The cover of New York hardcore band Side by Side’s 1988 EP “You’re Only Young Once” features three large-sneakered silhouetted figures that many assumed to be the band. It’s actually riffing on the photo of LL COOL J that appears on the back of his “Radio” record, a tweaked outline in triplicate hard stances.
The image was designed by Side by Side’s guitarist Alex Brown (RIP). The band’s drummer Sammy Siegler recalls, “The intersection between Hip-Hop and hardcore made sense for us in late-’80s New York. We were all huge fans of the LL record. Alex came to Parsons from Iowa for art school and this was literally the cut-and-paste era, where that graphic and our flyers were made using rubber cement on boards.” LL COOL J first peeped the likeness at Beyond the Streets, an exhibition of graffiti and street art in Los Angeles in 2018. “I think it’s dope,” he says of the homage. “Anytime you can do something that inspires other artists, I mean that’s the highest praise. You’re basically soul to soul at that point.”