Thought he was done huh? There are two ways to define done in this business. You could say done, in the sense that he's not going to do another album because he feels he's used up all of his creative juices. Or you could define done as being considered "passed by" in the grand scheme of things, not being able to bring a product to the table that would satisfy anyone anymore.
James Todd Smith is neither of these. LL goes for the jugular right off the bat on this one. The intro sounds like a tweaked version of Cappadonna's "97 Mentality," Cool J destroys this record, attacking it with a ferocity not heard from him in YEARS. The album slides into the first single, 'Imagine That,' which is your average run of the mill Cool J sex song.
Surprisingly, this works for LL, Rockwlider provides a soundscape for him to add another chapter to the sex rhyme.
A little later we find a DJ Scratch masterpiece, entitled 'LL Cool J,' Scratch cuts Biggie's "Kick in the Door" to shreds for a very dope sample, it may be one of the most critical lyrical appearances we've seen from him in ages. Don't forget the Ja Rule supported, "Where I belong" where he gives Canibus the final stake to the heart, by dropping the ultimate insult upon him -- labeling him Canadian.
The standout winner on this album is "This Is Us" with Carl Thomas on the hook. One of the most inspiring LL Cool J masterpieces I've ever heard. Carl Thomas steps up his game to a level that may be the bridge to bigger and better things in his future. Hopefully this will be the next single, but I don't work A&R at Def Jam do I?
One record that will likely never make it to commercial radio is "Hello," or maybe it should be entitled "Adventures in Phone Sex." Amil provides a hook, with a LOX sample on the hook. This record is the epitome of what LL Cool J has dropped in the past 12 years, something to make the females dance, and the guys perk their ears up. Find someone else with that kind of power.
The problems with this album lie in the filler. Even a track with Prodigy seems as it's forced or rushed. It just doesn't seem to work. The problem that LL Cool J has fallen into is that he seems to force together all of these cameos, with like 4-5 emcees. The emcees can be quality, but the tracks can turn into overkill. Honestly, there really isn't much wrong with this album.
In conclusion, LL Cool J is far from done, he has many more lyrics and concepts under his belt, this proves it. Hip hop still has room for the self proclaimed greatest of all time, but do we still respect him? No reason why we shouldn't. He destroyed Canibus last year. Where is Can-I-bus now? Maybe Canibus got the better of him on the dis record, but the best way to tell who really won the battle -- is to see who's still producing music that people care about years down the road.