The Definition

Artist: L.L. Cool JTitle: The DefinitionRating: 3 StarsReviewed by: Matt Barone

While his self-given title of the “greatest of all time” is debatable, one thing that can’t be disputed is that LL Cool J is a definite legend in hip-hop’s legacy. Having spearheaded the dominance of Def Jam Records, cranked out radio hit after hit, and garnered respect as a big-screen actor, LL has entered the studio once again to craft his eleventh album, The Definition. Geared heavily towards club dance floors and radio play lists, The Definition finds him in full party mode, delivering rhymes with a new energy. The final product, however, teeters on mediocrity due to generic production and cheesy subject matter, but scattered jewels help lift it to ultimate enjoyment.

In an inspired allegiance, LL employs Timbaland to produce six of the disc’s eleven tracks. While “Apple Cobbler” spoils quickly with LL’s faux Missy Elliot delivery and Tim’s by-the-numbers backdrop, the duo forms a tight chemistry on their other efforts. Timbaland provides slinky bass on the melodic “Rub My Back,” and “Headsprung” pummels speakers with a ferocious blend of percussion and synthesizers. Neither of these cuts finds LL at his lyrical best, but on “Feel The Beat,” he shines with justified ego massaging over Timbaland’s throwback break beat, spitting, “I’m a multi-millionaire, homey that’s a fact, but it’s not the ice that makes your wife react.” The strongest union between LL and Tim comes in the form of “Every Sip,” though, a syrupy ode to females and seductive intoxication.

Unfortunately, when other producers check in, The Definition is rather hit-or-miss. 7 Aurelius gives LL an effervescent arrangement of airy vocals and hip-pop to kick vintage game on “Hush,” while Dame Grease brings the old, battle-ready MC out of Uncle L on the menacing “1 In The Morning.” “I’m About To Get Her,” on the other hand, drips with wack juice, plodding along with sub-par verses and an instrumental that sounds way too similar to guest R. Kelly’s hit “Fiesta.” “Move Somethin’” also does little to aid The Definition, suffering from boring horns and a lazy performance from LL.

Clearly, LL Cool J made this album for both car systems and the crates of party DJ’s, and in that respect, The Definition serves its purpose. With a career as prolific as the one he’s had, some down time is allowed, and catering to his commercial fan base is expected. LL doesn’t seem to be hanging up his microphone anytime soon, so until that day comes, females should feel free to continue drooling, while the fellas can continue yearning for a return to the “I Shot Ya” and “4, 3, 2, 1” days. The “G.O.A.T.” who cast a dark cloud over Canibus’ career is nowhere to be found on The Definition.

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