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From the book 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die.

Mama Said Knock You Out

LL Cool J

1990

Buy At Rough Trade
Mama Said Knock You Out
Album Summary

Mama Said Knock You Out is the fourth studio album by American rapper LL Cool J. It was produced mostly by Marley Marl and recorded at his "House of Hits" home studio in Chestnut Ridge and at Chung King House of Metal in New York City. After the disappointing reception of LL Cool's 1989 album Walking with a Panther, Mama Said Knock You Out was released by Def Jam Recordings on September 14, 1990 to commercial and critical success.

Wikipedia

Rating

2.91

Votes

11443

Genres

  • Hip Hop

Reviews

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Sat Aug 07 2021
1

Better actor than rapper. And he is not a good actor.

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Mon Apr 26 2021
3

The album is too long, and a lot of the material either didn't age well ("I sure wouldn't rape you" as a pickup line? Yikes) or is super corny (Milky Cereal, among others). There is no denying the power of the title track, though. Best track: Mama Said Knock You Out

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Fri May 07 2021
3

LL breaks new ground and pioneers "sexy rap". NWA talks about bitches. Beastie Boys want girs to do their laundry. LL is here to wear a Kangol hat give your girl a dozen orgasms. Fun and very consistent album. B

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Wed Sep 22 2021
4

Such a clear portrait of the transition from 80's hip hop to 90's hip hop. At times feels like listening to two different albums on shuffle. That sounds like a knock, but I thoroughly enjoyed it.

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Tue Jun 01 2021
5

I knocked out Bald Bull during his bull charge in Mike Tyson's punch out right after "Don't call it a comeback"

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Sun Sep 12 2021
2

Having just gotten to Mr. Good Bar, I have to ask... how can anyone find this anything but incredibly cringey? Some hip-hop acts from this era have aged pretty well... Rakim, Run-DMC... but the punchiest moments on this album feel like Will Smith trying to be Ice Cube.

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Sat May 08 2021
5

My first real exposure to LL Cool J's music was when I saw his performance of "Mama Said Knock You Out" on MTV Unplugged in 1990 and it blew me away. Listening to this album all the way through serves only to make me more of an admirer. Such great music, lyrics, performing, fun, depth, all of it. Loving the groove, loving the energy in his voice; just really loving this album.

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Fri Dec 23 2022
5

Holy damn wow. 1990?! 1990!!!!???!?! The whole album is good, with incredibly clever, powerful rhymes delivered perfectly, the mixing is great, the samples are minimal but effective--this is the perfect rap album, and I can't believe it happened in 1990. LL Cool J is the father of modern rap, and it's right here in this album. When he does the obligatory "I am the greatest at this and you suck" rap songs, a weird staple of all rap albums, I JUST NOD AND AGREE.

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Thu Feb 04 2021
2

I remember listening to this as a teenager. It was ok then, but didn't pass the test of time. Not only are the lyrics trivial, but also very sexist.

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Sun Dec 17 2023
5

I don’t know what I thought LL Cool J sounded like but it was not this. Pleasantly surprised by the banger beats and his flow. “Around The Way Girl”s’ chorus was so smooth and weaved perfectly into the song at the right times. His lyrics are witty and full of finesse. This is possibly one of the biggest surprises so far with just how much I enjoyed this. “Milky Cereal” is probably my favorite song on the album. It was basically banger after banger. I found myself nodding along to every song and will probably relisten to this album a couple more times. 10/10

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Sun Mar 06 2022
5

Loved this. Eastside rap was a lot more cosmopolitan than west, and I preferred its sound. Mama Said Knock You Out still sounds great, while Milky Cereal is great fun.

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Wed Apr 13 2022
5

I never would have sought this album out, but I really enjoyed it. It had great flow throughout and good beats.

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Thu May 05 2022
5

Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes. Hell yes.

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Mon May 16 2022
5

Yeh, something else. 32 years old my arse. Still so fresh.

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Wed May 18 2022
5

I love this album! Remember when he performed Mama Said Knock You Out on VH1 Unplugged? Yeah, he was part of the first rappers to do unplugged shows. Also hard to compute that “comeback” was even a part of this. Around the Way Girl makes me FEEL. Ugh. This album has sexy, fun, hard vibes throughout. Listened to it several times!!

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Thu May 26 2022
5

Classic. This one comes with special memories

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Fri Sep 09 2022
5

They don’t make hip hop like they used to…

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Sat Aug 19 2023
5

I am unabashedly nostalgic for this album and the era of hip hop it came from. This came out just when I was just beginning to develop my own musical consciousness apart from what my parents put on. I know every one of these songs despite never having owned a copy of the album myself. I had friends who had the cassette, and we were too young to have much money, so we'd all buy different albums and share. Plus the videos for the singles were all over Yo! MTV Raps and the video jukebox channel. LL Cool J is severely underrated. He, and this album in particular, was a fucking juggernaut when it came out. I feel like around 93/94 any rap that wasn't overtly gangster became viewed as somewhat passe, even in retrospect, which is a shame. Dude was a pioneer and he played a big part in popularizing hip hop with a mass audience. His delivery is iconic, particularly on the ferocious title track.

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Thu Aug 24 2023
5

Just the epitome of that era of hip hop. The lyricism is clever, the production is simple yet great, and LL Cool J is obviously one of the best to ever do it. What I didn't expect was the range of song themes and tones. I expected the entire album to be somewhat similar to the titular track but there was a broad range of different themes and emotions that really added a lot of depth to the album. Truly one of the greats.

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Sat Aug 26 2023
5

This album strongly reminds me of the late 00s, possibly the early 10s as I used to have this album in rotation for my drives to work. I'd often drop off my housemate at his work while on the way to the office while this album was playing, and his office was best accessed via a lay-by clearly signed as being "No buses". We would always shout "fuck you, no buses!" as we pulled into the layby, because clearly we weren't even in a single bus, let alone multiple buses. Anyway, this album is just fun. It makes you glad that you're listening to it.

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Wed Nov 08 2023
5

Deep Blue Sea! He’s real! Rapping about milk and cereal my fave

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Fri Dec 01 2023
4

Assured and aggressive but still approachable and amusing.

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Fri May 28 2021
3

I enjoyed the beats. Don't know what he was saying to much. Something about ice cream, riding the bus and raping a woman. xXxplicit

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Sat May 22 2021
2

All the bad traits of 90s Rap that killed Hip Hop. The tracks were ok but the lyrics were crap. Also the line "I Sure wouldn't rape you' is worrying

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Wed Nov 03 2021
2

Ladies Love Cool James.... As for me? Not so much. His music has just never done it for me. Mama Said Knock You Out is great and there’s a few other good tracks here. But there’s probably a hundred or so rap records I would listen to before this one

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Thu Jul 01 2021
1

Competent rap but not my style. A bit aggro masculine. Did not finish.

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Mon May 03 2021
1

Pretty shite. Run of the mill, cliched, insincere tat. Mr. Cool wreaks of desperation, wanting to be in the cool gang but probably spend his high school years playing Warhammer.

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Thu Jan 11 2024
1

I'd rather have mama knock me out than listen to this shitload of crap again.

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Sun Mar 06 2022
5

I'M On My Way To Tounes Taw. Work Work Work

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Thu Sep 22 2022
5

Can't beat a bit of LL Cool J

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Wed Dec 07 2022
5

Great LL Cool J album, almost just as good as his debut (Radio, one of the best rap albums from the 80s).

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Wed May 31 2023
5

I thought it was good wouldnt really call it rap more like MC

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Wed Jan 31 2024
5

I bought this on release (vinyl) and listened to it a lot. Sad to say it fell out of my rotation and I probably last listened to the complete album 20 years ago. What a fool I've been. An absolute masterpiece, not one bad track.

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Thu Apr 11 2024
5

Absolute classic from the GOAT. Ladies love cool James for a reason.

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Fri Apr 26 2024
5

Oh my heavens! I had A GREAT TIME listening to this! FIVE STARS

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Tue Sep 08 2020
4

Classic hip hop stuff, really good flow

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Mon Sep 14 2020
4

I can hear how much this influenced. Some great tracks

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Mon Jul 05 2021
4

Tiukkaa settiä ja yks tuttu klassikkokin mukana.

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Thu Dec 31 2020
4

Verrassend goed album eigenlijk ondanks dat ik over t algemeen niet de grootste LL cool J fan ben. Duidelijk uit onwetendheid en dus misplaatst.

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Sun Feb 07 2021
4

Much better than I expected. Several gems on this record.

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Thu Feb 11 2021
4

always wanted to listen to this as an album

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Fri Feb 26 2021
4

very solid overall, couple weird songs but definitely golden age hip hop

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Mon May 31 2021
4

Definitely a time piece, but still sounds great today

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Fri May 21 2021
4

Solid album. Better than I expected. Got some classic bangers. 7.5-8/10

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Thu Feb 25 2021
4

4 - Top Album, gefällt mir sehr gut.

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Thu Apr 15 2021
4

I had two songs favorited on album. I favorited a new one when listening to the entire thing, for the fist time. So, pretty good but not life-altering.

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Thu May 06 2021
4

This is a solid groove right between the gangster hop of later rap albums and the older sounds of earlier hip hop. Murdergram is a nice change from the more laid back rhythms. Mama Said Knock You Out is one of those cultural touchstones with a huge reach. Illegal Search is 31 years old and still applies to today.

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Wed Jun 30 2021
4

I really liked the samples on this, overall it was a fun listen. Even when it’s corny (which is often), it’s still pretty entertaining, although Milky Cereal would be an easy skip . 8/10

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Sun Mar 07 2021
4

Classic Hip-hop. Uncle L's flow is unmatched in today's era of rap where you can barely discern the lyrics, LL enunciates every line beautifully. A man before his time, this album doesn't sound like it was made in 1990. Best songs = Mama said knock you out & Round the Way Girl.

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Fri Apr 23 2021
4

Love me some 90s hip hop complete with hilariously cheesy lyrics. Wicked.

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Tue Jun 08 2021
4

This album was more fun to listen to than I was expecting and I really liked finding a rap album that didn’t overly rely on cussing throughout each song.

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Fri May 14 2021
4

This is terrific. Classic beats (praise to Marley Marl), entertaining lyrics, smooth delivery from the one and only LL. The influence of this album on hip hop was massive - you hear beats and lyrics later ‘borrowed’ by other artists but also the style and swagger. LL raps about anything, broadening rap’s horizons. Such an enjoyable, fun album. Groundbreaking. Loved it. Stand outs - Mama Said Knock You Out, Around the Way Girl, Mr. Good Bar

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Sat May 22 2021
4

Big fun 90s hip hop vibe, absolutely banging backing tracks with some tasty bass lines.

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Sat May 29 2021
4

ll cool j doesn't hold back rapping over funky beats. mama said knock you out is such a great tune, if you don't like it, there's something wrong with you. bit too long though

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Wed Jun 23 2021
4

Thanks to albums like this one is that I’m starting to really apreciate hip hop.

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Wed Sep 01 2021
4

Some songs I wasn't a big fan of, but overall this is solid '90s hip-hop. I will say I enjoyed this more than I thought I would. I feel like I'm saying that about a lot of albums here, but preconceived notions are TOUGH to overcome!

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Thu Sep 16 2021
4

LL is the original rap star. Good album. Lyrics are a little corny for 2021 standards, but for this time LL comes off original and sells his identity well.

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Fri Nov 19 2021
4

Because the opening line of the title track is "DON'T CALL IT A COMEBACK!", I had assumed this album came a considerable amount of time after LL's last. It was little more than a year - and in the 80s/90s, that was short. But when gangsta rap reared its head in the late 80s and Ladies Love Cool James's loverboy schtick was looking dated, perhaps it felt like a cultural comeback. The album proved that LL could navigate the new hip hop landscape and deliver something as hard and defiant as the title track. But at the same time, he showed that he could make the ladies love him in a way that those gangsta rappers could only wish. (Case in point - when I was 15 I was OBSESSED with "Around the Way Girl" and had a dumb crush on LL. Hey, he had it!) The Mama Said album is LL Cool J in his imperial phase, showing his skill as an MC, a lyricist and his (and his producer's) ability to deftly mix rap with pop stylings.

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Wed Dec 01 2021
4

Fun flows and lyricism, production got a bit repetitive for me

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Mon Jan 10 2022
4

Pretty killer rap album. Couple off tracks here and there. The title track is 10/10. Album holds up.

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Fri Jan 14 2022
4

A hot slice of G-funk. Didn't expect to like this as much as I did but I got right into it.

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Thu Feb 03 2022
4

Ladies Love Cool James manages to nut a commodious autonomic album full of great tracks

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Fri Feb 04 2022
4

I thought the album was fine, never really cared for LL but the rhymes are nice. Still has a very 80s sound of hip hop. "Around The Way Girl" is my favorite song on the album. 7/10.

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Fri Feb 11 2022
4

Åter igen. Old school hip hop är det coolaste vi har. För bra! + tänker bara på kultklassikern Kangaroo Jack när jag hör mama said knock you out. Mm helt sjukt hur bra smak jag kan ha?

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Fri Apr 15 2022
4

LL Cool J is probably one of the more underrated rappers in hiphop. He did not seem to make a grab at the headlines as much as his contemporaries did, but that does not seemed to have made a negative impact on his resume. Disclosure: First exposure to LL Cool J was his song with Boyz II Men "Hey Lover". Late night radio on the local Top 40 station for the win. "Hey Lover" is on another album though, but it serves as the blueprints for how this review approaches "Mama Said Knock You Out". Rap music and the wealth of catchy phrases and quips that make it into the modern lexicon are on full display here even thirty years later with "Don't call it a comeback!" on the title track. LL Cool J has an amazing voice with near crystal clear clarity. While the lyrics are not complicated, the delivery by LL Cool J is rhythmic and on time. This is a fairly great representation of what may have been hiphop's most appealing era where it was a balanced mix of fun and inviting with stories happy, sad, and socially aware. A key example of where this album remains socially aware is "Illegal Search" where LL Cool J chides the stereotypes by which the black community is essentially punished for being successful, or even just appearing to be. Crossed T's, dotted I's notwithstanding, he laments angrily the sort of gauntlet that they have to navigate just to verify that. Interestingly enough, the following track "The Power of God" contains a message of hope, an exhortation of sorts acknowledging the struggles and temptations of his early life but documenting his commitment to stay above those things, to maintain focus on the "power of God". Overall, the album is a great listen on par with his 90s contemporaries where messaging and storytelling take precedence on the whole over the single. These days are truly missed.

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Wed Apr 20 2022
4

Nek sam se ja na MSN-u zvao LL Cool L, ah. Dosta sam njegovih albuma preslušao, nisam detaljno većinu, ali se uvijek znalo nać par pjesama koje sam si stavljo na plejliste, ali to je davno bilo kad sam ga baš slušao. Mama Said Knock You Out je izvrstan klasik, spot, uvijek slika ostaje te boje spota. Nisam očekivao da će album biti malo udaljeniji od njegove klasične r&b/love story + hip hop sheme (za kojom bome nisam lud). Album definitivno može biti kraći, pjesma-dvije definitivno ne bi falile ako bi se izrezale. Sve u svemu, drago mi je da je malo skrenuo sa svoje rute glazbe pa izbacio malo jači hip hop album što se tiče samog sebe.

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Thu May 05 2022
4

I love this album. Early 90s had more fun than a lot of modern rap. LL Cool J was a really fun rapper before he turned into a "meh" actor.

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Sun May 15 2022
4

It pretty good album. I am not the biggest LL Cool J fan but this album does have his best overall song. I would definitely listen to some of the songs again

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Wed May 18 2022
4

Fun 90s hiphop. Some good beats, some good rhymes, some total cheese, but it's all good.

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Mon Jun 06 2022
4

Wasn’t looking forward to more rap, but this was good! Got a little bored here and there but mostly into it. I liked the smoother jams like “Around the Way Girl” and “6 Minutes of Pleasure” a lot!

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Mon Jun 06 2022
4

Really enjoyed the first two and a few of tracks near the end but got a bit bored in between. I like his smooth sound.

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Wed Jul 27 2022
4

Used to listen to this albums quite a bit back in the early 90’s but admittedly, it’s been at least over a decade since my last full listen of it. Great beats, dope rhymes. Still a great album all the way through. The fact that Run the Jewels took their name from a line in “Cheesy Rat Blues” tells you how influential this album was.

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Wed Aug 31 2022
4

the name LL cool J reminded me of a C tier famous person in bad mtv shows, but this album is surprisingly good. Lyrically very nice and the beats are also creative enough.

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Thu Sep 15 2022
4

Never knew how far back in time LL had music! Old school style for sure. Pretty clean overall, beats and lyrics.

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Thu Sep 15 2022
4

LL Cool J isn't my thing sadly.

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Fri Oct 07 2022
4

Finally, some hip hop! After trying to get through fancy pants Rush for a few days, the steady beats of golden age early 90s rap is just what I needed. I’m learning some things about myself with this whole processs - namely, I don’t want my music to be some sonic journey, I want my music to be simple. Simple simple simple but you know, simple but interesting isn’t so easy! Enter rap! Give me that beat, that hook, and let’s not let go of it for four minutes! Old school rap just scoots me along, pushing me forward through the haze of tween sleepovers, dirty dishes, dog diarrhea, and unread email. Just like in the streets! So, now we see why this era of rap is the ultimate culmination of all greatest music - peak melodic perfection, boiled down and distilled into… um, peak melodic perfection. But let us now come to Ladies Love Cool J. If only I could sexually harass women the way he does and have them laugh and tell me I so crazy. If only I had the swagger to rap a song comparing women to breakfast cereal. For the entirety of the song. LL is not one finds himself at the emergency vet at 6am on a Saturday, LL probably has a perfectly calm and dangerous Rottweiler that never eats garbage and that the ladies equally love. I have emotionally neurotic belle, who growls at small children. But me and belle both have LL, and his masterful collection of pop rap gets us through. We don’t need to actively listen to innovative artistry that push’s the bounds of music, we need to listen to music. Good music that sounds even better around the way with the jinglin babies in a booming system while eating milky cereal and telling every female that my name is Mr. Good Bar.

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Tue Oct 11 2022
4

I like this kind of rap, just that late 80s/early 90s thing before G-funk took over the entire genre. I've never heard this album but it really ticks the box. Would be a full score except it's just that bit too long. 4/5.

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