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The Thursday Throwback Track - Episode 186: LL Cool J & "The Power of Repetition (Everlasti

Welcome to WEEK 186 of 4T! (Video Episode #12) LL Cool J – “I Want You” / “Dangerous” (1985)

It’s the songs you DON’T hear all the time…

“I Need A Beat” – “I Can’t Live Without My Radio” – “Rock the Bells” – “Going Back to Cali” – “Big Ole Butt” – “Jingling Baby” – “Around the Way Girl” – “Mama Said Knock You Out”. Anyone who knows classic hip-hop – second & third wave in this case – knows LL Cool J. And if you know LL, you probably know at least one of the songs I just listed. (Lemme tell ya, his greatest hits CD is ON POINT.) Well, I happen to have a 12” of an album cut from his first LP, Radio, which is this here selection. Only true LL fans would know these two songs. And to be honest I had to relisten to both cuts to remember what they were. But as soon as I did, it all came flooding back.

When you hear a song that you & everyone else has heard a thousand times, the connection to its original ear erodes little by little. I can hear or perform “I Melt With You”, and at this point I no longer FEEL 1983. Still love the song, but it’s been totally unmoored from its 80s anchor point. BUT the songs you DON’T hear all the time … those still retain the intense connection to their original time. You feel them as strongly as you did then. These two LL songs do that for me. The sparseness of their production – a la early Run-DMC & Beasties (who were also produced by Rick Rubin) – brings up images of the clothing and the dances. The lyrical content & delivery bring back that feeling of someone speaking directly to me in a way no one else had. I can only feel those things with songs I haven’t heard as frequently.

The great thing about great music is that, no matter how many times you listen to it, it’s always good. And quite often the more you listen to it, the better it gets. It’s how I absorb music. It’s how I create music. You may have heard one of my songs once. You may have liked it. I can tell you this: Listen again. And again. And even again. You won’t just like it. You’ll understand it. You might even love it. Here’s a song clearly inspired by LL and that era, with a lyrical theme that says the same damn thing:

What classic hip-hop were you into? What songs of ANY genre do you consider special to you because you DON’T hear them all the time? Discuss dammit!

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