“Wow, is he really still rapping?” is what people say when LL Cool J releases a new album. Yet, with each album, the veteran rap artist outsells most of his younger peers in the rap scene. The 38-year-old New Yorker has managed to remain in the game for more than three decades while maintaining a successful acting career. The veteran’s newest release is titled LL Cool J’s birth name – Todd Smith.
The first single released to radio, “Control Myself,” is fairly corny, but the beat, along with Jennifer Lopez on the chorus, will keep this song booming in clubs. Overall, away from the club scene, this is one of the weaker songs on the CD.
One of the best songs on the album is “It’s LL and Santana.” Featuring Juelz Santana, this song has one of the better beats and best rapping. LL Cool J and the 23-year-old Santana collaborate well on the track.
Another one of the top tracks is with someone even younger than Santana. The 18-year-old Mari teams up with LL in the song “Preserve the Sexy.” Though the chorus is repetitive, the catchy song is a fun listen.
“What You Want” with rapper Freeway has the same great vibe as LL’s songs on the album with newer artists. Once again, LL Cool J shows off his ability to spit with rappers younger than himself.
But every fan of LL knows that the rapper always includes music with a slow beat on his albums.
Arguably, the musician’s best song of this sort on Todd Smith is “Down the Aisle” featuring 112. The R&B chorus of 112 is a perfect match with the mix of rapping and singing LL presents on the track.
LL Cool J also worked with Ne-Yo to create a remix of the young R&B artist’s “So Sick.” The beat to this version isn’t as good as Ne-Yo’s original. The lyrics to the remix are the same with LL adding his own lines in a few spots, complementing well with Ne-Yo’s
“Favorite Flavor” with Mary J. Blige and “We’re Gonna Make It” featuring gospel- singing sisters Mary Mary are two more notable songs on the album.
Lyfe accompanies LL in the slow moving song “Freeze.” This track is one of the worst on the album. The trite chorus does nothing to help the overall song. Lyfe moaning “freeeeze” every few seconds is nothing but annoying.
Old-timer LL Cool J has proven that he can work – and work well – with some of the freshest faces in music.