LL Cool J delivered a legitimately good guest verse on a new Action Bronson song and old LL Cool fans got all nostalgic and teary-eyed about it.
Date: June 5
It's hard being a fan, and it's hard to get old. LL Cool J's Radio was, I think, the third rap album I ever owned. When I was fifteen, and grounded after getting busted for having a party when my parents were out of town, I kept the cassette tape in my Walkman for a solid week, memorizing every word of every song and every skit, every cowbell and record scratch. So it's been particularly painful for me to watch his famously up-and-down musical career flatline over the past fifteen years. How many times have I wished he would just, you know, pack it in and make movies about genetically-modified super sharks for the rest of his life? And earlier this year, when things hit a depressing new nadir with the astonishingly terrible "Accidental Racist" song, I hung my head in vicarious shame. So it was surprising to see that the newest rap star to come out of LL's home borough of Queens, Action Bronson, had recruited my old hero to accompany him on a remix of his recent single "Strictly 4 My Jeeps"—a song based around a sample of the 1990 EPMD classic "Rampage," on which LL, again in a guest role, coined a future catchphrase, "Slow down, baby." (Action and LL are joined on the song by another Queens rapper, from yet another era, G-Unit's Lloyd Banks.) And it was downright shocking to hear LL sounding not... actually... half... bad? I slid the Soundcloud needle back and listened again. Yes, indeed, LL was sonning the younger generation more effectively than he has since he told Canibus not to touch the mic on his arm. "Third as fly, y'all half as intelligent/Step on that horseshit like Hannibal's elephants!" Whooo! Fresh! —Dave Bry