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Mr. Smith

LL Cool J

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Album Review

On the strength of the slow-burning Boyz II Men duet "Hey Lover," LL Cool J returned to the top of the charts with Mr. Smith, meaning the album is somewhat of a comeback for the veteran rapper. LL Cool J's skills had never deserted him, but his previous album, 14 Shots to the Dome, was an exercise in hardcore that only worked in fits and spurts. There are a couple of hard moments on Mr. Smith, but the album is at its most successful when he concentrates on his seductive, romantic side. LL has gotten a bit dirtier since the teenage days of "I Need Love," but he never steps over into the explicit, lewd come-ons of R. Kelly, preferring to suggest everything with a series of double entendres, metaphors, and analogies. Mr. Smith isn't a perfect record — there are too many slack moments for it to qualify as one of his best — but it proves that LL Cool J remained vital a decade after his debut.

Customer Reviews

Great 'comeback' by LL

a more rounded and less abstract album after LL Cool J's fith one "14 Shots to the Dome" - which was turned a deaf ear to because of it's 'lack of pop'. But Mr. Smith proves LL's great lyrical and sampling genious - "Loungin" (which takes a sample from Al B Sure!'s "Nite And Day"), and his duet with Boys II Men "Hey Lover". We see a more deeper and dark approach/side from LL on this album of love, proving he desrved to stay around for another decade.

Biography

Born: 14 January 1968 in Bay Shore, NY

Genre: Hip-Hop/Rap

Years Active: '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

Hip-hop is notorious for short-lived careers, but LL Cool J is the inevitable exception that proves the rule. Releasing his first hit, "I Can't Live Without My Radio," in 1985 when he was just 17 years old, LL initially was a hard-hitting, streetwise b-boy with spare beats and ballistic rhymes. He quickly developed an alternate style, a romantic — and occasionally sappy — lover's rap epitomized by his mainstream breakthrough single, "I Need Love." LL's first two albums, Radio and Bigger...
Full bio