Thursday, July 17, 2014

LL Cool J - Authentic (Album Review)

Release Date : April 30, 2013
Label : S-BRO Music Group, 429 Records

*This review was actually written last year, but I decided to post it instead of just letting it sit around*

After taking a 5 year hiatus, Uncle L returns with 13th album "Authentic". This is also L's first album not under the Def Jam umbrella, it's being put out by S-Bro Music group/429 Records. Originally titled "Authentic Hip Hop", James Todd released "Rachet" as the lead single, but it was panned by critics. I personally thought the song was funny and he was just having fun in the booth. He quickly bounced back with the Trackkmasters produced "Take It" featuring R&B crooner Joe, and everyone loved it. It is one of LL's best singles and the it was the perfect single for him to come back with. A few months later, L took Hip Hop out of the title and put out a new tracklist and album cover. I'm not sure what caused the change, but the new tracklist had way more features than the original album had. But anyway lets get into this review.

The album starts off with "Bath Salt", he makes it real clear that hes not trying to cater to the youngins with the following lines "I don't act my shoe size/ I act my age/ never try to sound like a rapper I raised". The verses were good but the the hook was terrible "slip into the bath salt" "looking kinda salty over there". "Not Leaving You Tonight" featuring Fitz & The Tantrums & Eddie Van Halen finds LL being there for his woman, letter her know hes always gonna be there. British singer Seal shows up on "Give Me Love", which is definitely a standout track. LL shows a different side of him as he addresses his insecurities while being in a relationship. "Something About You (Love the World)" featuring Charlie Wilson, Earth, Wind & Fire and Melody Thornton is for the grown and sexy, it has that 70s funk sound with the horns and everything, if you're a fan of Funk I would suggest checking this track out, as well the Snoop, Bootsy Collins & Travis Barker featured "Bartender Please".

The genre blending continues on the Rock infused "Whaddup" featuring Chuck D, Travis Barker, Tom Morello and Z-Trip, it also samples Public Enemy's "Welcome to the Terrordome", the song is bound to get you hyped up! Another song to check for is "Closer" featuring Monica, the R&B fans should be familiar with beat, it samples Guy's "I Like". Once again, L is straight forward with his rhymes, he speaks on the he state of Hip-Hop, he spits "Save the Techno and glow sticks for Disney Land/ Them same 5 features on every jam". "Live For You" featuring Brad Paisley trumps their controversial "Accidental Racist" song, they did a great job on here. All the featured artist did very good.

The album isn't perfect though, as James Todd slips up some. For instance, on "We Came To Party" featuring Snoop Dogg and Fatman Scoop, LL uses his aggressive 80s flow and Snoop takes a more laid back approach over a Rock beat but the song just doesn't work. "Between the Sheetz" featuring Mickey Shiloh is another track to be skipped, its basically a don't kiss and tell song. "We're the Greatest" featuring Eddie Van Halen and Travis Barker and "New Love" featuring Charlie Wilsonare forgettable . Overall "Authentic" is more of a Alternative Hip-Hop album, it sounds nothing like any other Cool J album out. I'm gonna give you a heads up and say do not come into this album expecting vintage LL, because you will not get it. I'm disappointed "Take It" isn't on the standard version or the DJ Premier produced "Jump On It". At the end of the day its a decent album, but I do not recommend it. I suggest getting his "GOAT" album from 2000 instead.


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