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In this month’s post we consider something new: A first review of an early rap CD on keithhirsch.com. Long before L.L. Cool J starred on NCIS: Los Angeles, he was, of course, a rapper, and a brilliant one. L.L. hit the rap scene with a smash in 1985 with his acclaimed debut, Radio. Then in 1987, he released his sophomore effort, Bigger and Deffer.

Although Bigger and Deffer did not receive the rave reviews of Radio, it still further established L.L. Cool J as a rap star. Bigger and Deffer is particularly remembered for the hit opening track, “I’m Bad”.

Naturally, 1987’s Bigger and Deffer was released on vinyl and cassette, but it also saw a digital release on CD. CBS, the parent to L.L. Cool J’s label, Def Jam Recordings, released the album on CD in the U.S. and Europe in 1987. Let’s take a closer look at the European release.

The European issue of Bigger and Deffer bears catalog number DEF 450515 2. DEF, of course, references the Def Jam label. Early European CBS CDs have a catalog number prefix of CDCBS (CBS), CDEPC (Epic), CDGEF (Geffen), etc. By 1987, CBS dropped the CD portion of the prefix in Europe.

First copies of Bigger and Deffer released in Europe were pressed in Japan by CBS/Sony. Although the U.S. DADC plant had been running for three years by 1987 serve the domestic market, its Austrian counterpart first opened in 1987 to serve Europe. As a result, CBS continued to import Japanese pressings to Europe into ’87. Thus, while U.S. pressings of Bigger and Deffer hit the shelves in the U.S. in ’87, Europe first received Japanese pressings.

The Japanese pressing of Bigger and Deffer bears the typical label design for early European CBS releases — black text with no paint coating, with a black ring on the perimeter and a black arc filling the space not covered along the perimeter by the legal text. That text ends with “MANUFACTURED BY CBS/SONY INC. IN JAPAN”. The disc shows both the Def Jam and CBS logos at 9 o’clock and the catalog number at 2 o’clock.

The Japan-for-Europe disc has no text stamped on the central plastic ring, and the matrix code is “DIDP-10770 11 +++++”. The project number, “DIDP 10770”, is printed beneath the catalog number.

Given that the CD was still growing in popularity in 1987 and that rap was not yet mainstream, the Japan-for-Europe pressing of Bigger and Deffer is rather rare. Shown below is the cover and back insert for the Bigger and Deffer, along with the Japanese pressing.

 

The cover for the Japan-for-Europe pressing of L.L. Cool J Bigger and Deffer (“BAD”) (Def Jam (CBS), catalog number DEF 450515 2). This is the standard cover artwork for this album.

 

The back insert for the Japan-for-Europe pressing of L.L. Cool J Bigger and Deffer (Def Jam (CBS), catalog number DEF 450515 2). The catalog number is printed beneath the Def Jam logo in the top left corner. As noted in the paragraph at the bottom, this insert was printed in Holland.

 

The Japan-for-Europe pressing of L.L. Cool J Bigger and Deffer (“BAD”) (Def Jam (CBS), catalog number DEF 450515 2). The disc was pressed by CBS/Sony. The catalog number is printed at 2 o’clock. There is no text stamped on the plastic ring, and the matrix code is “DIDP-10770 11 +++++”. “DIDP 10770” is the project number and is printed beneath the catalog number.

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