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.
"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.