3. LL Cool J
It's so unbelievably hard to sustain an audience for 20 years, let alone five but somehow this guy has done it. In 1990, LL Cool J released Mama Said Knock You Out, a response to the critical disappointment that was the previous year's Walking with a Panther. It was cheesy and pandering, a caricature of his character. (Most disappointing part? That there's a jaguar on the cover, not a panther.)
Mama Said Knock You Out was the fourth (fourth!) single released off the album of the same name, after the baby soft "Around the Way Girl." The first, "To da Break of Dawn," went for the necks of everyone who had cold dissed him in his moment of weakness: MC Hammer, Ice-T and Kool Moe Dee. Men loved the aggression; women loved his muscles. These songs crossed over, a change from 1989's "Big Ole Butt" and "One Shot at Love," which he had so blatantly tried to force on suburban audiences.
This time, he put out five singles, and they all hit! It's because of this record that LL Cool J is talked about today. For the record: I got through all of that without calling it a comeback or saying "Don't call it a comeback" or thinking of a witty comeback for if LL Cool J gets mad about this.