  2. "Parents Just Don't Understand" (Single Edit) – 4:13
  3. "Parents Just Don't Understand" (Instrumental) – 4:06
  4. "Live At Union Square, November 1986" – 4:03


Chart (1988) Peak
Australia (ARIA)[2] 49
Canada Top Singles (RPM) 28
New Zealand (Recorded Music NZ)[3] 13
UK Singles (The Official Charts Company) 87
U.S. Billboard Hot 100 12
U.S. Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs 10


Region Certification Certified units/sales
United States (RIAA)[4] Gold 500,000^

*sales figures based on certification alone
^shipments figures based on certification alone


  1. ^
  2. ^ " – DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince – Parents Just Don't Understand". ARIA Top 50 Singles.
  3. ^ " – DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince – Parents Just Don't Understand". Top 40 Singles.
  4. ^ "American single certifications – DJ Jazzy Jeff & Fresh Prince – Parents Just Don't Understand". Recording Industry Association of America. If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Single, then click SEARCH. 

External linksEdit