Around The Way Girl

Album: Mama Said Knock You Out (1990)
Charted: 36 9
Play Video


  • As gangsta rap emerged in the early '90s, rappers often degraded women in their lyrics, but LL Cool J (the "LL" stands for "Ladies Love") built a reputation as a tough rapper with a sensitive side who could appreciate a good woman. Here, he raps the praises of the local girls from the neighborhood who carry themselves with a swagger that he finds appealing. "It's an ode to the girl next door," LL said. "Just me riding around in the neighborhood, what I would see on a daily basis."
  • This was released a year ahead of litigation that would require artists to clear their samples, and the track takes parts of three different songs. The "Shook up, shook down..." part is from "All Night Long" by The Mary Jane Girls, with the sample pitched up. The drums come from "Impeach the President" by Honey Drippers, and "Risin' To The Top" by Keni Burke was also used.
  • Marley Marl (real name: Marlon Williams) produced the Mama Said Knock You Out album. He had previously worked with Eric B. & Rakim, where they often created tracks in a slower tempo that was typical of rap, which is what he did on "Around The Way Girl."

    Marl started off as a block party DJ, but became a producer after bands would use his equipment to plug in. When these bands started showing up at his apartment to use his equipment, and he found himself engineering tracks, which expanded to production. He discovered drum sampling when he tried to sample a vocal and missed, getting the snare drum instead. When he played it back, he realized that he could create entire tracks out of drum bits from James Brown records.

Comments: 2

  • Fine Brown Sugar from Kansas City, Mothis is the sh** i love this song
  • Dave from Toledo, OhFrom the time LL Cool J released his first song.
    He has always been Class Act Rapper.
see more comments

Editor's Picks

A Monster Ate My Red Two: Sesame Street's Greatest Song Spoofs

A Monster Ate My Red Two: Sesame Street's Greatest Song SpoofsSong Writing

When singers started spoofing their own songs on Sesame Street, the results were both educational and hilarious - here are the best of them.

David Paich of Toto

David Paich of TotoSongwriter Interviews

Toto's keyboard player explains the true meaning of "Africa" and talks about working on the Thriller album.

90s Metal

90s MetalFact or Fiction

Test your metal - Priest, Maiden, and Beavis and Butt-head show up in this one.

Tommy James

Tommy JamesSongwriter Interviews

"Mony Mony," "Crimson and Clover," "Draggin' The Line"... the hits kept coming for Tommy James, and in a plot line fit for a movie, his record company was controlled by the mafia.

Benny Mardones

Benny MardonesSongwriter Interviews

His song "Into The Night" is one of the most-played of all time. For Benny, it took him to hell and back.

Protest Songs

Protest SongsMusic Quiz

How well do you know your protest songs (including the one that went to #1)?