Girls in the audience screamed loudly at every suggestive move the 19-year- old star made, and they were screaming practically nonstop.
L. L. put on a rampaging version of "Rock the Bells" from his Radio LP. But the highlights of his appearance were the selections from his recent record, Bigger and Deffer.
Songs like "I'm Bad," "Candy" and his chiming rap ballad "I Need Love" showed how much L. L.'s work has grown in terms of melody, arrangement and lyrical imagery.
To enjoy L. L., one had to sit through five lesser rap acts, an enervating experience.
The performers' dress code ran to colorful sweat suits and gold chains. Sunglasses and white painters' caps were optional. At some point, each of the performers exhorted, "Everybody say, 'Ho-O.' " The appreciative crowd responded lustily to this and all other requests to chant a phrase.
The hard-working local duo of Jazzy Jeff and Fresh Prince laid down the most varied and vibrant percussive foundation of the evening, as well as showing impressive scratching and mixing skills behind the turntables.
The two were joined by Ready Rock, a resourceful "human beat box" - that is, he simulated drum machines and other sound effects with his mouth.
With their slick choreography and stylish outfits, the Brooklyn trio Whodini turned out to be the most accomplished performers in the rap pack.
Unlike their predecessors, Whodini had selections like "One Love" and ''Funky Beat" that were refreshingly recognizable as songs.
Also performing were Stetsasonic, a sextet from the Bronx, and Public Enemy, two rappers and a disc jockey from Long Island.
For sheer abundance of entertainment, Def Jam '87 was reminiscent of the early rock and R&B road shows. But considering how little equipment rappers require, the acts should have followed one another onto the stage at a faster pace.
Five intermissions are onerous for everyone but the concessionaires.