A generation’s worth of younger music listeners, specifically hip-hop, really only know LL Cool J from television on shows like "NCIS" and "Lip Sync Battle." There was a ti, e however, when LL Cool J, whose real name is James Smith, was one of the bigger names in commercial hip-hop starting in the late 1980s with successful albums like 1987’s Bigger and Deffer and 1990’s Mama Said Knock You Out.
Fast forward a few decades and a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame later, and Cool J is still a relevant name in the worlds of both family entertainment (he hosted the Grammys for five consecutive years starting in 2012) and rap music. The 50 year old recently became the first ever rap artist to be honored at Kennedy Center late last year, and now he’s celebrating the launch of his own SiriusXM channel, which will bring classic hip-hop back to the airwaves on "Rock The Bells Radio."
Announced on Tuesday morning, the new rap-focused Rock The Bells Radio will air on SiriusXM’s channel 43 starting this Wednesday evening. Cool J and DJ Z-Trip will plan on hosting an invite-only party at a roller skating location of sorts in the Los Angeles area to launch the new channel with a live broadcast from the unknown location. As the report points out, the new channel is appropriately named after Cool J’s 1985 single by the same name. The logo for Rock The Bells Radio was also designed by Shepard Fairey, who many Americans will remember thanks to his design of Barack Obama's "Hope" posters which became relevant during his 2008 Presidential campaign.
According to the veteran rapper, the main goal of Rock The Bells Radio is to bring the melodic poetry and influence of forgotten “old-school rap artists” back to the attention of consumers, while also introducing a new generation of hip-hop fans to pioneers of a genre which continues to replace rock and roll as the hottest selling music category today.
"I felt like classic hip-hop needed some leadership," Cool J told Billboard about his new venture. "It needed somebody to step up and say, ‘Hey, this music is dope, people love it and want to hear it.' But it has to be presented in a dope way and treated with the respect that it deserves … There are so many artists who are the foundation of this culture, but it seems like they have been marginalized and pushed to the side if they're no longer on the pop charts. I felt like hip-hop has a story and a lot of founding fathers and mothers that the world should know.”
In addition to making headlines in the satellite radio world, LL Cool J will also return to the stage this fall as part of the upcoming New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival in the big easy starting late next month.
Entertainment icon @llcoolj launches his classic hip-hop channel, LL COOL J’s Rock the Bells Radio, on SiriusXM this Wednesday 🎧 💥🎶🎤 #StrictlyForOGs ➡ https://t.co/hR3B1yhfCW pic.twitter.com/OgNGZuCkoj— SiriusXM (@SIRIUSXM) March 27, 2018