Tuesday, 24 April 2007

LL Cool J - 14 Shots To The Dome & Mr. Smith

An Old Legend who if you like kinda soled out - namely James Todd Smith III (born January 14, 1968), better known as LL Cool J, is an American hip hop artist and actor. He is best known for romantic ballads like "I Need Love" as well as pioneering pop rap like "I Can't Live Without My Radio", "I'm Bad", "Boomin' System", & "Mama Said Knock You Out". He has also appeared in several films. LL Cool J is an important figure within the hip hop community, and is one of a few hip-hop stars of his era to sustain a successful recording career for more than two decades. He has released 12 albums and a greatest hits compilation so far, with his next album, Exit 13, set to be released sometime in May, 2007. The album will be the last for LL's record deal with Def Jam Recordings, a deal which has lasted more than twenty years, making it the longest single hip hop deal to date.

Around the late 1980s, hip hop began experiencing a shift in consciousness away from the music's early themes of partying and braggadocio, to more socially aware issues such as drug abuse, race and racism, and economic empowerment. LL Cool J, as a result, experienced a drop in popularity due to the view that his music was behind the times and materialistic.

Following this, LL released Mama Said Knock You Out generally leaning towards a tough street image. The record reestablished his reputation in the hip hop community. It spawned three hit singles, "The Boomin' System," "Around the Way Girl," and the title track, which received special notice after LL Cool J's dynamic performance of it during an episode of MTV Unplugged. It was also featured in the film The Hard Way. The album included themes of police misconduct, spirituality along with back-to-basics hip-hop party rocking. Mama Said... eventually went on to sell over two million copies. It marked the first of many self-reinventions LL Cool J would undergo to adapt to hip hop's often changing atmosphere.

After acting in The Hard Way and Toys, he released 14 Shots To The Dome (1993) (definately his best album) to muted sales and mixed reviews, despite producing the small hit "Back Seat of My Jeep." He starred in In the House, an NBC sitcom, before releasing Mr. Smith (1995), which went on to sell over two million copies. Its singles, "Doin' It" and "Loungin", were two of the biggest songs in 1996 and both songs' music videos were hugely successful on MTV. Another of the album's singles, "Hey Lover", featured Boyz II Men sampling Michael Jackson's "Lady of my Life," which eventually became one of the first hip hop music videos to air on American VH1. The song also earned LL a Grammy Award.

In 1996, LL also helped to launch a clothing line named FUBU — an acronym for "For Us, By Us", meaning the clothes were made for, and marketed to, African-Americans by African-Americans. Around this time he became partially involved in the East Coast-West Coast hip hop rivalry when 2Pac dissed him, apparently in response to LL Cool J's "I Shot Ya" and its remix, both of which were featured on his "Mr. Smith" album. Neither of the songs however mention 2Pac or the simmering East Coast-West Coast conflict.

LL Cool J (93) 14 Shots To the Dome

If You Want These Then You Know Where to Buy Em'

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