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Vibe Reviews LL Cool J "Exit 13" album


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First Listen: LL Cool J's Exit 13

Brad Wete

The GOAT shows that his raps are still hard as hell.

James Todd Smith is guzzling a bottle of Poland Springs water and is sweating through his aqua blue t-shirt. The energy he is expending is the kind most reserve for visits to their gyms, but on this cool New York night LL Cool J stands in front of a programming board in Chung King Studios to give a sneak peak of his last Def Jam release, Exit 13.

In blue jeans, all white shell-toed Adidas sneakers, the GOAT’s appearance suggests that he’s been taking frequent dips in the fountain of youth. As he runs through each track, his gesturing matches the mood of the cuts, aggressively adjusting his white Yankee fitted during hard-hitting tracks like the album’s intro “It’s Time for War” and all but blowing kisses to ladies in the room when the up-tempo, and sexually charged “Feel My Heartbeat” shoots out of the speakers.

“Time for you to bust out your new red pumps/I’m gonna lick shots, make the box spring jump,” he smoothly suggests on the track.

On the Marley Marl-produced “You Better Watch Me,” Uncle L talks about how he’s cashing new checks but many still question his popularity. “Is LL really hot/Y’all keep on debating/Y’all play Cochran/I’ll keep on caking,” he raps over the cut, which adds a devilish baseline to a sample of Audio Two’s 1988 classic “Top Billin’”.

The album’s most diverse tracks come via rock collaboration with Richie Sambora and a track that LL describes a “Bollywood, strawberry baby oil music.”

With an electric guitar rift and harder percussion, LL and Sambora remix what was once a smooth, club friendly “Baby. ” And on “I Fall in Love” Cool J uses live Indian musicians to help him get his fantasies across.

“When I look in your eyes/I fall in love/ Every time I look at your thighs/I fall in love,” he softly raps on the hook. The two tracks will earn the veteran an “A” for an effort to sprinkle some worldliness on his set, but definitely are not the best song offered on Exit 13’s menu.

The highlights of the album are the boom-bap, b-boy jam “This is Ringtone M…” where he spits “I’m the center of the bomb. I’m about to explode. Y’all ain’t hip hop. Go write for Vogue.” and the bouncy, playful “Like a Radio,” which features R&B talent Ryan Leslie.

LL’s last effort under his current contract at Def Jam is better than just a solid effort. It hits on a variety of issues: From thug gatherings and groupie adventures with Fat Joe and Sheek Louch on “Come & Party With Me” (“You’re killin’ me, baby/You’re like an assassin/And you know that I’m married/Why the **** you keep askin’?”) to “Mr. President”, an open letter to George Bush asking questions about immigration, health insurance and the war over a techno tinged beat. The 40-year-old MC can still reign supreme, when he puts down the movie scripts and focuses on building bars.

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Thanks for that review. I am really looking forward to this album, I heard "You Better Watch Me" on the radio the other day, and I loved it, he is going hard, just like on the mixtape, I am expecting a very good album.

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So did anybody get the album today? I got it and have been listening to it nonstop, this is definately some of his best work, btw check out this high review from USA Today I found:


LL Cool J, Exit 13: * * * -- Exciting exiting

LL has hinted that his 13th Def Jam album will be the last for the iconic label he helped pioneer 24 years ago. Whether that turns out to be true, the Queens rapper is not thinking about bowing out of the game.

Exit 13 is his most aggressive album in years, as he not only brags about his legacy, but challenges new jacks who may think he has gone soft to come at him. And when the self-proclaimed G.O.A.T. (Greatest of All Time) is not gearing for battle, he’s smoothing things out for the ladies who love him.

He opted to stay shy of the usual suspect big-time producers, going with hungry up-and-comers who energize his sound. Wyclef Jean, 50 Cent, The Dream and Richie Sambora put in cameos, but LL does most of the heavy lifting himself.

There is some fat among the mostly muscular 18 tracks — American Girl is particularly corny. Still, there’s no indication that this particular facet of his entertainment career, which also includes TV, movies and books, is getting short shrift. After all, a microphone tattoo does take up the length of his right arm. After 10 straight platinum albums, his last two have only gone gold. But he seems to have gotten his swagger back. He may be hitting the Exit, but he is not easing up on the gas. — Steve Jones

>>Download: It’s Time for War, Old School New School, Feel My Heart Beat, Mr. President, Baby (and its rock remix) >>Skip: American Girl, Ur Only a Customer

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Yeah, I've got the album and I'm listening to it right now. I love it, the album is very well-rounded, he covers all topics, my favorite track is probably "You Better Watch Me" The energy is so high on that track, the whole album is aggressive.

Edited by rcpbball30
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I'll contribute a review at some point. I will say that the album is agressive, which i like. My main problem is that it's all over the place. I actually really like albums with many flavas to them, but when the album doesn't flow, i don't feel it as much...and this album doesn't flow. Some of the production is dope, some of it's good, and some of it sucks. Some of the guest spots are dope, and some of them suck. His choice 2 jump head first back in 2 some explict lyrics seems like a step backwards in my opinion. And for the things that i don't like about the album, i think it puts it behind most of his others.

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My K-mart put it out on Monday for whatever reason so i picked it up then. I Like it I usaully like the more pumped up songs for when I'm out doing something so this album is pretty cool in that regard. I am willing to admit to liking the American Girl song even though he had to mention the Packers getting beat by the Giants.

It made me sad... :)

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I downloaded the album last Thursday. I give it a 7 out of 10. It does seem like its all over the place. You have a track like "You Better Watch Me" and then "American Girl"..idk it all jumps around. I wish the album just completely sounded like "Its Time for War" + "Old School New School" + "Mr. President" and "Ur Only a Customer" ...I hate "This is Ringtone Murder" (which is just straight up noise) and "Like a Radio"

I dont understand how the hook of "Speedin down the Highway" is "speeding down the highway, staring at the white lines we rollin we rollin" and then theres a "We Rollin" song...a little odd.

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Hey I found an unreleased song called "New York, New York", check it out, it's dope, I especially like the line where he said, "Just when you thought L was calming down/I pulled a George Bush and I bombed the town":


Edited by bigted
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:yeahthat: Amen to that brotha, LL did the right thing by keeping his ear to the street to realise that his real fans ain't down with that G-Unit crap

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