bigted Posted August 31, 2008 Report Share Posted August 31, 2008 http://www.vibe.com/news/online_exclusives..._exit_thirteen/ 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. Quote Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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