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LL Cool J's Authentic: A Track By Track Review, Without Prejudice

LL Cool J's Authentic: A Track By Track Review, Without Prejudice

LL Cool J can do no wrong lately. Actually, strike that, LL Cool J does everything wrong lately. Last year there was his trend-hopping track "Ratchet," dubbed one of the worst of 2012. More recently there was his duet with Brad Paisley, "Accidental Racist," in which he more or less forgave the sin of slave chains so long as white southerners didn't hassle him for wearing his gold ones.

See also: "Accidental Racist": Why This Song Sucks

But we won't judge. Maybe he's quickly, suddenly turned a corner on his brand new album Authentic. After all, who doesn't want to see LL as a gracefully aging early hip-hop phenom? It would be better than his award-show hosting, anyway. Let's evaluate it track by track.

Bath Salt

"It's LL season," he begins. I'm assuming LL Season falls somewhere at the end of a cash cow's long and fruitful career and right before it's shipped out for slaughter. "Hands on my nuts, that's product placement," he goes on. More product placement. Most of this track is LL telling us that he's still got it or somesuch. He's got something all right.

Not Leaving You Tonight (feat. Fitz and the Tantrums and Eddie Van Halen)

Fitz and the Tantrums' hook on this track is, so far, the best thing on this album. LL, meanwhile, utters "Farmers Boulevard [long beat] Queens" in hushed tones as the song closes. It's good to know he's still representing his old neighborhood. "Laurel Canyon Boulevard....Studio City," doesn't have quite the same ring.

New Love (feat. Charlie Wilson)

It is good to know that the Gap Band's Charlie Wilson is still alive and is able to sing. Other than that, it's not clear why this exists.

We Came to Party (feat. Snoop Dogg and Fatman Scoop)

"Let the critics review it / the way I spit and it's Buicks." Yes. Except the problem, Mr. Cool J, isn't how your expectorating produces mid-size sedans, it's that the music you're making is a better fit for a Yugo with bad speakers. The whole point of this track seems to be to suggest that old people have problems too and despite that, they are still functionally able to party. Hmmm.

 

Something About You (Love the World) (feat. Charlie Wilson, Earth, Wind & Fire and Melody Thornton)

I kinda dig this one. I can see myself enjoying this at whatever music-themed assisted living facility my future children stick me in. Perhaps we'll get to have five minutes of open seniorfunk time right between lunch and mid-day eldertwerking?

Bartender Please (feat. Snoop Dogg, Bootsy Collins and Travis Barker)

On this track, the featured performers don't want to be given free swag because they already have enough money to buy it themselves. Which begs the question, "Huh?" The number of times Cool J has mentioned Mazeratis on this album (including the half-dozen times on this track) is exactly the number of times I've slapped my forehead in frustration. Bootsy, c'mon.

Whaddup (feat. Chuck D, Travis Barker, Tom Morello and Z-Trip)

"Out comes the nine / you lose yo mind." I'm assuming that the nine he refers to here is a nine iron out of a golf bag. Prop guns from NCIS don't count, man.

Between the Sheetz (feat. Mickey Shiloh)

While I'm not sure I, personally, want to listen to Cool J earfuck me, there are plenty who would pay money for such a thing. Mickey Shiloh provides the necessary female response to his seduction and does a decent enough job.

Closer (feat. Monica)

Sippin', trippin', slippin' have all been rhymed before. Several times. But LL's attempted beef with young whippersnappers here is exactly what makes this album more pathetic than authentic. It gets more lamentable when he suggests his youngest fans encourage their mothers to listen to this album (in the sexiest way possible): "Long as his mama step to my jam / While she cleanin up her house, mop in her hand." You hear that ladies? Get mopping, LL's on the Jambox.

Live For You (feat. Brad Paisley)

Another Brad Paisley collabo! Not as bad as "Accidental Racist." Paisley on the hook. It's no Nelly and Tim McGraw, but it's not bad.

We're the Greatest (feat. Eddie Van Halen and Travis Barker)

If I were involved in this song in any capacity, I'd take the time to reevaluate my life. I suspect most folks would rather listen to Gilbert Gottfried shout long, graphic descriptions of injuries caused by climbing over barbed-wire fences than listen to this. If puppies getting run over had a soundtrack...yeah, you get the idea. Eddie Van Halen, what happened.

See also: "Accidental Racist": Why This Song Sucks

Follow @PaulTBradley and @LAWeeklyMusic on Twitter and like us at LAWeeklyMusic.

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