Watch This Amazing Footage of LL Cool J Playing Maine in 1985

Slate's Culture Blog
Jan. 28 2013 2:22 PM

Watch This Amazing Footage of LL Cool J Playing Maine in 1985

A couple weeks ago, Kodiak Starr, whose father organized a performance by LL Cool J at Colby College in Waterville, Maine, in 1985, uploaded old VHS footage of the concert to YouTube. And it is a thing to behold: Cool James was just 17, and hip-hop had not exactly permeated the cultural life of southern Maine. LL Cool J provides an educational demonstration of scratching and beatboxing for his audience, who appear at points somewhat perplexed.

Cool J was still a few months away from releasing his first album. Starr, who is now Creative Director for Digital Strategy at the White House, says that Cool J was paid $500 for the set, and adds in a comment that his dad tried to get Run DMC, but they were too expensive.

Advertisement

Update: Do not miss the mic drop at 18:30. Cool J was an early adopter.

David Haglund is a senior editor at Slate. He runs Brow Beat, Slate's culture blog.

TODAY IN SLATE

Politics

The Democrats’ War at Home

How can the president’s party defend itself from the president’s foreign policy blunders?

Congress’ Public Shaming of the Secret Service Was Political Grandstanding at Its Best

Michigan’s Tradition of Football “Toughness” Needs to Go—Starting With Coach Hoke

Windows 8 Was So Bad That Microsoft Will Skip Straight to Windows 10

A Plentiful, Renewable Resource That America Keeps Overlooking

Animal manure.

Politics

Cringing. Ducking. Mumbling.

How GOP candidates react whenever someone brings up reproductive rights or gay marriage.

Building a Better Workplace

You Deserve a Pre-cation

The smartest job perk you’ve never heard of.

The Ludicrous Claims Women Are Pitched at “Egg Freezing Parties”

Piper Kerman on Why She Dressed Like a Hitchcock Heroine for Her Prison Sentencing

Behold
Oct. 1 2014 11:48 AM An Up-Close Look at the U.S.–Mexico Border
  News & Politics
The World
Oct. 1 2014 12:20 PM Don’t Expect Hong Kong’s Protests to Spread to the Mainland
  Business
Business Insider
Oct. 1 2014 12:21 PM How One Entrepreneur Is Transforming Blood Testing
  Life
Outward
Oct. 1 2014 11:59 AM Ask a Homo: A Lesbian PDA FAQ
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 30 2014 12:34 PM Parents, Get Your Teenage Daughters the IUD
  Slate Plus
Behind the Scenes
Oct. 1 2014 10:54 AM “I Need a Pair of Pants That Won’t Bore Me to Death” Troy Patterson talks about looking sharp, flat-top fades, and being Slate’s Gentleman Scholar.
  Arts
Music
Oct. 1 2014 12:21 PM How Even an Old Hipster Can Age Gracefully On their new albums, Leonard Cohen, Robert Plant, and Loudon Wainwright III show three ways.
  Technology
Future Tense
Oct. 1 2014 11:48 AM Watch a Crowd Go Wild When Steve Jobs Moves a Laptop in This 1999 Demonstration of WiFi
  Health & Science
Bad Astronomy
Oct. 1 2014 12:01 PM Rocky Snow
  Sports
Sports Nut
Sept. 30 2014 5:54 PM Goodbye, Tough Guy It’s time for Michigan to fire its toughness-obsessed coach, Brady Hoke.