When people compile their lists of their Top 5 MC’s, usually it’s the same combination of dudes. There’s alot of Biggie and Tupac, some Jay Z and Rakim, throw in a little Big Daddy Kane and Nas and you have the perfect list of great MC’s. I’ve often wondered why certain rappers never make this elite list despite their longevity. One artist in particular is LL Cool J. With the exception of my older brother (who is 37) it seems as if no else listens to LL and if they do listen to him, they change the stations real quick. Early hits from James Todd like ‘Radio’ and ‘Rock the Bells’ have a raw quality about them and leaves me puzzled when I think of the lack of respect that he gets from fans and fellow rappers. In my attempt to see everyones point of view, I’ve created this list to try to understand how a rapper with such a flourishing career could be so underrated.
1) Abondoning Your Fan Base- Like so many MC’s, LL started to get a little soft. Starting with ‘I Need Love’, he started making music for the ladies. In the past 10 years, his first single released off an album is usually a song for the ladies.
2) Revealing Too Much- In order to get the respect of your peers, you need to make the fellas feel you. Unless your Tupac (who for some reason, rules don’t apply to) men will not respect you if you constantly take off your shirts and lick your lips.
3) Rap Career or Movie Career- Unfortunately, artists like LL or Will Smith have sacrificed their music career status, for box office success. If seems as if having a successful movie career and a respectful music career isn’t an option and the only way to be successful in both is to make movies that your peers find comical.
4) Trying to Please Everyone- Being an MC and staying relevant after 20 years cannot be an easy task. You’re constantly reinventing yourself and trying to stay in the limelight. What many artists fail to realize is that why they’re trying to appeal to the masses, they are losing a sense of who they originally were or selling out as some would say. You can’t please everyone so your best bet is to stay true to who you are as an artist.
5) Cockiness- LL Cool J named one of his album ‘The G.O.A.T.” implying that he was the “Greatest Of All Time”. Bad bad move on his part. You let others call you great. It’s okay to have songs stating your greatness because in order to hear about this confidence you have, one would have to actually listen to your album but to proclaim your greatness in the title of the album, you open yourself up for people to do the complete opposite.
There it is. My Top 5 reasons why LL is not as great and respected as I think he should be. Ironically, one of my favorite LL songs are ‘Doin It Well’ one that I think both men and women can appreciate.