by MITCHELL STEINFELD
Rick Rubin helped LL Cool J craft one of Hip Hop’s most memorable songs.
Nearly 30 years after the release of “Rock The Bells,” LL Cool J breaks down the track for Complex’ TV’s latest installment of the “Magnum Opus.”
“By the time Rick Rubin’s unforgettably rough and raw beat kicks in on the song, LL Cool J takes you on a furious lyrical tirade in a way the world had never really heard before,” Complex reports. “Although LL had already put out a handful of records prior to ‘Rock The Bells,’ this is the song that really proved the self-proclaimed GOAT rapper was a phenomenon. ‘Rock The Bells’ isn’t just one of LL’s best songs, it’s one of the best rap songs ever.”
The song is the third single from LL’s first album, Radio. The Rick Rubin-produced tracked became one of Def Jam’s early hits.
“The inner cities can be like quicksand unless you are blessed with an innate ability and instinctive sense of how to get out of there,” LL Cool J says in the video. “It becomes cyclical. Rap represented an opportunity to make more of my life. The day I fell in love with Hip Hop, I was actually in junior high school and there was this one kid walking ahead of me in the hall and he was kind of diddy-boppin and singin, ‘This deejay…’ and it just hit me, like ‘That’s what I want to do.'”
The 16-minute videos details the impact the song had on the streets, as well as the process behind the jam.
“Young people prior to that moment couldn’t have had that ambition” Def Jam publicist Bill Adler says in the video. “There was no rap on record. So he’s essentially born into Hip Hop…someone who’s known what he wants to do since he was at least 11 years old.”
A previous installment of Complex’s “Magnum Opus” detailed the collaborative process between 50Cent and Eminem in the song “Patiently Waiting.”
In December LL Cool J said that his upcoming project G.O.A.T. 2 will feature Eminem, T.I. and Fred The Godson.
After hosting the Grammy Awards, LL Cool J says that he has no timetable for the release of his upcoming album.
“I’m working on G.O.A.T. 2,” he says. “I’m taking my time with it. I’m having a lot of fun, and I have some really cool people on the record. It’s coming together slowly, so we’ll see. When it’s ready, I’ll put it out.”