LL Cool J – Mama Said Knock You Out

LL Cool J released his fourth studio album “Mama Said Knock You Out” on September 14, 1990.  The album was produced by Marley Marl and LL Cool J himself. The album was released on Def Jam Records and is hailed as one of LL Cool J’s greatest efforts.


Back in the summer of 1990, LL released his track “To Da Break of Dawn” off the “House Party Soundtrack“.  It is considered one of the greatest diss tracks and goes hard after Kool Moe Dee, MC Hammer and Ice-T.  The track is too dope not to leave the complete lyrics to the song here.

[Verse 1]
What is a panther? A animal that kills
I’m like a shark with blood comin out the gills
You could never in your wildest dreams
Get a piece of this gangsta lean straight from Queens
Strong as liquor, to be seen in a limousine
Now you’re gettin done without Vaseline
Wouldn’t bite because your rhymes are puppy chow
Made another million, so competitors bow
Homeboy, hold on, my rhymes are so strong
Nothing could go wrong, so why do you prolong
Songs that ain’t strong, brother, you’re dead wrong
And got the nerve to have them Star Trek shades on
Ha, you can’t handle the whole weight
Skin needs lotion, teeth need Colgate
Wise up, you little burnt up french fry
I’m that type of guy
And I slammed you know, just like a sumo
Put him in Pampers, leave my drawers in his hamper
When I’m through, you need a brand-new identity
I was scoopin girls before you lost your virginity
Your jam is just a dreamin MC scheme
Gettin crushed by a L.L. theme
Somethin like Shaft, put you in a cask’ – bo!
You little blood-clot boy, you must not know
The rep I keep, the MC’s I peep, sweep, play cheap
And freak with a chic unique technique
Get rid of the yukmouth smile
Cause brother, you ain’t got no style

Keep on
(To da break of dawn)
(To da break of dawn)
Keep on
(To da break of dawn)
Hey yo, that’s kinda funky
But check this out here
(Rock that shit)
(To da break of dawn)

[Verse 2 ]
Immaculate styles I use to abuse
MC’s, so light the fuse
And spread the news, you lose
To the damager, microphone manager
Cold crush and bruise and bandage a amateur
That amateur swingin a hammer
From a body bag, so run and get your camera
Get a flick of the stiff dead-shot to get swift
But I’m the wrong brother to dance with
Cause I don’t need a partner to swing
Keep your eyes on the Cool J ring
Shootin the gift, but you just don’t shoot it right
You couldn’t bust a grape in a fruit fight
Wouldn’t throw a rock in a ghost town
So don’t try to play post, clown
You know the L.L.’s back in town
And all the wanna-be sherrifs is gettin shot down
Gimme that microphone
I’mma show you the real meaning of the danger zone
Stop dancin, get to walkin
Shut your old mouth when young folks is talkin
Huh, you little snake in the grass
You swing a hammer, but you couldn’t break a glass
Gimme a lighter – woof!
Now you’re cut loose
From that jherri curl juice
Cool J is back on the map
And when I see ya, I’mma give you a slap
That’s right, a little kick for that crap
Cause my old gym teacher ain’t supposed to rap


[Verse 3]
How dare you stand beside me
I’m Cool, I freeze I-c-e
On your trail and I’mma cut that bull tail
You’re disobedient with the wrong ingredients
But I’mma drink you down over the rocks
While I freak on your album cover jocks
You’re gonna hear a real ill paragraph soon
I took the cover right home to the bathroom
In the immortal words of L.L., ‘hard as hell’
Your broad wears it well
She’s the reason that your record sold a few copies
But your rhymes are sloppy
Like Oscar, and you’re bound to get dropped
And stopped, I ain’t Murray the cop
Nor am I Felix, but I got a bag of tricks
Mr. Pusherman, gimme a fix
So I can show you I’m immune to them romper room tunes
You little hip-hop racoon
I’m not Scarface, but I want more beef
Before you rapped you was a downtown car thief
Workin in a parking lot
A brother with a perm deserves to get burned
So tell me how you like your coat cream?
On a cone, in a bowl, or in a wet dream?
With your tv on channel fuzz
Uncle L, that’s how much damage he does
Here’s 5 dollars, catch a taxi cab
Take your rhymes around the corner to the rap rehab

Keep on
(To da break of dawn)
(To da break of dawn)
I say keep on
(To da break of dawn)

Just wanted to funk it up a little bit
My man Pete Rock is up in the crib
Over here at Marley Marl house
Just coolin out
My man Clash in the house
Sippin on this Bartles & Jaymes premium piece flavor out the cooler
Loungin back
Keep on

Marley Marl then takes the bass line from En Vogue’sHold On” with a slowed down “Funky Drummer” sample to give us the dope “Boomin Systems” where LL talks about the sound system in his trunk.

Sun roof open, so I can feel the wind blow
I don’t give a damn if it cracks my back window
C to the O to the O to the L to the I to the N
To the F to the R to the O to the N to the T to the I to the N
That means I’m chillin
Like Spoonie Gee said, my seats are soft like a bed
They recline way back, so I can get real cozy
I got the gangster tapes in the place
Like a basehead would say: I want bass
I want a hit, I want a dose
You’re rollin up smilin, but you can’t come close
Cos my system is pumpin loud
Like Rakim said: I wanna move the crowd
I warm it up with Kane, fight the power with PE
Tell the cops: you gots to chill with EPMD
This is something devastatin that’ll break your trunk
And remember, Uncle L is like the future of the funk

We all know that it wouldn’t be an LL album if we didn’t have a fly love song from the Future of the Funk.  Marley mashes the Mary Jane GirlsAll Night Long” with Keni Burke’sRising to the Top” and makes everybody (not just the girls) love this track!  How can you not love this?

I want a girl with extensions in her hair
Bamboo earrings, at least two pair
A Fendi bag and a bad attitude
That’s all I need to get me in a good mood
She can walk with a switch and talk with street slang
I love it when a woman ain’t scared to do her thing
Standing at the bus stop sucking on a lollipop
Once she gets pumping its hard to make the hottie stop
She likes to dance to the rap jams
She sweet as brown sugar with the candied yams
Honey coated complexion, using Camay
Lets hear it for the girl, she’s from around the way

Putting all the singles aside, there are some dope tracks on this album that will have you feenin’ for more.  The track is so dope, it has Chuck D quoting him on “Shut Em Down” when he says, “Like Uncle L said I’m ripping up shows

Bring on the mo’s and ho’s
Don’t snooze or doze
Cause I’m rippin up shows
Hold your nose, dead bodies are around
I leave scratch marks under the tears of a clown
I write rhymes that shine like lipstick
So much material, but not materialistic
Imperial styles I use
When the mic is lifted the crowd is amused
Come with it, if you feel you’re full-fledged
Or yell “Geronimo!” and jump off the edge
Your e-n-d is near when I appear
The stage is yours, but wait until the smoke clears
Rhyme sayer, and I’m here to lay a load
So watch a player when he’s playin in player mode
Uncle L’s bad, and you’re soon to say
Cause I rip the mic until the toon decay

LL’s beef with Kool Moe Dee goes deep.  On “Murdergram” he questions Kool Moe Dee’s “blackness”.  LL paints him as a phony and claims the man is a fraud.  The beat doesn’t stop as Marley takes a riff from Earth, Wind and Fire’sMoment of Truth” and makes it one of the dopest cuts off this album.

All of a sudden you’re so proud of black
A baseball hat, but you ain’t saying jack
The ripper is back and you can’t escape
Cause one of my records’ll sell more than your whole tape
I want beef, bring on the rookies
I got more than just Cool J cookies
Rip, rock, crush, stomp the comp, I’m poison come and take a chomp
I bet you your teeth’ll end up around the corner kid
Don’t ask me why I did
Uncivilized damage to a nobody
And I’m carrying a gun if I’m rhyming at the party
New York, Chicago, Detroit, LA
I’ll slay wherever you play
D.C. or Philly, or Baltimore
I murder the rich and maim the poor
Perpetrating in your video, here’s the real schooling
Country accents, who you think you’re fooling?
I play Russian Roulette not Craps
You’re only known cause of Yo MTV raps
And Rap City and B.E.T
And Channel 31, but now here I come
To save the day and now you’re getting done
Like a hooker, don’t drop the soap, crumb
The first sign of the battle you little fink
Is you see blood coming out your kitchen sink
Your mic’s a baby bottle son
Some say they ain’t but I am the one
To slice and dice and fry and boil, to bake and serve a nerd
I heard a word occurred to him that he could move and wouldn’t get
Moved on, like a shotgun blast
Big mouth emcees I’ll bet you none last
Cause they ain’t stable or able
And I boost the party like jumper cables
So plug me in and put me on
Arsenio Hall so I can battle ’em all
From coast to coast, blind, crippled and crazy
You use a dictionary but you still don’t phase me
Listen and weep, you sound cheap
Preach about blackness but you represent wackness

To me, one of the greatest LL cuts is found on this album.  “Cheesy Rat Blues” is a track about how a man can have so many friends when one is rich, but when the cash get’s low, so do the friends.  LL can easily lose everything all of a sudden and find himself shoplifting for food the next day.  It is a completely different LL Cool J on this song.  This is as humble as you will ever hear him.

I wanna hang with my man like, “Let’s do this”
But this man like “Who this?”
That’s right, the brother got two faces
They got me puttin the tips on shoelaces
P on the Puma, a mop and a bucket
My motto is… I don’t care
I don’t give a damn, so what, why try?
I might as well rob some Blake Carrington sucker for his money
It’s so funny
Cars ride by with the boomin system
Sayin, “Leave him alone, my man already dissed him”
Now I’m on the cheeseline, poverty-stricken
As the red tape thickens
I go to the park, they wanna baseball-bat me
I go to the mall, they throw my old tapes at me
I’m so horny
And every girl I know be like, “He’s so corny”
I want money in a hurry
I’m gettin tired of leftover curry
I wanna fall off, but I don’t know where the edge is
I’m so hungry, I eat my neighbor’s hedges
Now I realize I gotta go for mine
It’s windshield time
I take quarters, pennies, dimes and nickles
And a kiddy’s tricycle
I’m a desperado
“I’ma steal your rims” is my motto
I watch wrestlin until I’m dizzy sore
So if you’re cashin your rent check, know how to get busy
Go to the drive-through, run with a milkshake
Go to the supermarket, pocket a raw steak
I need beer
I’mma catch the Miller truck out there
You know how they throw, the newspapers in the morning
The owner don’t want em
I’m the man that they’re laughin at
They say, “Cheesy rat, you ain’t all that.”

The album is jam packed with dope tracks like “Mr. Goodbar“, “Farmer Blvd.” and “Jinglin Baby Remix“.  But the title track is what everybody remembers!   In my honest opinion, this is his best work by far and Marley Marl produced one hell of an album!

-Al E.


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