LL Cool J - Exit 13
To those who are just familiarizing themselves with Uncle L, all they will get is an old man who is better off hanging the mic up and doing more Old Spice commercials.
LL Cool J is easily recognizable as one of the living legends in Hip Hop. Subsequently, many of Hip Hop's baby boomers (born in the 90's) recognize LL for his chiseled abs rather than his razor sharp lyricism. It's no secret that, over the past decade, LL Cool J hasn't been the mic manipulator that needed his radio or wanted to knock you out because mama said. Rather, Todd Smith has been more concerned with getting female fans "Headsprung" while explaining how he can love them better.
It's an awkward question but why would a legend in Hip Hop constantly feel like he has something to prove? Apparently, this is a question that only LL has the answer to. And for his swan song on Def Jam, Todd Smith has crafted Exit 13 as his response to those who have doubted his skills. But do we get the Kangol rocking microphone master who proclaimed how bad he was? Or do we get another dosage of the buffed out sex symbol who wants to preserve his sexy? Unfortunately, it's the latter.
The readily radio digestible treat "Baby" works LL's poppy vibe with some help from The Dream. Unfortunately for Uncle L, he resembles a dirty old man with lines like "I'm really not sure if her breasts are fake/ cause with whipped cream on them and they taste just like cake." At this point in his career, Uncle L has really become Hip Hop's honorary uncle and its rather absurd how raunchy he has become with his lyrics - especially at his age. "American Girl" finds LL lamenting about some good ol' American women over a marching band influenced production. It's an absolute car accident waiting to happen and when L asks to see boobs on the dollar bill over a travesty of a beat, it is evident that overt manliness has come full circle. Not even 50 Cent can save Cool James from his own mess. "Heartbeat" ends up being another souped up sex machine that has run out of gas.
The production on Exit 13 is relatively abysmal. The rock remix of "Baby" is absolutely atrocious and could possibly be the worst thing LL Cool J has ever attached his name to - seriously.