The Time LL Cool J Rapped as a Genetically Modified Shark
Thursday night, veteran rhymesmith and mic controller LL Cool J leads the charge of hip-hop's all time greats, including Ice Cube, Public Enemy and De La Soul, for a night of rap royalty at Roseland Ballroom. While Mr. Cool James has given us over 25 years of undisputed rap classics, he's also been fearless in terms of the topics he's been willing to explore on record. While not necessarily good or bad things, they're relegated to a puzzling category of memorable "LL Things." In advance of the show, we revisit LL's most bizarre moments.
LL Cool J
"I'm So Bad I Can..." wait, what?
LL's been delightfully braggadocios his entire career. Since he was "only 18 making more than your dad," nobody's ever faulted him for being full of himself and hard as hell. Amidst his boasts, however, is the baffling line on "Clap Your Hands" where he says "I'm so bad, I can suck my own dick." It's odd to imagine some night in Queens where everything's going on as usual and suddenly you hear "Hey guys, check this out!" While it has befuddled rap listeners for years, the line is likely explainable from LL's rumored 1980s infatuation with pornography. Considering his efforts to be looked at as rap's Ron Jeremy, LL perhaps looked to follow in "The Hedgehog's" legacy by mimicking Jeremy's gift of auto-fellatio.
A Gripping Cereal-Centric Street Narrative
LL Cool J's Mama Said Knock You Out is rightfully heralded as both a classic album and a highlight from a career with no shortage of highlights. But while the story of the record's inspiration, the immortal video for the title track and the infectious crossover success of "Around the Way Girl" are its most discussed elements, the record also contained a storytelling track called "Milky Cereal," based around the names of different breakfast foods. In it he makes some bold choices, like giving voice to a box of Hungry Jack in a way that makes it sound like Mike Tyson
"Pink Cookies in a Plastic Bag Being Crushed by Buildings"
From the start, LL Cool J's always been hard as hell. He's bad, walks with panthers and even has a mother figure who encourage he render you unconscious. Yet, the '90s were such a time for celebrating ruggedness in hip-hop, that LL somehow still felt compelled to toughen up his image. So, for his 14 Shots to the Dome album, he returned looking harder than ever, sipping a 40 and morphing into a powder-keg of testosterone. What resulted is the most head-scratching metaphor for sex ever committed to a rap record. "Pink Cookies in a Plastic Bag Being Crushed By Buildings" was the lead single from 14 Shots and whether this was Cool J at his creative peak (he DOES hide the names of 30 other MCs in his verses) or low-point (the track's name/hook) is still debated today.