Released June 2, 1987
Def Jam Records
A little under 2 years after his debut album RADIO, a now 19-year old LL Cool J released his 2nd album, Bigger And Deffer (BAD, get it?). By this time producer Rick Rubin had left Def Jam to go off and form his own new company, so LL Cool J enlisted a team called The L.A. Posse, consisting of Darryl Pierce, Dwayne Simon, and DJ Bobby “Bobcat” Erving to produce this album, which contained 11 full songs. Unlike the stripped-down sound of beats and scratches that Rubin provided, the L.A. Posse added a lot more instrumentation to the songs on this album. But one thing that remained the same was LL’s powerful lyrical ability. He seems to have grown both as a rapper and songwriter by then, and it shows.
The album opens with the first single, the powerful anthem I’M BAD.
I always loved that video, LL’s first, because of how much he “overacts” while performing in it. Look at his exaggerated motions during every verse. It’s funny.
LL continues his braggadocio persona in songs like GET DOWN (If you try to pull a ace you’ll get a punch in the face,all eyes are on my posse when we walk in the place). .357-BREAK IT ON DOWN (I’m dope on a rope, virgins wanna elope, I do the shuffle and the hustle and the rope-a-dope), & AHH, LET’S GET ILL (Looking, learning, the one you’re likin’/Listen and you will love what I’m writin’/Ladies love, long, hard and lean/And now you know what “L.L.” means).
GO CUT CREATOR GO has LL singing (well, rapping) the praises of his DJ, Cut Creator, while also telling his own life story (Three years ago in St. Albans, Queens/I was rockin at a park called one eighteen/Little kids stood and watched as I rocked the spot/Didn’t know that years later I’ll be standin on top) over a hard rock beat. He still shows his sexual side with songs like KANDAY, about a girl who satisfies his every sexual demand (She’s juicy like a berry, chocolate with the cherry/Ask me if it’s good and I’ll have to say very) and THE BRISTOL HOTEL about a place that guys go to get laid by cheap nasty hookers (You see, a Bristol girl is a one of a kind/And if you know her good enough she won’t make you stand on line/She’ll let you inside, make you pay for the ride/Take off her pants and then it smells like somebody died)
There are three songs on this album, MY RHYME AIN’T DONE (a funny song about him meeting a bunch of fictional and historical figures, from Mickey Mouse to George Washington), THE BREAKTHROUGH (another braggadocio song about how bad he is) and THE DO-WOP (about a long day he had and everything he experienced) that are interesting because there are no breaks or choruses, he just raps non-stop from beginning to end. And each song works really well.
And, or course, the stand-out of this album is the famous rap ballad I NEED LOVE, which took the hip-hop world by storm. When every rapper thought he had to be “hard”, LL showed that he could reveal his softer side without losing any of his credibility.
No sophomore slump here. LL came back with force. And while I’ll always love the stripped-down raw feeling of RADIO, the slicker production values and lyrical content of this album definitely stand out among LL’s catalog.