Like Run-D.M.C. and Whodini, the best of the latter-day rappers, L.L. Cool J keeps the orchestration minimal, the words clever and the beat enormous. The record really booms. Though it may be most original in the rap ballads "I Want You" and "I Can Give You More," in which puppy love is given a pounding, it's the sassier, dance-worthy songs that make this record such an irresistible party. "Rock the Bells," a mighty boasting rap, offers a huge donging bass line interrupted by chiming guitar notes, marrying heavy metal and hip-hop like "King of Rock."
Though L.L. Cool J steers clear of most of the braggadocio that used to be the point of rapping, he hits the mark with a good put-down in "You Can't Dance." "Why are you so stiff?/Is it something that your mother did?" he chides. "Maybe you grew up around can't-dance people/When you were a can't-dance kid." L.L. Cool J offers more than tough attitude: he's a good songwriter (who just can't sing). There's a whole cast of characters alongside the can't-dance loser, including "the largest liar ever created/You and Pinocchio are probably related" (from "That's a Lie") and "Dear Yvette," who's the "mascot of the senior boys' locker room" and the opposite of the hard-to-get Roxanne, last year's favorite rap girlfriend.
Least successful is an a cappella rap called "El Shabazz" that just sounds like some goofing off at the end of a recording session. It's a vocal imitation of Doug E. Fresh, a very original artist whose twelve-inch single "The Show," on Reality Records, is a must buy for anybody interested in rap music and anybody interested in hearing someone a cool kid like L.L. Cool J would try to emulate.
(Posted: Apr 10, 1986)
News and Reviews
Click "Copy Me" to add the RS.com Widget to your Facebook page, blog, MySpace page and more.
Click the play button.
Register or enter your username and password.
Let the music play!
More CD Reviews
Viva La Vida Or Death And All His Friends
Tha Carter III
At Mount Zoomer
Saints Of Los Angeles
City That Care Forgot
One Of The Boys
I Know You're Married But I've Got Feelings Too