Mama Said Knock You Out

Mama Said Knock You Out

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LL Cool J's egotism is his m.o., his sex appeal, his greatest strength. He'd been on top of the world since he started scoring hits as a teenager, but anyone who's been in the rap game for five years, as he'd been when Mama arrived, has something to prove. So he came out swinging-literally-with the title track, which claims boxing trash talk as proto-rap and turns it into a declaration of ongoing mastery. Beyond that, Mama, with it's ultra-hard Marley Marl production, pumps up his love-man rep (the sweetly affectionate "Around the Way Girl" and an even hornier remix of "Jingling Baby") and his ego (pretty much everything else). It's mostly just old-school boasting, but damn if it isn't deserved.

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