Radio [Bonus Track]

Radio [Bonus Track]

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by LL Cool J
     
 

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Before the rap-turned-pop star was a fun lovin' ladies man, LL Cool J was a street -smart kid from Queens in search of a record deal. After shopping his demo at various labels, he signed with Def Jam and released Radio in 1985. An instant commercial success, Radio went platinum based on the strength of its first two singles, "I Can't Live Without My

Overview

Before the rap-turned-pop star was a fun lovin' ladies man, LL Cool J was a street -smart kid from Queens in search of a record deal. After shopping his demo at various labels, he signed with Def Jam and released Radio in 1985. An instant commercial success, Radio went platinum based on the strength of its first two singles, "I Can't Live Without My Radio" and "Rock the Bells." The immediate and widespread popularity of the album had as much to do with LL Cool J's boyish good looks and muscular physique, as it did with his sharp delivery and imaginative rhymes. Most importantly, Radio's success broadened the scope of pop music to include hip-hop.

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Steve Huey
Run-D.M.C. was the first rap act to produce cohesive, fully realized albums, and LL Cool J was the first to follow in their footsteps. LL was a mere 17 years old when he recorded his classic debut album Radio, a brash, exuberant celebration of booming beats and B-boy attitude that launched not only the longest career in hip-hop, but also Rick Rubin's seminal Def Jam label. Rubin's back-cover credit ("Reduced by Rick Rubin") is an entirely apt description of his bare-bones production style. Radio is just as stripped-down and boisterously aggressive as any Run-D.M.C. album, sometimes even more so; the instrumentation is basically just a cranked-up beatbox, punctuated by DJ scratching. There are occasional brief samples, but few do anything more than emphasize a downbeat. The result is rap at its most skeletal, with a hard-hitting, street-level aggression that perfectly matches LL's cocksure teenage energy. Even the two ballads barely sound like ballads, since they're driven by the same slamming beats. Though they might sound a little squared-off to modern ears, LL's deft lyrics set new standards for MCs at the time; his clever disses and outrageous but playful boasts still hold up poetically. Although even LL himself would go on to more intricate rhyming, it isn't really necessary on such a loud, thumping adrenaline rush of a record. Radio was both an expansion of rap's artistic possibilities and a commercial success (for its time), helping attract new multiracial audiences to the music. While it may take a few listens for modern ears to adjust to the minimalist production, the fact that it hews so closely to rap's basic musical foundation means that it still possesses a surprisingly fresh energy, and isn't nearly as dated as many efforts that followed it (including, ironically, some of LL's own).

Product Details

Release Date:
03/28/1995
Label:
Def Jam
UPC:
0731452735225
catalogNumber:
527352
Rank:
25768

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