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Authentic

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Album Review

When LL Cool J dubs his 2013 effort Authentic, the veteran rapper is referring to an album that's authentically LL Cool J circa 2013, and not one that's authentically hip-hop. That's important to remember as the everything-but-the-kitchen-sink effort overflows with guests from every genre, like Public Enemy's Chuck D, blink-182's Travis Barker, Rage Against the Machine guitarist Tom Morello, and electro-rocker Z-Trip. That busy jumble of names is not only on the same album, but on the same track, as in "Whaddup," a pop-protest number that's admirable enough, and one that sounds more natural than "Accidental Racist," LL's much-maligned duet with Brad Paisley. Authentic gets its own Paisley team-up with "Live for You," a glossed-up, jukebox country redo of LL's "I Need Love," although when it comes to updates to Cool J's classics, the "Mama Said Knock You Out" return "We're the Greatest" is a better choice, with Eddie Van Halen wailing away as the rapper does a Mike Tyson impression, intentional or not. This variety hour on wax comes alive when characters like Bootsy Collins (making the party number "Bartender Please" sound Deee-Lite-ful), Snoop Dogg (on the club worthy "We Come to Party"), and Charlie Wilson (swaggerfest "New Love" wins just for the line "honk your horn if she's walking by right now") show up, but even so, the album doubles down on some of its best ideas, and Eddie, Snoop, Travis, and Uncle Charlie all return for lesser numbers. LL sounds rusty and a bit under-rehearsed as he belts out his iffy punch lines and motivational anthems, but he pours his heart into the pop numbers and sounds at home during the nostalgic throwbacks. Don't call it a comeback of any sort, but good intentions abound and in a primetime television star manner, the album's title remains true.

Customer Reviews

Amazing!!

When you have grown up with an artist, you mature with him. I remember vividly 28yrs. ago blasting "Rock the Bells". As my life progressed LL seemed to write the soundtrack 2 it. Sometimes art imitates life and life imitates art. Now we both have hit middle age and this album sounds where I'm at mentally and emotionally. It doesn't feel pushed or contrived. It's not that pretentious arrogant sound that you would expect from Jay Z but a classic honest album from a legend. Not sure if you will ever do another album after this and if that's the case, then what a swan song brother!!! Thanks for letting me take this journey with you.

WOW!

This... Is... Freaking... Awesome!!!!!

Then and Now

I was a fan then and I am a fan now.
LL had done it again. He is still the greatest rapper to ever walk this earth.

Biography

Born: January 14, 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 and Deffer,...
Full Bio