"Authentic; Photo:N/A"After nearly 30 years in the rap game, LL Cool J now finds himself in an all too familiar situation for veterans of his ilk. He’s Ali against Holmes. Jordan in a Wizards uniform. A relic who desperately needs to retire. Moreover, he needs to take the pen he used to write Authentic with and ritualistically smash it into pieces because that same well of inspiration that was an oasis to him before is now his worst enemy. Authentic contains every LL cliche you can possibly imagine, everything from shameless braggodicio and unnerving hype to an inordinate amount of lip smacking. Here are five reasons why LL should thank his lucky stars that NCIS: Los Angeles got picked up for another season.

 

Give Me Love

Give me Love; Photo:N/A

“Give Me Love” is exactly what the title implies; a shameless, almost desperate cry for attention – one last grasp at the spotlight that was never really his to begin with. The pulse of this one beats to the same rhythm as “I Need Love,” but never has a love-themed rap song sounded so dated. It’s too reliant on its elementary themes to become anything more than a knock off, an audible equivalent to FUBU: [LISTEN]

Dear diary
I hope she feels the same
I hope she keeps loving me
Keeps loving me as I’m loving
While I’m learning to love her

Whaddup

Whaddup; Photo:N/A

Hearing LL talk about revolution is about as moving as Marion Hill and his promise to return to the NFL. Granted the main idea is there, but the execution is way off. He thinks that between his rep and how loud he shouts into a microphone it’s somehow enough to forget about Deep Blue Sea or even worse, Rollerball. He made his decision to go Hollywood a while ago. And not that that should destroy his credibility, but his statements are far too vague to resonate with any sort of force: [LISTEN]

I can’t take it no more
My nerves so raw
This economy’s out of control
I kick down your door

Between the Sheetz

Between the Sheetz; Photo:N/A

LL’s always been corny. It was just a matter of how much of it can he get away with before it catches up to him. That time is now. He’s fully exposed as a halfwit writer – one that relies on over the top sexual braggadocio to fill in the blanks. His constant lip smattering and knuckle cracking make him more a character of himself than the legend he’s supposed to be: [LISTEN]

I won’t tell nobody baby, you can trust me
You swearin’ that it’s good, I’m thinkin’ it must be
I’m kissin’ on your thighs, relax, don’t rush me
Let me take my time, make your pretty face ugly

Live for You

Live for You; Photo:N/A

Throughout the album, and on this song in particular, there’s this back and forth going on where LL is either trying to be Don “Magic” Juan or Romeo Montague. As terribly polarizing as that is, LL – in between Brad Paisley’s awkwardly auto-tuned hook – does touch upon a morsel of truth, which is that he needs to eliminate certain things in his life. Hopefully that’ll include any and all collaborations with Paisley: [LISTEN]

Tone down the ego, minimize the hate
You add to the magic I was put here to create
You make my vision clearer when I can’t see straight
Show me parts of my life that I need to elminate

We’re the Greatest

We're the Greatest; Photo:N/A

LL’s the type of guy that when he believes in something he’ll see it though to the end – even if he runs the risk of looking like a complete imbecile. Where he finds the inspiration for this song is beyond any reasonable scope of understanding. The content comes from all directions with seemingly no interest in establishing any sort of clear focus. It’s those nonsensical statements that riddle this album with bullet holes: [LISTEN]

You can’t take my God from inside of me
Crosses up, light up the sky with me
I got a lot of crazy crazy on my mind
Like what’s the real reason that the pope resigned