LL Cool J – Mr. Smith

ll-cool-l-mr-smith-back-n-the-day-buffetLL Cool J released his sixth studio album “Mr. Smith” on November 21, 1995.  The album was produced by Trackmasters, Easy Mo Bee, Chyskillz, Chad Elliot and Rashad Smith.  The album was released on Def Jam Records and was one of his more successful albums in his catalog.

The last time we had heard LL, he tried going all hardcore on us on his 1993 album “14 Shots to the Dome”.  He went back to his love song ballads and got it back on track.

Hey Lover” is another one of those LL love ballads that we are so used to from the Farmers Blvd. native.  He recruits the R&B group Boyz II Men to sing the hook and it becomes one of his greatest love ballads of all time.

Trackmasters takes Michael Jackson’sThe Lady in My Life” beat to set the mood and have LL put his signature love rhymes nicely on top of this classic song.  He talks about a girl he sees, wants but can never have.  The man even dreams of marrying her and making her his wife, but in reality her boyfriends love for her is way to strong for him to break.  The lyrics are nice and romantic and Boyz II Men give it that “seal of approval”.

It was Harlem at the Ruckers
I saw with your man
smiling, huh, a coach bag in your hand
I was laying in the coup with my hat turned back
we caught eyes for a moment, and that was that
so skated off, as you strolled off
looking at them legs, god damn they looked so soft (so fine)
I gotta take ya from your man that’s my mission
If his love is real he got ta handle competition
you only knew about 5 months (that’s right)
besides he drinks too much and smokes too many blunts
and I’ve been working out everyday thinking bout you
looking at my own eyes in the rear view
catching flash backs of our eye contact
wish i could lay ya on your stomach and caress your back
i would hold ya in my arms and ease your fears
I can’t believe it, I hadn’t had a crush in years

On the track “Doin’ It” he uses the track “Wild Thang” by 2 Much and adds his vocals to make his version of the song.  The song makes guys think they can rap to a girl like that, and the girls, well, they love Cool James!  The track was meant for Biggie Smalls (hence the “Go Brooklyn”) and when he passed, LL took the chance!  It’s one of the greatest tracks off this album.

It’s the first time together and I’m feeling kinda horny
Conventional methods of makin love kinda bore me
I wanna knock your block off, get my rocks off
Blow your socks off make sure your G spots soft
[LeShaun]
I’m gonna call you Big Daddy and scream your name
Matter fact I can’t wait for your candy rain
[LL Cool J]
So what cha sayin, I get my swerve on, bring it live
Make it last forever, damn the kitty cat’s tight
[LeShaun]
Mmm… daddy slow down your flow
Put it on me like G baby nice and slow
I need a rough neck nigga Mandingoin a sec
Who ain’t afraid to pull my hair and spank me from the back
[LL Cool J]
No doubt, I’m the playa that you’re talkin about
[LeShaun]
But do you really think that you can work it out
[LL Cool J]
I guarantee shorty it’s real, baby stick it out
Here comes the man of steel

On “Loungin” we go back to the fly-love-songs that work.  The album version uses an Al B Sure sample of “Day and Nite“.  The album version was dope but the remix is 10 times better.  He uses Bernard Wright’sWho Do You Love” set the tone for the remix.  Total sings the hook and LL gives us new verses.

How you doin miss? My name is L I’m from Queens
I heard about your man, he like to lace you with cream
Dolce Gabbana, Mo-schi-no with Donna jeans
But he slipped up, and threw his rock to a fiend
He be playin like a Willie cause he dress ya dove
Neva knowin’ that his woman is in need of love
You got Versace gold link stomach chains with rocks
Official hair style but you stuck up in the spot
Makin love, Duke is weak then he fallin asleep
You on the phone wit your old peeps dyin to creep ‘tween my sheets
So what you got Chanel on your feet
Hot sex on a platter makes the mission complete, uh

One of the greatest tracks off this album is “I Shot Ya”.  We get 2 versions of the some with the original being all LL.  We get a remix of a song that was already bangin’ and we get featured verses from Keith Murray, Prodigy, Fat Joe and Foxy Brown.  “I Shot Ya” uses a riff from Lyn Collins “Put It on the Line” and LL has the most memorable lines that include the diss line,

What the fuck, I thought I conquered the whole world
Crushed Moe Dee, Hammer and Ice-T’s girl

As for the title, it has been said that this was a song that was aimed at 2Pac since it was similar to “Who Shot Ya?” by Biggie.  Tupac even approached Keith Murray asking if the song was about him since the track was released months after he got shot in New York.  The track is highlight of the album!

Word, I’m here to crush all my peers
Rhymes of the month in The Source for twenty years
Niggas scared, I’m detrimental to your mental state
I use my presidential Rolex to be the bait
Niggas fight, Glock cocked ya temple gets fucked
MC’s, that fuck with LL they gets bucked
That’s real, what’s up with that I Shot Ya deal
Light shit, niggas slip now how the bullet feel

Lasty on the track “Hip Hop“, LL pays homage to all the MC that came before him and after him.  He gives props to everyone from Grandmaster Flash to Craig Mack.   Over a dope sample of the S.O.S. Band’sTell Me If You Still Care” LL spits,

Kane’s era was terror, he warmed it up
Parrish and Erick, cat lyrics that’ll make ya turn it up
And I was in the cut, chillin’ in my drop-top Benz with friends, Loungin’ with my mens, laughin ’bout all the ends that I spends
Making snaps, pumping Kool G Rap and Biz
Dapper Dan, Dookie wrotes I’m about to show what time it is
At the rooftop, I was with Doug E.Fresh and Slick Rick
“La Di Da Di, who likes to party?” was the fat shit
I mean, I saw this hip-hop thing on every level
Chuck D, P.E., yes the rhythm and the rebel
I can reminisce the black fist, Uzi, Terminators
Terrordome techniques that terrorize the lighter shade-a
It’s all about the game that we play everyday
Eric B & Rakim flow to such a different way
I’m lovin’ hip-hop cos it help brothers escape
Let’s celebrate our music people before it’s too late

The album is dope but cannot touch albums like “Radio“, “Bad“, or “Mama Said Knock You Out“.  The album still has some dope joints, but falls short.  This just might be the last great LL album even though seven more albums have been released since!  We salute you LL not just for this album, but for all the great music you have provided!  Peace!!!

-Al E.

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