LL Cool J Authentic

LL Cool J Authentic
3
Circling the 14th studio album of one James Todd Smith, it's tempting to shift into full snark, especially in light of the fact that the original title for this project was "Authentic Hip-Hop." LL Cool J has reinvented himself as a television actor/award show host, but the attempts to appeal to his current conservative network television demographic, bringing in an ill-advised and incongruous coterie of genre artists like Eddie Van Halen, Snoop Dogg, Fatman Scoop and Travis Barker, fall flat. The overstuffed "Something About You" (with Earth, Wind & Fire, Charlie Wilson and ex-Pussycat Girl Melody Thornton) feels like a good groove, but isn't. "Give Me Love" is an apparent "I Need Love" redux (with Seal on hand to over-emote in his inimitable way). And we're not sure what the country-flavoured "Live For You" (with "Accidental Racist" partner Brad Paisley) is all about. But LL can still string rhymes together, and if he wasn't so earnest over the entire proceedings the album would be completely dismissible. He will forever have a wing in the O.G. hip-hop hall of fame, but redundant projects like Authentic do him no favours in the long run. (429)