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

Mama Said Knock You Out

LL Cool J

1990

Wikipedia

Mama Said Knock You Out

Rating

2.94

Votes

3251

Reviews

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1

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

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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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1

Pretty cheesy tbh

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1

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

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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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5

Good

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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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5

Top classic hip hop

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5

Awesome hip hop album

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5

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

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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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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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5

Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes. Hell yes.

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5

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

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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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5

Classic. This one comes with special memories

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4

Classic hip hop stuff, really good flow

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4

I can hear how much this influenced. Some great tracks

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4

Tiukkaa settiä ja yks tuttu klassikkokin mukana.

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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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4

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

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4

always wanted to listen to this as an album

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4

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

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4

Definitely a time piece, but still sounds great today

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4

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

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4

4 - Top Album, gefällt mir sehr gut.

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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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4

Fun to listen to

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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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4

always liked him

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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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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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4

90s

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4

Okie doke

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4

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

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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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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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4

Funky hip-hop humour.

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4

Classic

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4

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

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4

LL is the man

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4

mmm

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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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4

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

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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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4

Knockout

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4

Really dug it

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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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4

LL Cool j is next level

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4

Solid 3.5 for me

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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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4

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

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4

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

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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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4

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

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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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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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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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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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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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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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4

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

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3

Ihan letkeetä menoa ja en juuri muuta muistanut kuin tuon suurimman hitin.

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3

Probably my favourite 90s hip hop album on this lost (so far) some good rhymes, beats, bass. Some annoying tracks. Not really something I'd listen to regularly.

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3

Selvästi paras listan tähänastisista amerikkalaisista rap-levyistä. Letkeän groovaavaa menoa ilman suurempaa angstailua ja uhoamista, vaikka levyn kannesta tulikin hieman pahat etukäteisvibat. Biiseistä jäi mieleen erityisesti Around The Way Girl. Tähän voisi jopa palata myöhemmin joskus!

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3

Solid but nothing I’m obsessed about.

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3

No offense kinda corny but so were some of the early Beatles songs can’t fault LL for trying his hand at something that went from a fad to an institution.

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3

Eh, not really my thing. For the first 5 tracks I was seriously thinking of awarding 2 stars because it just seemed like unreflective brag rap with fairly basic rhymes. It did approve a bit after that. Fave track - "Cheesy Rat Blues" - a much more interesting listen than most of the other tracks. Plus it's where Run the Jewels got their name! The title track is also a pretty good tune, tbf

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3

No one of the great rap artists in my opinion, and not one of the greatest albums. This is actually LL's last good album.

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3

At least 3 stars for the title track alone. The other tracks are a lot of fun. I love 90's rap, and I feel like this album starts to bridge the gap between old school and more 2000s-style gangster rap. I wish I knew more about the genre, I feel inadequately equipped to fairly appraise it.

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3

Probably the first time I've given this dude an extended listen. Around the Way Girl is a classic.

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3

Definitely better than Eminem

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3

I liked the R&B style beats but some of this was extremely corny and grating. 6

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3

Torn... I wanted 4 but just can’t. If MTV unplugged was in then it would be

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3

Fairly middle of the road 90s hip hop - title track is the clear stand out.

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3

A real evolution of LL's craft as seen on "Radio" - lots of great beats and rhymes delivered with the utmost conviction.

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3

De klassieke hip hop

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3

Viel me alleszins mee. Moest grinniken om teksten als ‘I’m hot like pastrami’. En wat was er de hele tijd met Fendi-tassen?

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3

De titel-track is echt een geweldige classic. Maasr de rest van het album vond ik ook nog best te pruimen. Beetje gedateerd, maar niet zo schreeuwerig en van die stoerdoenerij als bij veel andere rap uit die tijd.

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3

Cool! Mama said knock you out! Dat is echt nostalgie. Rest van de plaat wel ok.

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3

ll cool j oder j rocs kuseng. nowateimsäin. Das Album schiebt den Hosenbund zurück auf den Hüftäquator. Olde schule, ziemlich fly und cool, j. Abseits des geglückten Inhalts spricht mich auch das Cover an. Können diese Lippen küssen? One can only dream.

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3

Actually not bad

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3

I’ve never liked LL Cool J’s persona, too much, “c’mon girl,” too cool for school swagger. But, I can’t deny this album, solid samples, great production, only a few songs dated and LL’s glow isn’t too bad. Quite a few catchy songs. I would say this album isn’t really my cup of tea, pretty straight forward and it was way too long. I found my ears creeping away and listening to other things. I would’ve cut out a couple of songs, the more dated ones, from the end. Overall I was impressed but not floored.

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3

It's all right -- catchy, good sound and rhythms. Can't say I really relate to the lyrics. Probably a 3; we'll see if there are more songs that jump out at me besides "Around The Way Girl" and "Mama Said..." It was pretty good. 3 is fine.

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3

Good fun, I appreciate the lighthearted style

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3

First hip hop listen and I still only gave it a 3 🤣

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3

Admittedly had this playing as more of a background album so didn't really take in many of the lyrics. Some solid early 90s hip-hop sounds, though. Best track: Around the Way Girl

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3

A couple of stand out tracks buried amongst a lot of tracks where I struggled to connect with or even process the lyrics. The Power of God is a great song though and just about pulls up the album up to 3 stars.

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3

Favourite Songs: Jingling Baby & The Power of God

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3

Not as good as I expected it to be.

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3

Pretty good

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3

Not usually on my radar, but decent album

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3

3.5/5 alright, good but not amazing

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3

good, especially the title track

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3

Decent instrumentals, but like a lot of the rap from this era, it feels incredibly dated now.

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3

I liked some tracks as time capsules of 1990, but the whole album got too "cheesy" for me.

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3

Classic hiphop

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3

Good old skool hip-hop.

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3

Good lyricist. Early 90s Hip Hop, but it isn't that memorable for me.

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3

It was ok

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3

Pretty fun album actually, a lot better than I thought it would be. I'm probably not going to go out of my way to put it on, but I enjoyed it.

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3

Not super impressed apart from one or two songs.

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3

De old school vibe vind ik altijd leuk; maar het was weer iets te lang

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3

“I want a girl with extensions” (Around the Way Girl). Boy, nothing dates the album like this. (Although, to be fair, the diversity of hair clip use these days could give this line a new lease of life…) The very conservative use of samples and loops makes me realise, belatedly, that this album was pointed directly at the mainstream. Got there just in time too - The Chronic and Gangster Rap reshaped that landscape just a year or so later…) On the whole, a period piece rather than a classic. Mama Said Knock You Out is still banging, tho…

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3

Liked it a lot more than I thought. A couple of stand out tracks. Mr. Goodbar Murdergram

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3

@runthejewels

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3

Not too bad but not mah thang

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3

just okay to me.

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3

It's OK I guess.

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3

Slightly dated pop rap album

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3

3.3 - A commercial breakthrough for hip hop - "Mama Said Knock You Out" and "Around the Way Girl" were on constant blast, even in my white town. LL Cool J cultivated just enough of a bad boy image to appeal to the youth without scaring our parents. Artistically, this album sounds stale. Songs revolve around two themes: "I'm a great MC and a cool guy (PS: you're neither of those things)" and "I have sex."

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3

Better than expected. Some good ones up front but didn’t wow me.

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3

Most rap albums get 1 or (rarely) 2 stars from me and I only listen to about a minute of the first 4-5 songs. This album on the other hand I found absolutely decent and only skipped forward once or twice and otherwise listened to the whole album. I'm still not a fan of rap and I wouldn't actively listen to this album again. But it was totally fine and I didn't mind it at all, which is more than I can say for 95% of all rap.

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3

Some songs were very powerful (title track, Illegal Search) while others were dated and did not age well (6 Minutes of Pleasure that clocked in at under 5 minutes, casual sexist mentions.) A conflicted 3/5

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3

I like this much more than I expected. There's some filler, but the combination of beats, samples and lyrics often works extremely well.

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3

Not a big rap guy so it's always hard to judge a genre I don't really enjoy. Still this had good beats. Wasn't always a huge fan of the lyrics, but the production was good although it suffers from that 90s era run-time length. It didn't need to be 60

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3

Wasn't sure at first, didn't sound like anything special but I was enjoying it by the end, got some funky fresh sounds. LL Cool Jay did a rap with Elmo on Sesame Street once.

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3

I actually got really into this by the end - and I enjoyed the variations of the samples. Fun and funkayy!

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3

This is tricky to rate... I love Around the Way Girl love the beats love the energy in general and the samples. Howeverrrr I don't like the aggressive masculinity or the fact that that was so acceptable in the 90s. Hm I'll have to go in the middle I think but it's a shame because I feel super strongly on both negative and positive sides!

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3

When it's good (Opener, title track, anywhere he's trying to start a fight) it's great, but there is a lot of filler on here. It's probably the first real attempt to make rap pop. Half the album goes from good to brilliant, but there's also some overlong attempts at romance or comedy, neither of which land particularly well. But again, at its height it's ace.

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3

Hip hop

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3

No es malo, realmente no es malo... pero yo no soy de hip hop, ni rap. Me gustó pero solo eso

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3

Beatovi jebeni i sve to, al iskreno mi je malo dosadno bilo.

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3

Dobar je al se ne bi nikad vratila na njega. Mama said knock you out je klasik pjesma.

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3

This was so edgy when it came out. Now it sounds like hip hop with training wheels on. It's so innocent, it's cute. The production still sounds great, and the title track still kicks ass.

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3

Dude was hungry while writing this album. Food references dropped everywhere

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3

Only really heard the title song before. Meh. He's a better actor.

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3

C'est OK. Les beats sont nices, mais overall c'est un peu cheezy

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3

Ladies Love Cool James but I thought this was only ok. 90s rap gets pretty samey after a while. Ofc Mama Said Knock You Out is great

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3

I don't really care for rap, but I do like LL Cool J. And I love the hook of the title track.

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2

Hasn’t stood the test of time. Boring by numbers hip hop. I remember it as better than it sounds now

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2

Not for me

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2

1990. Key Songs: Mama Said Knock You Out

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2

I mean it's FINE, but I'd like to take a break from 90's Hip-Hop...

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2

nice...

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2

Amazing that this is what rap was. Bass, drums, one did who I can understand

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2

Not terrible, just really not my thing.

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2

Sorry, musste wieder weirden Metal peitschen.

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2

Didn't do much for me. Title track slaps. Neat to hear where "RTJ" comes from. The beats sound like they would be background beats for every alt 90s/early00s tv show/movie. In other words, I bet Spike Lee loves this album

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2

I don't like the style of the bases at all. Very old school rap

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2

El rap mai m'ha atret. Quan he vist que em tocava escoltar un altre disc d'aquest estil, m'hi he resistit. Finalment, però, l'escolta ha resultat més refrescant del que esperava. M'ha agradat la producció, les línies de baix, els samplers. En alguna ocasió m'ha fet pensar en els Red Hot Chili Peppers... És un disc de rap força tranquil, molt més soul que per exemple el dels Public Enemy. No aconseguirà que em capbussi en el rap, però he de reconèixer que no m'ha desgradat del tot.

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2

4/10, was much too long. Milky Cereal was pretty funny, and generally liked the bits where the lyrics were just dumb jokes, which was most of it. But, it wasn't funny enough or interesting enough to work for a whole hour. I don't know that I agree with the reviewer here who thinks LL Cool J played Warhammer in high school, but I'll bet he at least did all the assigned readings in English class, like even when they were Jane Austen.

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2

Pakko tunnustaa, että vähän negatiivisella asenteella lähdin kuuntelemaan, joten saattoi olla hankalaa sitten vaihtaa sitä ennakkokäsitystä. Sinänsä leppoisaa flowta, mutta ei kovin mukaansatempaavaa. Ja se funkin ja laulelun määrä meni vähän yli. Teemana vähän pehmeämpää kuin monet muut listan gangsta-suuntauksen levyt. Levyn kohokohta oli sanonta "Wouldn't bust a grape in a fruit fight". Olen luullut että se on Jay-Z:n oma läppä 99 Problems -biisistä (2004), mutta näköjään se on löytynyt jo tältä 1990 julkaistulta levyltä.

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2

Niet voor mij; behalve het refrein van zijn hitje vind ik er weinig aan.

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2

Tja, niet echt stoer, beetje Will Smith-achtig. Ik was er snel klaar mee

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2

Ja ne gibt deutlich besseres aus der Era

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2

Ladies love Cool James, but Josh isn't the biggest fan. Some catchy tracks, but a little too sexy for my sexless sensibilities.

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2

(C)rap

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2

Great MC with very average lyrics and music - very dated even in 1990

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2

Bit of a struggle to get through the whole of this whopper. Enjoyed some of the tracks, beats and the odd line but it didn't grab me.

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2

Not my favourite kind of music or even style of hip hop. Ok, beats and delivery are ok. Cool James is cool.

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2

It leaves no doubt that Mama Said Knock You Out was intended to be a tour de force, to regain LL Cool J's credibility while proving that he was still one of rap's most singular talents. It succeeded mightily, making him an across-the-board superstar and cementing his status as a rap icon beyond any doubt.

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2

Beats were ok but by the end it felt repetitive. Not a fan of the lyrics.

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2

Melodic tunes with a rap style that's a definite product of the 90s.

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2

Personally I'm not a fan of the funky beats and light, not- so-serious lyrics but that's obviously also the time, not just this album alone

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2

Far from the worst of its kind, but still: I’m not the most suitable person to push hiphop music on

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2

mainstream, massively successful - but not for me

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So far, I've been pleasantly surprised by the classic hip hop/rap albums I've gotten, but this one was an example of one confirming my pre-1001 albums opinion that I'm not a big fan of old school hip hop. The title track wasn't bad though. Fav song: mama said knock you out

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2

The album art is certainly striking and very of its time. I think the only song I'm already familiar with is the title track, so let's check it out. I like the generally chill ladies' man vibe, though the straightforward minimalist backing tracks/drum machine make it feel pretty dated. Mamma Said Knock You Out is still quite listenable (and is coincidentally? the edgiest of the album) but the rest of the songs feel a little too silly and definitely dusty.

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2

Dated (to my ear) 90s hip/hop. It just doesn't mean anything to me.

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2

Alltså det var väl gott gung men lite generiskt och föråldrat vid det här laget kanske? Texterna gjorde mig obekväm

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2

Meh! Other artists were doing this better in the late 80's.

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2

Flips between chilled, goofy old school hip-hop and 90s gangster rap so the guy's definitely got range, but none of the styles did that much for me. Bonus points awarded for that track where he shoehorns in all the cereal brands. 2.5

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2

nah

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2

Prefer his earlier work -this isn’t very interesting to me.

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2

2/5 nothing special

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2

Tracks behind the vocals were ok, some good rhymes by LL

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1

Ziemlich eintöning und Funk&Gangster ist einfach ne scheiss kombi. Außerdem: der rapped über milky cereal? Was denn sonst? Watery Cereal? Beery cereal? natürlich ist das Milky du PENNR

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1

Warum kommt wenn hippihoppi kommt nicht was cooles wie Mobb Deep... LL Cool J... FACK OFF. Finds whack

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1

no rap

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1

I'm sure it's very popular for 13year old boys.

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1

Tråkig jävla mjukisrap, sög verkligen

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