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Radio (First Edition)

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1985 marked a pivotal moment in Hip-Hop’s history. The year saw the release of a brace of essential 12-inches and full lengths by artists like Run DMC, T La Rock, Schooly D, and Steady B, flexing a roaring, 808 based brand of street minimalism that swept away rap’s disco smitten old guard with the boom of a programmed kick drum. Foremost amongst these ferocious young turks was the seventeen-year-old James Todd Smith, known to the world as LL Cool J. His debut release Radio saw the hungry young MC calling out the bloated excesses of the old school on “That’s a Lie” and introducing a new brand of mean mugging party rocking on the instant classic “Rock The Bells”. Though LL’s witty punch lines and uncompromisingly hardcore disposition set him apart from his contemporaries, it is Rick Rubin’s skeletal production that made Radio truly revolutionary. Rubin’s production combined the sonic economy of punk rock with the malevolent bellow of a tricked out ghetto blaster, providing the sonic blueprint for an entire generation of Hip-Hop producers.

Customer Reviews

Good Old school album bit....

Great album. Brings back great memories. Watch out one the download. Rock the Bells is I need a Beat. I need a Beat is That's a Lie. You'll Rock is I want you. BUT... there is no Rock the Bells. You'll need to get this from the Greates Hits. Itunes needs to fix this and refund some money or gimme a free download.


This album is fantastic. It's just one raw retro rap track after another. It's really original, too. You've probably heard loads of stuff that sounds like this, but you gotta realize that this is the original stuff. Really really good, definitely worth buying.


Born: January 14, 1968 in Bay Shore, NY

Genre: Hip-Hop/Rap

Years Active: '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

Hip-hop is notorious for short-lived careers, but LL Cool J is the inevitable exception that proves the rule. Releasing his first hit, "I Can't Live Without My Radio," in 1985 when he was just 17 years old, LL initially was a hard-hitting, streetwise b-boy with spare beats and ballistic rhymes. He quickly developed an alternate style, a romantic -- and occasionally sappy -- lover's rap epitomized by his mainstream breakthrough single, "I Need Love." LL's first two albums, Radio and Bigger and Deffer,...
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