Artist: LL Cool J
Label: Def Jam
Rating: 6 / 10
Sustaining a career in any art is hard, especially when your whole life changes around you, as you become more successful. In hip hop, it’s a common scenario. Or problem. LL Cool J is one artist who definately deserves his reserved seat in hip hop. We could talk of his history from night to the next, but for now, let’s talk farm animals.
“The G.O.A.T.(Greatest Of All Time)”. With every new release from an old skool artist, and with THIS title, it has alot to live up to. It’s been a hit and miss journey over the years, unfortunately, it’s still in effect here. After the average “Phenomenon” release, I was expecting more. The first half is how it should have stayed. From the opening intro, he brag’s about himself and the expectations of this album, over a simple but effective beat. I wish he would dedicate every track to this style and would forget the whole ‘sex’ topic, I never felt these too strong. But the ladies love the goat. ‘Imagine That’ is a solid sex song, and is pretty nice from L, tied with Rockwilder’s production. But we’ve heard it a hundred times, the rapper with the good lovin’ and the sex-starved female on the chorus. ‘Back Where…’ is more like it though. A heavy bassline with L rhyming about himself, street business and another dig at Canibus. It’s more entertaining to hear him battle then talk sex, but you gotta wonder why he’s digging this dusted battle up again. It ends with L laughing his ass off, leaving the studio, a nice touch.
What follows are a collection of bragging and sex songs with average production throughout. The odd dope or funny line, but add to that some very mediocre ones. ‘Fuhgidabowdit’ is dope, Method Man, Redman and DMX help out, but why does LL seem to up his game in the company of others? If only he was more consistant, he wouldn’t have to rely on his history to back up his claims of greatness. The ONLY time he REALLY shines is when his subject matter is more thoughtful, with tracks like ‘Can’t Think’ and ‘Homicide’, with the chorus of, ”I dont mean this in a disrespectful way, but Columbine happens in the ghetto everyday” and lines like,
” Can’t front, I’m a millionaire living like a king
Still feenin’ for the shrimp fried rice and chicken wings
Still feenin’ for the vibe, only the ghetto bring
Pumpin’ songs of pain only real niggas sing
Queen’s finest, but there’s one minus
The bodies on the battlefield that got left behind us
I’m sick and tired of going to wake’s, cause niggas never looked the same in the casket
It’s bugged out, their skin looks like plastic
I shed tears but use shades to mask it”
LL’s smooth and powerful voice, charisma and mic presence are all here, but although they are some dope songs, there are too many average ones blended in. I could see old fans being disappointed, but the newer one’s feeling this. But with that said, I don’t think either will be calling him the G.O.A.T.