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LL Cool J - Todd Smith (Def Jam)

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LL Cool J - Todd Smith (Def Jam)

© Def Jam

If It Ain't Broke...

With 22 years of recording history and 12 successful albums to his credit, LL Cool J is hands down #1 in the unspoken hip-hop category of longevity. But Uncle LL seems to be content with that ranking lately. While Todd Smith is yet another testament to LL's consistency in his field, don't expect it to break any new grounds.

Uncle LL Meets The Future

Showing that he's fully cognizant of today's hip-hop climate, LL trades rhymes with Juelz Santana on the thumping "It's LL & Santana," drops a flirtatious sweet-sounding tune with Teairra Mari, and adds an old school flavor to Ne-Yo's remix for "So Sick."

The Catch 22's

Since this is Cool J's 12th album, it features (you guessed it) 12 guests. Unfortunately, not all the collaborations are hinged on chemistry. The schmaltzy "Freeze" is bogged down by its early introduction on the album, coupled with Lyfe Jennings' monotonous crooning. "Lose Control" suffers from a claustrophobic beat, and insipid delivery.

The Bright Side

Thankfully, Mary Mary help put things back in perspective on the uplifting "We're Gonna Make It," while LL reveals: "I heard God ask us for less fake rappers and more real pastors." Church!
On the whole, Todd Smith deliberately plunges into an LL-meets-everyone wagon, but the result is a mix of rare gems and listless tunes.

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