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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

A classic!

When I was a teenager, I considered LL a joke, more or less. But then, listening to a lot of urban music, I decided to revisit Radio and now I realize how classic it is! The production is very stripped down (often limited to a turntable and a drum loop) in comparison to today's bloated production while it's also miles ahead of all of mainstream urban now in terms of hooks. LL kicks off the beat with "I Can't Live without My Radio", a classic album that celebrates music while simultaneously demanding that the listener take note of the artist being pumped. "You Can't Dance", while tame by today's comparison, is trash talking at its best and it starts off with a killer drum loop. "Dear Yvette" caps the excellent three song sequence that starts the album. Even the throw-away tracks on this album are high quality - the a capella track is especially catchy! Other highlights are "Rock the Bells" and "You'll Rock". (One problem, as of right now, Apple has yet to fix the problem that the track "I Want You" is actually just a duplicate copy of "You'll Rock".) If consider yourself a fan of urban music, you are at a loss if you don't own this album.

What the *#&&(! thats not Rock the Bells!

Itunes really screwed this one up. I bought Rock the Bells and got I need a beat. Get it together Itunes.

when LL was completely dope

you kidding me? you can never, EVER front on this album. In it's entirety, it's a classic. even the corny "That's a Lie" (which goes a bit like some Run DMC songs, some which were incidentally were written by J.T. Smith as well!) is dope. choice cuts: "I Can't Live", "You'll Rock", "Rock The Bells"


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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