First off I have to say this… I am a LL Cool J fan. LL was that dude to me when I was a kid. Before I heard Paid In Full, Bigger And Deffer was the best album in my mind in 1987, hell it was my first album as a kid. From that point I kept my ears open to what LL dropped. Even the albums I wasn’t that big on had something here and there for the streets. As LL became more popular and really became the Ladies Love Cool James I still thought some of the shit he recorded was hot.
It’s 2012 and LL has dropped three singles, one which was leaked last year and the other two have made the rounds as of late. One of those songs is called “Rachet” and I for one thought the title meant LL would go hard on a track. Of course that was so far from the fact, the truth is the song is beneath LL Cool J. First off LL is way too old to even attempt the kind of song “Rachet” is. It’s not because of his age but his stature in pop culture that makes trying to listen to “Rachet” hard. LL is at point in his life and career where he and his team should be avoiding such a song, beat and just the direction of the song that is “Rachet”. Am I saying LL should be doing songs like Nas did with “Daughters”, not really. I am saying LL has an image where he does cater to the females more than the guys. The song with Joe is more like what an LL Cool J song should be. The problem with “Take It” is that it sounds dated. I’m not a fan of how “urban music” sounds at all but I also know that the sound in the game today has been around for almost a decade now and isn’t about to slow down.
LL Cool J is a legend, hands down, there is no other way to say it at all. No these songs and I’m assuming an album will not change that fact but those listening now don’t remember LL when he was the man. It reminds me of the way Run kept wanting to record because he wanted to prove RUN DMC was still relevant and could survive in Hip Hop at that time, RUN DMC was dropping garbage albums too by the way. My personal opinion, LL hasn’t had a real classic since “Ill Bomb”. That song alone made me get the G.O.A.T album. There was the album with mostly Timbaland produced tracks, The DEFinition that was horrible. The last two albums were just forgettable, what they all have in common is LL trying to fit in. LL carved a lane in Hip Hop only he and Heavy D owned for a long time. Big Daddy Kane tried his hand at it, so did CL Smooth, Biggie could have fit in and Jay- Z and 50 Cent transformed it to a degree. Nelly and Ja Rule were heavily influenced by the career LL had. So it is sad to see a legend finding himself wanting to be excepted by pop culture and a younger audience. It’s LL he could do his thing and go underground and people would love it. I remember the track with Red and Meth called “4 Seasons”… LL killed it. LL could easily do tracks like that and have the underground going crazy, the problem is LL doesn’t want that, he is too big for that at this point in his career. So instead of making good Hip Hop he too finds himself wanting to fit into the same bullshit mainstream Hip Hop has become. I and those old enough to remember and are truly into Hip Hop will not just dismiss LL Cool J. Nothing LL drops will change history but he could come away with a second life and that life would mean dropping more bullshit and totally erasing the legacy he has. All it takes it one major comeback hit that puts him back in the game and doing “I Need Love” at his shows would not be cool. Many artists go through that, the ones with long careers anyway. The new shit blows up and the younger new fans aren’t familiar with the classic material and those artists find those songs being cut from set list. I wish nothing but the best for LL, he like Will Smith, Queen Latifah, Ice – T and Ice Cube have helped transformed what it is to be a Hip Hop artist. I just don’t want to listen to subpar music from legends that may still have it in them to make good to great music but are just looking to stroke their egos and stay in the spotlight, for however breif.