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list Feb 22 2024 Written by

Top 15 LL Cool J Songs

Top 15 LL Cool J Songs

LL Cool J: four decades strong and still a bonafide Hip Hop icon. Few can match his legendary status. With over a dozen albums and countless hits, LL consistently delivered for both hardcore fans and mainstream audiences.

This list dives into our top 15 LL Cool J tracks, focusing heavily on his earlier work. If your favorites are missing, sound off in the comments!

15. I Need Love (1987)

“I can’t sit and wait, for my princess to arrive / I gotta struggle and fight, to keep my dream alive / I’d search the whole world for that special girl / And when I finally find you, watch our love unfurl / I need love…”

Let’s face it, you (secretly) love this track too. Sure, LL’s later attempts at love songs and Hip Hop ballads weren’t always successful, but this early effort is a classic. We all know the words by heart!

14. The Ripper Strikes Back (1999)

“Ask Canibus / He ain’t understanding this / Cause ninety-nine percent of his fans don’t exist / I’m going underground and blowin’ your rep down / Next time save that shit for the lyricist lounge”

Sparked by a heated beef ignited over Canibus’ unapproved verse on LL’s “4, 3, 2, 1,” Canibus released a vicious diss track, “2nd Round Knock Out,” aimed at the rap legend. But LL Cool J refused to go down without a fight.

Enter “The Ripper Strikes Back,” a lyrical firestorm designed to dismantle Canibus and reclaim his dominance. With razor-sharp wordplay and undeniable confidence, LL leaves no room for doubt about his superior skills, silencing any questions about who reigns supreme in this lyrical clash.

13. Going Back To Cali (1988)

“Going back to Cali, stylin’, profilin’ / Growlin’ and smilin’ while in the sun / The top is down on the black Corvette / And it’s fly, cause it’s sittin’ on Dayton’s…”

Boom goes the bass! Originally released as a 1988 single for the “Less Than Zero” soundtrack, this banger later found a home on LL Cool J’s third album, Walking With a Panther. Co-written and produced by the legendary Rick Rubin, it’s a classic addition to LL’s extensive catalog.

12. The Breakthrough (1987)

“Not only on the stage, I rock in the park / And I’m a killer in the daytime, and worse after dark / So don’t never ever mess with the king of the sound / LL Cool J, the baddest around…”

LL Cool J’s “The Breakthrough”, featured on his sophomore album Bigger and Deffer, is pure, unfiltered Hip Hop. No hooks, no chorus – just four minutes of relentless rhyming over a pounding drumbeat.

11. You'll Rock (1985)

“The momentum of this party can only increase / The design of this rhyme is a masterpiece / You’ll wanna kick steps to this musical feast / And witness the force I’m about to release…”

“You’ll Rock” is another standout from LL’s stellar Radio debut album, perfectly capturing the B-boy spirit. LL unleashes a barrage of braggadocious rhymes, showcasing his skills with undeniable confidence.

10. The Boomin' System (1990)

“Big beats bumpin’ with the bass in back / All the sophisticated suckers catch a heart attack…” 

“The Boomin’ System” explodes out of the speakers as one of the greatest album openers ever. LL wastes no time, boasting about its booming bass and urging listeners to crank up their systems to experience the full force of this trunk-rattling banger. It’s a powerful introduction that sets the tone for LL’s fourth album’s energy and dominance.

9. Doin' It (1996)

“It’s the first time together and I’m feeling kinda horny / Conventional methods of making love kinda bore me / I wanna knock your block off, get my rocks off / Blow your socks off make sure your G spots soft…”

Like “I Need A Love,” “Doin’ It” is another of LL’s ‘guilty pleasures.’ With its thumping bass, infectious vibe, and massive mainstream appeal, this raunchy hit is impossible to hate. Props to LL for masterfully incorporating the “Go Brooklyn” chant, a sample lifted from Audio Two’s legendary “Top Billin’ single.

8. Go Cut Creator Go (1987)

“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 years later I’ll be standing on top” 

From LL’s sophomore album comes another banger: “Go Cut Creator Go.” This track is a neck-snapping tribute to LL’s DJ, Cut Creator, who is flexing his turntable skills throughout. It’s a dope cut that celebrates the synergy between rapper and DJ, a cornerstone of classic Hip Hop.

7. It's Get No Rougher (1989)

“Who could take the game of rap and rule it alone / Demonstrate many styles on the microphone / Build an empire like an African King / I had to show and prove Jack the Ripper could swing / I’m a rapper’s nightmare, I crush my opponents / There’s only one title: I own it…” 

Underrated gem “It Gets No Rougher” shines on LL Cool J’s underappreciated Walking With A Panther album. Packed with LL’s signature dope rhymes and produced by the legendary Bomb Squad, the track lives up to its title.

6. The Do-Wop (1987)

“LL has iced all the washed up slobs / Vigilante of rap, so to hell with the mob / Don’t run from the cops, makin’ suckers jock / And I’m only 18 makin’ more than your pops”

On “The Do-Wop” LL Cool J blends the sounds of do-wop with the energy of Hip Hop, weaving a story of past adventures. But are they real, or a figment of his imagination?

5. I'm Bad (1987)

“No rapper can rap quite like I can / I’ll take a musclebound man and put his face in the sand…” 

LL Cool J dials up the bravado to eleven in “I’m Bad,” one of his most recognizable and chart-topping hits. It’s a quintessential example of LL at his boasting best, guaranteed to get your head nodding and heart pumping.

4. I Can't Live Without My Radio (1985)

“My radio, believe me, I like it loud / I’m the man with a box that can rock the crowd / Walkin’ down the street, to the hardcore beat / While my JVC vibrates the concrete” 

LL Cool J turns up the volume on “I Can’t Live Without My Radio.” This iconic track throbs with the infectious energy of a B-boy’s devotion to their boombox, their music, and the vibrant B-boy culture it fuels. A timeless Hip Hop classic, it remains a vital part of any self-respecting Hip Hop playlist.

3. Jack The Ripper (1988)

“How ya like me know / I’m gettin bizzier / I’m double platinum / I’m watching you get dizzier”

Fueled by a fiery rap battle, LL Cool J unleashes “Jack The Ripper,” a Rick Rubin-produced diss track aimed squarely at Kool Moe Dee. This hard-hitting banger serves as a direct response to Kool Moe Dee’s previous dis on LL’s skills. With razor-sharp lyrics and undeniable flow, LL leaves no doubt as to who is the best in this particular beef.

2. Rock The Bells (1985)

“LL Cool J is hard as hell / battle anybody / I don’t care who you tell”

“Rock the Bells” is a cornerstone of LL Cool J’s legacy. This iconic track from his groundbreaking debut album, Radio, cemented his status in Hip Hop history. While the album version is a classic, true fans know about the original, a hidden gem stretching past seven minutes and overflowing with hard-hitting, bell-infused beats. Both versions showcase LL’s raw talent and solidify “Rock the Bells” as a landmark Hip Hop track.

1. Mama Said Knock You Out (1990)

“Don’t call it a comeback / I’ve been here for years / Rockin my peers / and puttin suckas in fear”

LL Cool J throws down a defiant gauntlet with the title track of his fourth album, Mama Said Knock You Out. At just 22 years old, but already considered a Hip Hop veteran, he felt compelled to silence critics who felt his previous album was a misstep. Produced by the legendary Marley Marl, this track showcases LL in top form, delivering ferocious rhymes over an iconic sample-laden beat.

Featuring elements from James Brown’s “Funky Drummer,” the Chicago Gangsters’ “Gangster Boogie,” Sly & The Family Stone’s “Trip to Your Heart,” Digital Underground’s “The Humpty Dance,” and even LL’s own “Rock the Bells,” the song is a masterclass in sampling and production.

Want to delve deeper into the creation of this Hip Hop anthem? Check out Marley Marl’s “Classic Recipes: Recreating LL Cool J ‘Mama Said Knock You Out’” for a behind-the-scenes look at its production.

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2 responses to “Top 15 LL Cool J Songs”

  1. K Douglas says:

    To get down to 15 is a lot tougher than I thought it would be. Gotta give LL credit for longevity. Extensive catalogue to choose from. Gotta leave a lot of the club bangers and the love ballad off the list.

    15. I Need A Beat (remix)
    14. Ill Bomb
    13. Pink Cookies In A Plastic Bag
    12. Big Ole Butt
    11. I’m That Type of Guy
    10. Going Back To Cali
    9. Jingling Baby (Remixed But Still Jingling)
    8. Eat Em Up L Chill
    7. I’m Bad
    6. It Gets No Rougher
    5. I Shot Ya (remix)
    4. I Can’t Live Without My Radio
    3. Boomin System
    2. Rock The Bells
    1. Mama Said Knock You Out

  2. K Douglas says:

    After some thought I’m going to replace
    13. Pink Cookies In a Plastic Bag with
    13. How I’m Comin’

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