Album Review- LL Cool J- Authentic

It appears that LL Cool J's recent verse on the Brad Paisley "Accidental Racist" song was not a one off, it was the precursor to another album from Ladies Love. This I'm not sure I agree with, I understand the itch never goes away but if it is going to be more struggle like on Accidental Racist I could definitely do without. So with some trepidation, here is my review of LL Cool J's new album, Authentic.

The Album starts with "Bath Salt" and I immediately roll my eyes as LL seems out of touch going to this for a 'controversial' or 'attention grabbing' song title where he does some general spitting but ad-libs like "looking salty over there" are corny in 2013. Now, He slides into his lane on "Not Leaving You Tonight" which features the eclectic mix of Eddie Van Halen and Fitz and the Tantrums. Now some of his bars are trying too hard to be examples of his lyricism and the song is a bit too simple however it would work as something from the credits of a movie or NCIS where he could then trick fans into downloads. "Give Me Love" with Seal is the same thing, pretty much same tempo only Seal doesn't seem to be as much of a reach and a more natural fit as LL talks about wanting a woman to show her man how to truly love.

James Todd enlists Charlie Wilson, Melody Thornton, and Earth Wind & Fire on "Something About You" and it's not bad but Charlie over sings like a mug and Earth Wind and Fire aren't brought to the table to do anything other than just be listed in the credits since they don't particularly stand out with any uniqueness. "Bartender Please" with Snoop, Travis Barker, and freaking Bootsy Collins is the same. Too many features that don't bring too much to the party, as LL tries to retain relevance to the younger crowd as he describes his flossing after so long in the game. LL starts whispering with his sexual descriptions on "Between the Sheetz" with singer Mickey Shiloh.

Charlie Wilson's hook is a detriment on "New Love" where the beat is decent enough and solidly lands in the odd demographic LL finds himself in now but the chorus is way too cluttered. Fatman Scoop and Snoop (once again) try to channel 80's LL on "We Came to Party" which isn't good. LL tries to use Chuck D on "Whaddup" to recapture that early 90's feel but Travis Barker who also features along with DJ Z-trip and Tom Morello shines more. Luckily LL's song with Brad Paisley, "Live For You" is way better than the other collaboration though it doesn't touch any new ground. "We're the Greatest" with Eddie Van Halen is more false bravado from LL and ends the album, but my favorite song from this is "Closer" which features Monica.

Look, LL is in a tough position he wants to make music but doesn't really fit in with where he is at in his career. He can still rap generally but he is a shell of his former self, kind of like Gary Payton's last few years in the NBA. It's unfortunate because Uncle L comes off as the uncle too busy trying to still be young and compete with kids but his game is no longer on par. He does some things that would have been at least slightly interesting in 1991 but now just come off as corny and poor attempts to remain relevant. At one point in the album he claims to try and make a song for the young generation, yet later says he doesn't need new fans. He can't come to grips with the idea he is no longer an icon and there isn't a place right now for a 45 year old rapper who doesn't make the worst songs, but doesn't make you rush out to check for him either. Still claiming to be a smooth guy who can take my girl is just disturbing at this point when you should be teaching me how to keep my woman, advance my career and raise my kids.

Rating: 1.5/5


Popular Posts