LL Cool J
Radio


3.5
great

Review

by somberlain USER (64 Reviews)
February 14th, 2010 | 21 replies | 7,881 views


Release Date: 1985 | Tracklist

Review Summary: An ancient fossil of hip-hop music.

2 of 2 thought this review was well written

The year was 1984, when two ambitious young men: Russell Simmons and Rick Rubin, created their own music label and after releasing a handful of singles(one of them being LL’s “I Need a Beat”) they landed a distribution deal with Columbia Records and so began the most important record label of the hip-hop genre. The took a huge chance by signing a 16 year-old young man by the name of James Todd Smith. Little did they know that this signing would lay the foundation for hip-hop as we know it.

LL Cool J, an acronym for Ladies Love Cool James, started his career at a time when Run DMC was virtually the only hip-hop act going and actually penned their song “Can You Rock It Like This” when he was still 16 years old. His debut for Def Jam was released when he was 17 and although it was filled win fun, lighthearted rhymes, his lyricism was still a notch above Run DMC.

LL’s charisma is immediately evident from the beginning of the album and his pseudo battle-rhymes on “You Can’t Dance” are ridiculous yet oddly amusing and on and “That’s a Lie,” Russell Simmons boasts about crazy riches only to have LL respond with: “See, you're the largest liar that was ever created, you and Pinocchio are brotherly related.” The ballads “I Can Give You More” and “I Want You” give you a glimpse of where LL was heading, throughout his career he has done many similar songs and had great success with this style. Maybe the most well-known track off this album is the outstanding “Rock the Bells” with the oft-sampled opening line “LL Cool J is hard as hell!” Only a Jazzy Jay remix of LL’s first single “I Need a Beat” is on this album but it’s outstanding nevertheless. LL’s confident delivery make his rhymes sound better than they are and his personality gives life to the playful boasts.

On the back cover the words “REDUCED” by Rick Rubin should give the listener an idea of what to expect production-wise, made with little more than a drum machine and some turntables, this is the epitome of minimalist production. If you’ve ever heard the expressions “bare bones,” “stripped down” or “skeletal” when taking about production, “Radio” fits those description perfectly, with only DJ Cut Creator’s scratches to break up the sound of the drums and a few short, indistinguishable samples, this truly is hip-hop production at it’s most basic level. There is a certain beauty to the production’s simplicity but it is incredibly simple, so much so that it was dated within a couple of years.

As it turns out, the people involved with this album would go on to many bigger and better things. LL Cool J would go on to be one of the best, most successful MCs and have the longest career in the history of the genre. Russell Simmons would become one of the most successful music moguls as his Def Jam label would explode in the next few years. Rick Rubin would go on to produce the Beastie Boys’ debut before creating Def American Records and producing a number of metal and rock albums. At the end of the liner notes it reads: “Management: Sean “Puffy” Combs Bad Boy Management” I wonder what ever happened to that guy.

Recommended tracks:
Rock the Bells
I Need a Beat
I Can’t Live Without My Radio



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user ratings (67)
Chart.
4
excellent

Comments:Add a Comment 
somberlain
February 14th 2010



2121 Comments


Continuing with the old school theme

Phantom
February 14th 2010



8930 Comments


ladies love cool james


sadly, i am not a lady

Deviant.
Staff Reviewer
February 14th 2010



31053 Comments


I was expecting you to 2.5 this, and rip the production to shreds. I'm glad you didn't haha, pos'd my man

Digging: Marcel Dettmann - Fabric 77

somberlain
February 14th 2010



2121 Comments


haha! I said I wasn't going to rip it to shreds but I was debating between giving it a 3 or 3.5

Deviant.
Staff Reviewer
February 14th 2010



31053 Comments


Well you did a good job, you described it well and I can see why you don't think it's as good as I do. Now for the counter review!!

somberlain
February 14th 2010



2121 Comments


be my guest bro!
I'll do "Mama Said Knock you Out" at some point, my fav LL album

Deviant.
Staff Reviewer
February 14th 2010



31053 Comments


Nah i'm kidding, your review is more than adequate. Kinda surprised no one's reviewed this before

Bulldog
February 14th 2010



3796 Comments


Nice review, broseph. I remember when I used to love LL Cool J. "Headsprung" used to be my shit, and I adored him for his role on the movie "S.W.A.T."

JulesWin
February 14th 2010



993 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I agree with what you say about the prodution and actually prefer "Bigger and Deffer" to this, it has not aged well

somberlain
February 14th 2010



2121 Comments


I was surprised it hadn't been done too but lots of old-school shit hasn't been reviewed. looks like I'm gonna be pretty busy!

Deviant.
Staff Reviewer
February 14th 2010



31053 Comments


And i've added plenty to this site for you to do so lol

Bulldog
February 14th 2010



3796 Comments


eh, im not a big fan of real old school hip hop. other than Paid In Full. P.I.F. is the SHIT.

somberlain
February 14th 2010



2121 Comments


yeah I noticed, giving me more work there eh? but there's lots of great stuff I want to review so at least you saved me some time by adding them

Paid in Full might be one of my top 3 all-time

RobotFrank
February 14th 2010



344 Comments


Another nice old school writeup, well done somb. I was actually planning on clearing out a lot of the old stuff, so we might have to talk about what's on the agenda.. Keep it up.

somberlain
February 14th 2010



2121 Comments


plenty more where that came from robot, I got a long list of old school shit to be reviewed

BallsToTheWall
February 14th 2010



44164 Comments


This guy has looked exactly the same for the past 15 years. It's fuckin ridonkulous.

JulesWin
February 14th 2010



993 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

try 20+ years balls, this album was in '85!

somberlain
February 15th 2010



2121 Comments


yeah Balls pretty amazing but staying in shape is probably what's kept him relevant the last few years. As vain as he is I gotta believe has had some "enhancements"

random
June 15th 2012



2261 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

"Rock The Bells" and "I Can't Live Without My Radio" are classics.

Havey
August 15th 2013



9643 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

"I Can Give You More" is such a legendary track



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