5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on November 29, 2002
"Mama Said Knock You Out" definitely came on time for LL Cool J, after his third album "Walking With a Panther" disappointed heavily. LL rose up from that flat album and a battle with substance abuse to make this comeback, which is one of rap's greatest albums. It came right on time, as the album kicks off with the stereo anthem "Boomin' System". Then the ladies lover praises Black women with the smash single "Around the Way Girl". "Mr. goodbar" is the attogant LL at his best, licking his lips and burning machismo. "Murdergram" has him waging war on anybody with the guts to battle him. ("Pass the brass knuckles, lemme break his jaw!") "Cheesy Rat Blues" has L tackling those who are materialistic and only care about money (it's also pretty funny). Then he comes swinging on the title track, one of hip hop's hardest songs. THEN he does the unthinkable. He disses three MC's in one song. He ripps apart Kool Moe Dee, MC Hammer, and Ice-T on "Til' the Break of Dawn", saying to Hammer that "my old gym teacher ain't supposed to rap". Tracks like these prove why LL is a genius in the battle rap. Songs like "6 Minutes" and "Milky Cereal" are downright catchy, but of course you can't forget the ... chorus of "Jinglin', Baby" (They're jingling, baby/Go 'head baby". That song still rocks any party. Those who hate on LL need to just chillllll, and let him do his thing, and this album controls you from the beginning to the end.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Replete with the 3 R's -- rhyme, rhythm and reason - this album by Mr Cool is distinguished also by its humour. There are lots of very good songs lurking beneath the rap which makes his music palatable even to those not into hiphop. Mr Good Bar contains some hilarious declarations while elsewhere LL proves that rap can be every bit as soulful as, well, soul music. That doesn't mean he's lost his roar - the titl track and Illegal Search are sizzling roots rap pieces bobbing on a funk train. There's also some gospel rap on the last track!
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on December 22, 2002
I have to admit, I was not a big fan of LL Cool J back in the day, with the exception of this album. I had this one on cassette, and I just couldn't stop listening to it. The songs all had a nice rough edge to them, even the more pop numbers. Marley Marl throws down some of his best beats for LL to rhyme over.
First of all, "The Boomin' System" is one of the best songs ever to kick off an album. LL extols the virtues of 12" subwoofers over a track that requires them.
There are plenty of great songs here. "Farmers Blvd." is a great posse cut over a simple, effective piano riff. "Milky Cereal" is a hilarious relationship saga in the style of Coolio's "Ghetto Cartoon" and Ghostface's "The Forest." Of course, Uncle L did it years before either of those two.
Leaving out "Mama Said Knock You Out" isn't doing justice to the album, but everyone knows about that song. What you might not know about is "Jingling Baby (Remixed But Still Jingling)," and my favorite of LL's "I will pimp you no matter what" songs, "Mr. Goodbar."
In an eternal paradox, the Almighty makes his way into LL's lady-pleasing on "The Power of God," and LL gets hassled by the cops on "Illegal Search."
Not having listened to all of LL's albums, I can only claim this one as the best by ignorance. But it's pretty good.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on July 24, 2007
Mama Said Knock You Out was LL Cool J's fourth studio album. By the time of its release in late summer of 1990, it helped cement LL as a long-term force to be reckoned with in hip-hop. 1989's platinum+ seller "Walking with a Panther" was met with mixed reviews by hip-hop's urban audience. The criticisms were legion: `LL had become too commercial'. `He was clearly being upstaged by rival Kool Moe Dee'. `Hardcore acts like Ice-T and N.W.A. had a bigger street following'. `Political rappers like Public Enemy and KRS-One made LL look out of touch'. The list goes on. Fortunately, LL chose to partner with golden-age production maestro Marley Marl for a remix of the single "Jingling Baby", the success of which helped Def Jam to green-light the MSKYO sessions.
Normally, LL skipped a year between releases, but Panther was just barely over a year old when "The Boomin' System", MSKYO's first official single, was released. Essentially an ode to driving slow with your radio blasting, the single sampled the same James Brown bass riff as was used by En Vogue for their debut hit "Hold On" (the radio mix of "System" duplicated it note for note, while the album version tweaked it slightly). The LP's second single, "Around the Way Girl", was a tremendous urban radio hit, where LL gives props to all his female fans: "I want a girl with extensions in her hair/ bamboo earrings, at least two pair." On "Cheesy Rat Blues", LL pokes fun at his own image, imagining himself as a washed up rapper who finds himself pelted with "my old tapes" when he visits the shopping mall.
The title track is a thunderous announcement of LL's return to form: "Don't call it a comeback, I've been here for years/ I'm rocking my peers, puttin' suckers in fear/ making the tears rain down like a monsoon/ listen to the bass go boom!" On the whimsical "Milky Cereal", LL gives his romantic conquests breakfast-cereal names, hearkening back to "My Rhyme Ain't Done". "Illegal Search" (originally a b-side to the "Jingling Baby" remix) finds LL touching a political theme as he narrates a fictional police confrontation. It's a smoother, LL-style take on N.W.A.'s cop-trouble rants. LL manages to directly answer some of his then-rivals on "To Da Break of Dawn": Kool Moe Dee is ripped for his "Star Trek shades", MC Hammer is likened to "my old gym teacher" and Ice-T is derided as a former "downtown car thief". Perhaps the most surprising song is "Farmers Blvd. (The Anthem)", where LL teams up with some childhood rhyming pals for what is his first `posse cut' featuring his own vocals (he had previously contributed written lyrics for the Stop the Violence Movement's "Self-Destruction").
The other album cuts are worthy, so this is fortunately not the album of a few good singles and tedious filler. LL and Marley crafted a hip-hop masterpiece to announce the 1990's, but its appeal is far from dated.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on July 16, 2007
Man...I can't tell you how refreshing it's been to listen to a well-written and well-produced Rap album with varied and original subject matter after some of the albums I've heard more recently. LL Cool J was my favorite rapper from around '86 to 1988: BIGGER AND DEFFER was one of my first two hip-hop albums (the other was PAID IN FULL--even at 9 years old, I really knew how to pick `em) and I used to listen to it constantly. Although I never heard the album (and I still haven't till this day--I need to make it a point to pick up a copy), LL really lost me with the singles from WALKING WITH A PANTHER. That was a vibrant and dynamic time in hip-hop: the field was highly competitive and the music was changing rapidly. There was so much great material being put out by so many different rappers that a single lackluster effort could potentially end a career. That's why LL starts off the title track (one of the most downright fiery and invigorating songs that I've ever heard) by yelling, "Don't call it a comeback, I've been here for years!" Most artists in most genres make "comeback" albums after years of putting out shoddy material, but not so in the world of late 80's/early 90's hip-hop. Things have changed quite a bit though and now many rappers make entire careers out of putting out crap material. There are some incredibly well-written songs on this album: there are no grand aspirations (and really, I would characterize Marley Marl's tasteful, practical and never overdone production the same way) but the straightforward lyrics are still consistently clever. He has a confident and commanding delivery whether he's playing the swagger-filled lover man, the crafty storyteller, or the battle-ready MC, and he consistently has some of the best timing and phrasing that I've ever heard. This could possibly be LL's best album and it's certainly one of Rap music's greatest works. This is fun and entertaining music that serves as a strong example of the surplus of great material that was released during hip-hop's most fruitful and inspired period. It's essential listening for anyone interested in Rap music, and it should be really refreshing to those who were unfortunately introduced to Rap after the majority of the genre was inundated with way too easily predictable gangsta clichés. This one will be making its way back into my regular rotation.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on March 7, 2007
After the luke-warm reaction to his "Walking With A Panther" album LL went back to his old stomping grounds in an attempt to rejuvenate his talents and come back out stronger. It was here while his grandmother (Big Momma)spawned the words of encouragement to her disillusioned grandson "Just Knock'em Out" and so we got this album. LL promptly hooked up with Marley Marl and together they came up with this, the 1st of 2 albums they did together. Marley's production skills were+still are legendary. His beats are bone crunching and the samples that accompany them are always original. They percussion on this album in the form of piano riffs and guitar licks were simply mindblowing as they were used in perfect ration to the rock hard beats and funky basslines. All of this was before LL even ripped a verse!!!!!! Around this time LL was in afew beefs with Kool Moe Dee and Ice-T so alot of his verses were heavy battle type rhymes were he took no prisoners. The title track alone was, is and always will be 1 of the greatest diss records of ALL TIME!! The opening track "The Boomin' System" was about the systems that heads were fitting into their cars and that whole car culture that was peaking in the early 90's. The legendary line "2 mile an hour so everybody sees you" still gets me amped. "Around The Way Girl" was huge back then and still holds its own as a decent rap ballad by an mc that has mastered the genre. "Eat 'Em Up L Chill", "Mr. Good Bar" and "Murdergram" are all tight head nodders that showcase his impressive, more amped, stronger, rejuvinated style to the tee. "Murdergram" is a live performance that will literally blow your mind, what breath control??!! "Cheesy Rat Blues" is a tale about how the tide can turn and you could be left without a pot to p*ss in and what could happen to the people that are supposedly by your side, in times like this. A very personal track. "Farmers Blvd" was a track were LL shouts out his crew and afew of them for some mic time and put it down nicely. Next you hear the immortal words "c'mon man..." and the horns and then all hell breaks loose with "Mama Said Knock You Out" exploding through the speakers. One of my all time favourite hiphop songs EVER. "Milky Cereal" explores the subject of getting laid. Nice beat and funny rhymes. "Jingling Baby" is a superior version than the 1 on the "Walking With A Panther" album, in my opinion. Marley's production is top notch. "To Da Break Of Dawn" is another diss joint where LL rips apart Ice-T and Kool Moe Dee with relative ease to be honest over a smooth hard beat laced with acid tongued rhymes that Im sure would still sting those cats now. "6 Minutes Of Pleasure" and "The Power Of God" were the only tracks that I thought were weaker back then and even more now. The last track that I havent mentioned is "Illegal Search", a humourous tale about the police and their treatment of his race but with a nice funny twist. Still after 16years this is a soundbomb. A timeless classic. He and hiphop certainly dont make joints like this anymore.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on August 15, 2005
After WALKING WITH A PANTHER was met with decidedly mixed fan reaction (though undeniable commercial success), LL fired back by creating his best work yet. The arrangements aren't as intriguing as those of RADIO, but MAMA features a much more inventive and varied sound.
The singles were all over urban radio from 1990 to early 1992, and (like the rest of the disc) they hold up flawlessly. "The Boomin' System" (#48 Pop, #6 R&B, #1 Rap) is the ultimate cruisin' song, while new jack swing-influenced "Around The Way Girl" (#9 Pop, #4 R&B, #1 Rap) is still the best hybrid of R&B and hip hop ever produced. The lessor-known single "6 Minutes Of Pleasure" (#95 Pop, #26 R&B, #7 Rap) is an undervalued gem, while the Grammy award-winning title track (#17 Pop, #12 R&B, #1 Rap) demonstrates what LL is all about.
But while the hits are terrific, the rest of the album is also first rate. This is definitely LL's most consistent album, and he manages to take on a variety of issues, from his own career backlash ("Cheesy Rat Blues") to racist cops (the terrific "Illegal Search"). His zesty humor surfaces in funny parables "Mr. Goodbar" and "Milky Cereal," while he effectively balances the intensity of "Murdergram" with the nostalgia of "Farmers Blvd." "Eat `em Up L Chill" and the remix of "Jingling Baby" are guaranteed party-starters, while "The Power Of God" allows LL to get reflective without being sappy. Basically this is a record where everything works, and virtually nothing could be improved upon. A hip hop tour de force, MAMA will knock you out!
5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on February 14, 2007
If you're looking for the original recording this is NOT it.
The parts of "The Boomin' System" wherein the lyrics are supposed to be "...pass the Heineken..." and "Roll up a fat one..." are silenced out. The CD is fine other than that; my search continues. <.<
on February 20, 2005
Mama Said Knock You Out isn't quite as hard as Radio, instead striking a balance between attitude and accessibility. But its greater variety and more layered arrangements make it LL's most listenable album, as well as keeping it in line with more contemporary sensibilities. Marl's productions on the slower tracks are smooth and soulful, but still funky; as a result, the ladies'-man side of LL's persona is the most convincing it's ever been, and his ballads don't feel sappy for arguably the first time on record. Even apart from the sympathetic musical settings, LL is at his most lyrically acrobatic, and the testosterone-fueled anthems are delivered with a force not often heard since his debut. The album's hits are a microcosm of its range -- "The Boomin' System" is a nod to bass-loving b-boys with car stereos; "Around the Way Girl" is a lush, winning ballad; and the title cut is one of the most blistering statements of purpose in hip-hop. It leaves no doubt that Mama Said Knock You Out was intended to be a tour de force, to regain LL Cool J's credibility while proving that he was still one of rap's most singular talents.
on May 26, 1999
Uncle L. has always done his best work when he's been with a talented producer with a singular creative vision. Marley Marl, the "Quincy Jones of Rap" fits with L's style like yin and yang. Marley's signature East Coast funk stamp is all over this album, from straight-up street anthems ("Mama Said Knock You Out")to the odes to infidelity ("6 Minutes of Pleasure"), to De-La inspired metaphorical buggedness ("Milky Cereal"). My favorite track, though, has to be "Mr. Good Bar". The production of this track is Marley Marl at his best, and L's playboy lyrics could turn the biggest social misfit on your block into Hugh Hefner. I hope Mr. Smith (LL) and Mr. Williams (Marley) reunite soon. Hip-Hop needs them.