LL Cool J has come a long way from the days of wearing adidas tracksuits, Kangol bucket hats, gold chains, and reppin’ that old school sound. Although he doesn’t go as hard on the mic these days, he has become quite the businessman in the industry, and has established himself as a rapper with one of the longest-running careers in the game. Today, however, fans should reflect back on his beginning days much more heavily, as it’s the 30th anniversary of the release of his debut album, Radio.
The project was released via Def Jam Records, and was the very first major release from the label started by Russell Simmons and Rick Rubin. At the time, LL was one of the first artists signed to them at just 19 years old, and quickly became a ladies man, hence his stage name. The album had his earliest rhymes on it, with tracks like “I Need A Beat,” “I Need Love,” and the project’s signature, “I Can’t Live Without My Radio.”
Continue reading more on the importance of LL Cool J’s Radio album on the following page.
Radio was a staple album to conveying hip hop culture perfectly at the time, as he rhymed about the b-boy lifestyle, inner city culture, and being overall flashy. The project even featured some classic production from Rick Rubin, who worked very closely with a young LL. The album set the standard for the new school at the time, as artists were looking to transition out of the old school sound that had become a sensation in the late 70’s and early 80’s.
Although he has seen much growth in his career as a rapper in the years following, having switched his sound up many times, fans and much of the rap community have argued Radio to being LL’s best album. This was the first display of the MC’s more aggressive approach to his delivery on a track, which definitely paved the way for future MC’s. It created a whole new spectrum of hip hop sound, and definitely is a subliminal influence to the music stylistics of today. Happy anniversary, Radio.
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