Mr. Smith releases his debut album almost three decades ago on this date
On this date in 1985, James Todd Smith aka LL Cool J made history along with Def Jam Recordings as he dropped his debut LP, Radio, on that label, which also served as the powerhouse label’s premiere full length album.
Recorded entirely at Chung King Studios and produced by almost exclusively by Def Jam co-founder Rick Rubin, Radio was the first album from a solo artist to come out when the burgeoning Hip Hop culture was on the verge of going global. The Michael Schultz and Russell Simmons produced Krush Groove portrayed LL as a “please listen to my demo, but don’t take no for an answer” type of rapper who carried crates to get on and even spelled the “Cool” in his name with a “K” on the Disco Fever marquis. Ironically, this was the multi-faceted A-list entertainer’s very first movie role.
Even though the character in the movie got put on when a young Uncle L spit a couple of bars for Rick Rubin, Andre Harrell, and an agitated Jam Master Jay from “I Can’t Live Without My Radio”, the most prominent single from the album at the time, LL’s claim to fame came when Russell and Rubin got their hands on LL’s “I Need A Beat” demo, which the veteran rapper recorded when he was just 15 years old. The demo ended up making the Radio LP’s final cut as a remix from pioneer DJ Jazzy Jay. Other classic cuts from that album include the energetic “Rock The Bells”, the hoe dedication “Dear Yvette”, and a typical Ladies Love Cool James track called “I Can Give You More”. This album, along with other early Def Jam releases including Beastie Boys’ Licensed To Ill and Run DMC’s King Of Rock, solidified Rick Rubin as a certified producer.
Salute to LL, Rick Rubin, Uncle Russell, and the entire Def Jam staff from that era involved on the project!
-Sha Be Allah(@KingPenStatus)