Rolling StoneRanked #69
in Rolling Stone's "100 Best Albums Of The Eighties" survey.
Q - 9/95, p.1344 Stars
- Excellent - "...This is elemental rap... [with] a now obvious debt to rock dynamics..."
Melody Maker - 7/22/95, p.35
"...As a classic of Def Jam's Rubinned-up metallic phase...'Rock The Bells' is up there with 'Walk This Way', 'She Watch Channel Zero' and 'Rhymin & Stealin'..."
Personnel includes: LL Cool J (rap vocals).
Recorded at Chung King House Of Metal, New York, New York. Includes liner notes by Nelson George.
Released in 1985, RADIO marks the debut of hip-hop icon LL Cool J. Only in his late teens at the time, the strikingly handsome LL (born James Todd Smith) unleashed 11 supremely confident rhymes with a powerful, fearsome delivery that marked him as a rap icon from day one. LL kicks off the album by sending out an ode, not to a lady, but to his boombox ("I Can't Live Without My Radio"), and never lets up from there, allowing his tough (yet never overly aggressive) lyrics to flow at a steady clip.
RADIO is also significant as one of the first records produced by rap/rock Renaissance man Rick Rubin, who contributes the kind of minimal metal-guitar licks and spare, hard-hitting beats that defined mid-80s hip-hop, most notably on the propulsive tunes "Rock the Bells" and "I Need a Beat." Along with Run-DMC's RAISING HELL and the Beastie Boys' LICENSED TO ILL, RADIO forms a trilogy of New York City-based, Rubin-helmed albums that helped to take rap to a whole new level. For fans of old-school hip-hop, this disc is absolutely essential. The CD-reissue edition of the album contains liner notes by music scholar Nelson George.