With Common and Xzibit taking the Hollywood roles that James Todd Smith might have chewed on a few years ago, it's good to know that LL Cool J has recovered from the 2000-era drubbing he received from Canibus and is still capable of knocking out a decent album. Simply running through his extensive resumé makes for impressive subject matter when welded to orchestral, bombastic production. That never gets old if done right, and that happens often here.
This reinvigorated 40-year-old (!) Queens loudmouth makes a somewhat fleshy final Def Jam album, but it's well-chiselled compared to his last ugly, irrelevant albums. Sure, it starts sounding the same near the end, when LL rehashes typical templates and boasts and Wyclef joins him on a pensive missive to the president, but LL Cool J's finale, Dear Hip Hop, would make Dan-E-O proud. Ultimately, his "greatest of all time" claims remain exaggerated (I'd give that to Nas). LL is more like the Energizer Bunny.