In 2018, LL Cool J launched Rock the Bells Radio, a SiriusXM channel dedicated to all things classic hip-hop, from curated retrospectives to in-depth interviews. LL Cool J’s mission wasn’t only to spin throwback jams; he wanted to contextualize the early era of hip-hop that paved the way to the genre becoming the mainstream force it is today.
Now he’s expanded his mission with the Rock the Bells platform, a website featuring articles, video content, and more—all with the same purpose of spotlighting and dissecting classic hip-hop.
“This wasn’t just a pure money play for me. It was more about getting it right and doing something from the heart, and solving a real problem that I think exists,” LL Cool J says. “And that problem is the representation of classic and timeless hip-hop in the mainstream and in the world.”
The site launched in June with help from investors including Mark Cuban; newly appointed Netflix CMO Bozoma Saint John; and Egon Durban, co-CEO of private equity firm Silver Lake. Rock the Bells has also formed what it’s calling a hip-hop alliance, i.e. giving ownership stakes in the company to many of the architects of hip-hop, including Big Daddy Kane, Run-DMC, Salt-N-Pepa, and more.
“[Rock the Bells] is a work in progress. We are going to continue to iterate. We’re going to continue to improve it. But I think that it’s something that’s needed,” LL Cool J says. “History is written by the winners. So I wanted to get that narrative right for these artists, and for the culture in general.”