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They Reminisce Over You Podcast

Episode 39: LL Cool J - Don't Call It a Comeback

On this episode, we're talking about the career of hip hop legend, LL Cool J. We take a run through his discography, discussing the highs and lows, our favorite tracks and Miguel explains why LL is still the G.O.A.T.

Transcript

Miguel: This is They Reminisce Over You. I'm Miguel.

Christina: And I'm Christina. We wanted to take a minute to make a small request of all our listeners. If you're listening to us on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Good pods or Pod chaser, leave us a five star rating. You can also leave a review as well on Apple, Goodpods and Podchaser. Ratings, and reviews will help us with discoverability. And we want to get this out to as many like-minded folks as we can.

Miguel: We wanna get on the first page of these podcast apps.

Christina: And to move up on the charts as well. So help us get the word out.

Miguel: Make sure to follow and interact with us on social media. We're @troypodcast on the ‘gram and the bird. Also check out our website, troypodcast.com. It's where we post links to a lot of the things that we mention in the show, as well as transcripts and themed playlists that supplement our episodes and more.

Christina: Thank you again for your support. You ready to get into the show?

Miguel: Let's do it.

--

[intro music]

Christina: Welcome back. This is Christina.

Miguel: And I'm Miguel. This week we are talking about a rapper, an actor, Grammy winner. He's the "Ladies love, legend in leather, long and lean and he don't wear pleather." The G.O.A.T., James Todd Smith, AKA LL Cool J.

Christina: AKA Uncle L. AKA uh...

Miguel: He claims Big Elly, but nobody calls him that. But that's who we're talking about this week. So I think we should just get right into it.

Christina: Let's do it.

Miguel: Alright. So I'm obviously a bigger LL Cool J fan than you are.

Christina: That's cause you're old.

Miguel: I'm not old.

Christina: Older.

Miguel: I'm like four years older than you.

Christina: That's a big difference when you're a kid though.

Miguel: Yeah, I guess. That's true. But for me it started very early with this first album Radio. He was 16 when this album came out and as we all know, hip hop is a young man's game or young woman's game.

Christina: Young people.

Miguel: Young people's game. And he was one of the youngest at the time and he talked shit like an adult.

Christina: With a lot of fervor too.

Miguel: He, yes, he had a, a lot of youthful energy is a, a good way to put it. Have you actually listened to these album?

Christina: As I was saying about you being older with the first album being out in 1984, I was five. So I think it's safe to say I didn't listen to the first two albums when they were released. But I am familiar with the hits. But I had to have discovered them a little later on.

Miguel: Yeah. My cousin played him for me cause he used to call himself LL Cool J. I don't know if he's listening to this, but if he is, I'm talking about my cousin, Johnny. And he's a couple years older than me. So he's the one who put me onto LL. And yeah, he would refer to himself as Cool J all the time. So that's how I got into it.

Christina: Alright.

Miguel: So I remember him playing the Radio album for me and with it being so early in hip hop, it was like nothing I had ever heard before.

Christina: Right.

Miguel: So listening to it as an adult, what were your thoughts on the Radio album?

Christina: Well, the first song "I Can't Live Without My Radio," I put in my notes starts off with a bang because he just...what did you say? Teenage energy? He just went right into it. And my first thought was, I can see why young Miguel would like this. And I think I've always just known "Rock the Bells," cause it's referenced a lot. Even though I hadn't listened to the album, it still felt very familiar.

Miguel: Right.

Christina: But the stuff that I wasn't familiar with, I just thought was hilarious. That "You Can't Dance," "That's A Lie."

Miguel: Those are so, so extra.

Christina: Silly's like, okay. Yeah, I get it. He's a teenager. But you hear something like "LL Cool J is bad as hell." And you're like, wow.

Miguel: "Hard as hell."

Christina: "Is hard as hell" and I was just like, yeah, yeah, yeah. Hip hop, hip hop. And then you hear "You Can't Dance." It's like, yeah. Alright.

Miguel: Yeah we'll jump ahead to Bigger And Deffer.

Christina: Well, to me, to me both albums, they didn't really sound that much different because they're like two years apart and listening to the full albums is new to me so.

Miguel: I would say the opposite. They sound completely different to me. Like, Radio is sparse. It's a lot of drums. There's some guitar stabs, some scratching in there, but with Bigger And Deffer, there's actually like more samples with it. So for example, "I'm Bad" has the S.W.A.T. theme song. "I Need Love" had a little keyboards. "Let's Get Ill." All these songs had more samples in it than the previous album, which made me like it even more. I was like, oh, this nigga got better!

Christina: I think to me it just sounds like 80s rap.

Miguel: Yeah I can see that.

Christina: So I couldn't pick out those distinctions the same way you did. I was like, oh, okay. Yeah, this sounds like 80s rap.

Miguel: Something I didn't know until maybe two days ago when I was listening to it, on...what's the song? On "Get Down."

Christina: Mm-hmm.

Miguel: He says "I'm bad like a brother from Alcatraz," as he's saying "I'm bad..." they're scratching in "I'm bad..." as well. I was like, I've never heard that before. And this album is like 30 years old, but I heard it for the first time, the other day.

Christina: Yeah.

Miguel: And the samples were familiar too. So he's sampling himself. There's some Slick Rick's samples on it. And I'm like, how can you use somebody else's song? It just came out last year. There's Run-DMC samples. So that made me like it a lot more. cause these samples were familiar.

Christina: Right.

Miguel: I was like, I know that song that's Run-DMC that—

Christina: That a song you already know and love.

Miguel: Right. And it was familiar. It wasn't like sampling some Parliament-Funkadelic or something. But I said this on the pod before we gotta find a way to bring back the word skeezer. I don't know how we're gonna do it, but we need to bring skeezer back

Christina: You just gotta start using it.

Miguel: I don't know when I'm going to use it, but in 2023—

Christina: You gonna bring back hussy too?

Miguel: Now that's a little too old for me, but I think we need to bring skeezer back.

Christina: Skeezer, okay.


[music transition]

Miguel: His next album was Walking with a Panther.

Christina: Yes. 1989.

Miguel: And it had some of your favorite songs on it.

Christina: "I'm that type of guy."

Miguel: You love that.

Christina: I find that song so creepy because he's just like, "I'm that type of guy."

Miguel: "Oh wee oh, oooooh."

Christina: But there are some hits on here.

Miguel: Okay. What'd you like?

Christina: "Going back to Cali."

Miguel: Okay.

Christina: "‘I don't think so." "Big Ole Butt.'"

Miguel: Right.

Christina: I actually don't know this "Jingling Baby" version.

Miguel: I like this one better.

Christina: I like the Mama Said Knock You Out remix version better. But it could be because I heard that first.

Miguel: Yeah.

Christina: So when I heard this one, I was like, huh, what's this? I think I forgot that that was on the Mama Said Knock You Out album. So when I saw "Jingling Baby," I was ready to get down.

Miguel: Right.

Christina: And I'm like, hmm, what is this?

Miguel: Yeah. The production on that version is way better.

Christina: Right.

Miguel: But I like the way he's rapping on this version better.

Christina: And then there were the sort of, love ballads.

Miguel: Yeah. He tried to go back to that "I Need Love" well.

Christina: These are terrible.

Miguel: It's funny. And I was gonna bring this up later, but may as well get into it now. To me it seems like after Bigger And Deffer, every other album was bad . I shouldn't say bad because all of his albums had hits on them. Yeah. they just weren't as good as the previous album. Because commercially this was a hit, but the streets didn't really like it.

Christina: Yeah. I mean, I guess it's different to have, "I Need Love" one track on the album. But then this "One Shot At Love," "You're My Heart," "Two Different Worlds." I don't know if I would necessarily call it as like, selling out. I mean, I'm also a woman I guess. And so that was like, oh, you're making chick songs, right?

Miguel: Yeah.

Christina: But I just thought they were cheesy. Not so much that it was like—

Miguel: Yeah that wasn't a problem.

Christina: He wasn't—yeah, but he showed on the other songs that he could still rap.

Miguel: Right.

Christina: It was just, those songs were just trying too hard.

Miguel: Yeah, it, it's funny that listening to this album and it fell off or quote unquote, fell off. His last song before this was "Jack The Ripper," which is one of his greatest songs of all time, where he's basically butchering Kool Moe Dee. And that was the last thing we had heard from him, cause it was the b-side to "Going Back to Cali." And then the next song is "I'm That Type Of Guy." It's like how we go from "Jack The Ripper" to "I'm That Type Of Guy?"

Christina: Right.

Miguel: So I found that to be interesting. It wasn't a bad song, but as I'm gonna talk about later, that was like the first of his "LL is doing too much in the videos" type situation. Where he is just sneaking into his own vault, his vault full of women.

Christina: Yeah, LL does a lot.

Miguel: He does.

Christina: He was taking that "ladies love" part a little too far sometimes. I think for me also, again, just because of when these albums were released and when I discovered him, I wasn't there for that falling off conversation.

Miguel: Right.

Christina: To me, it all just sounds like, okay, this was like 80s LL. So to me it doesn't feel like he's falling off or anything. I'm sort of just getting it all at once instead of every two years, like you guys were getting it.

Miguel: And what's funny is like I mentioned the pattern of his albums being up and down. After this album going into the next album, he had a song called "To Da Break Of Dawn" on the House Party soundtrack. And if you look at the listing on the House Party soundtrack, this does not fit in with the theme of it at all. All the rest of the songs are about partying, having a good time. He's talking about Ice-T, Hammer and Kool Moe Dee. So it didn't fit at all, but it kind of set up the next one, which is Mama Said Knock You Out, which is his quote unquote, comeback album at all of 22 years old. How do you have a comeback album at 22?

Christina: And the comeback album was only a year after the last album.

Miguel: Right.

Christina: But I guess he couldn't wait to be like, nah, I haven't fallen off.

Miguel: Basically.

Christina: I'm not gonna hide for three, four years.


[music transition]

Miguel: The only difference between this album and Walking with a Panther to me, is the production. Like the content is pretty much the same. There are less songs, so I guess they figured, you know what? We don't need all this extra filler to just take up space and they just gave you the hits.

Christina: Yeah. And then he figured out, like, okay, if you're gonna make a quote unquote girl song or something for the ladies—"Around the Way Girl." Do it like that. Not these weird ballads.

Miguel: Yeah, that was when he kind of figured it out was on the Mama Said Knock You Out album. Like he's like, I got the records for the streets. And I got the records for the ladies, but they're not cheesy. Like, it's just something that the women will like, but not just go, ugh, that's nasty.

Christina: Well, I mean, he's still got his nasty songs.

Miguel: He does have those too. He didn't give it up completely.

Christina: He did not.

Miguel: But he kind of was able to make better songs for the ladies.

Christina: Right. The thing that I noticed though, just listening to the albums back to back, even though this album is only one year after Walking with a Panther, to me, he just sounded older. A lot changed in a year.

Miguel: I think that goes with the production as well.

Christina: Maybe they were able to just like beef up his vocals?

Miguel: Yeah.

Christina: I think he got like, beefier too, cause I'm just—

Miguel: Oh yeah, he, he had grown a lot between the two albums.

Christina: Because I was just thinking about the album cover. And then I was like, wait a minute, this is only one year after "I'm That Type Of Guy?"

Miguel: Yeah. He got in the gym and decided he was gonna start taking his shirt off.

Christina: Yeah.

Miguel: And it is been on and popping ever since.

Christina: I just thought that was interesting that he literally sounded like he went from a teenager to a man and he looked like it.

Miguel: Well, that's basically what happened. He's like I'm 22 now.

Christina: Well, the funny thing about this is, even though I'm familiar with some of the other songs, I don't remember if I heard them before this album or if I just discovered them after this album, but this is kind of like how I remember like discovering LL Cool J.

Miguel: Okay.

Christina: Like, I know this album. The other stuff is like, oh yeah, those are LL songs.

Miguel: Right. With his shirt off.

Christina: Well.

Miguel: That's why it's embedded in your memory.

Christina: No, no, no. no no! It's just— ‘cause the first song I feel like I remember hearing was "Mama Said Knock You Out."

Miguel: Okay.

Christina: And he was so aggressive, but it was so— it's just like, I don't know, like it, it wraps you up.

Miguel: Okay.

Christina: It's like you're in it. He's just, "Don't call it a comeback!" and you're just like, ooooh, what's going on here?

Miguel: Getting ready to fight?

Christina: Yep. Although of course I loved "Around the Way Girl."

Miguel: Of course.

Christina: I don't know which one was released first, "Mama Said Knock You Out?"

Miguel: No, that was the third single. It was, uh "The Boomin' System."

Christina: Okay. So I probably saw "Around the Way Girl" first.

Miguel: Yeah that was second. And then "Mama Said Knock You Out."

Christina: I didn't even know "Boomin' System" was a single, I just knew it ‘cause I had the album.

Miguel: Yeah, it's the first single and it's the only place you can get the unedited version of "The Boomin' System."

Christina: Okay. Also since I didn't know this was a comeback album because I didn't know the history of his previous albums, "Cheesy Rat Blues" makes a lot more sense knowing that.

Miguel: "Go to the mall, they throw my old tapes at me."

Christina: "You ain't all that."

Miguel: Yeah. That's one of my favorite LL songs.

Christina: Me too!

Miguel: Because he's so self deprecating in it. And like all my friends left me. My girls left me.

Christina: Say he couldn't even get a haircut.

Miguel: And he couldn't get a haircut.

Christina: They throwing his tapes at him.

Miguel: Riding the bus by hanging on the back of it. But "his hand kept slipping."

Christina: Like I just had an emotional response when I put this album on.

Miguel: Right.

Christina: Because like, now I have like memories of listening to it as a kid. Whereas the other stuff is like, it's familiar, but I don't have any connection to it . Also, I still can't get over us seeing a cereal commercial using "Milky Cereal."

Miguel: Yeah, the person who chose that song...

Christina: They had to have snuck it in.

Miguel: Yeah. Let's see if we can get way with this.

Christina: They were like oh there's this song by, you know, that guy from NCIS he has this song called "Milky Cereal." It'd be perfect.

Miguel: I wonder if we can get away with this on TV.

Christina: I can't remember which brand it was.

Miguel: I think it was Honey Nut Cheerios or something.

Christina: But I just remember we were sitting there like, uh, excuse me what? And then, "Milky cereal, baby."

Miguel: Yeah, I'm pretty sure it was Honey Nut Cheerios.

Christina: As there's like, milk and cereal crashing into each other.

Miguel: It was a bit much if you knew the reference, otherwise it's like, oh, they're talking about cereal.

Christina: Yeah. Perfect.

Miguel: Not quite.

Christina: Yeah, so obviously I really love this album because well, I just did.

Miguel: Yeah, the next album, 14 Shots To The Dome, I can't say that I'm a real fan of this one because it kind of goes back and forth. Like I was saying to good to bad or not as good. But the, uh "Pink Cookies in a Plastic Bag..."

Christina: "Crushed by buildings."

Miguel: "Being crushed by buildings." As crazy as that song is, I like it because of the beat.

Christina: I was about to say, I think I just like it cause of the sample.

Miguel: Yeah, the, the album and the video have two different beats. And I like both of them, but I'm in it for that.

Christina: It's like, what does this mean? I don't know, but it's provocative.

Miguel: Basically.

Christina: I just assume it's something sexual, but I have no idea what "pink cookies in a plastic bag, getting crushed by buildings."

Miguel: After we're done recording, I will tell you. Actually I will tell you right now and then just edit this out.

Christina: Okay.

Miguel: The plastic bag is a condom.

Christina: Okay.

Miguel: The building is his dick.

Christina: Ah.

Miguel: And the pink cookies are the pussy.

Christina: I just assumed it was sexual, but I couldn't, I couldn't piece the bits together. You don't have to edit that out.

Miguel: That's what it is. Those were—

Christina: Someone else might have question too.

Miguel: That's true. So we'll leave that in.

Christina: Yeah. I feel like this album—so this one came out in 1993 and I'm noticing a trend of rappers who had came out in the late ‘80s. And we talk about this transition a lot where by like '92, '93 things kind of changed.

Miguel: Right.

Christina: And I feel like rappers who came out in the late 80s, they kind of have to figure out that transition.

Miguel: Yeah.

Christina: And this album sounds like him figuring that out.

Miguel: Yeah, because the next album, Mr. Smith is completely different and this is more of his lane again. Like, you know what, let's stay away from the boom bap stuff. And let me get back to talking to the ladies. So you got, "Hey Lover" and "Doin' It" and "Loungin'" and—

Christina: But he still got the stuff for these quote unquote streets.

Miguel: Yeah.

Christina: With "I Shot Ya."

Miguel: Yeah, he got "I Shot Ya" and the remix. So, like I said, he always had something for the street just to let y'all know, I still got it. I'm just not running around here with baby oil on my chest. I can still give you some bars too.

Christina: I remember being really upset when I bought this album because...you know what I'm gonna say.

Miguel: I do.

Christina: The "Loungin;" single or what you heard in the video—

Miguel: Is not on the album.

Christina: Is not on the album. It's completely different.

Miguel: It is.

Christina: You know, I'm ready to sing "Who do you love?" with Total. And all of a sudden I hear a "Nite and Day" sample. It's like, what is this?!

Miguel: I don't mind that version though.

Christina: I might have liked it if I had heard it first.

Miguel: Right.

Christina: But when I'm expecting something else and you hear that, it's a little bit different.

Miguel: I get it. I understand I have that beef and we've mentioned it several times that you hear a song and a video. You go buy the song—

Christina: Yeah.

Miguel: On the album and it's different. And you wanna flip your car over.

Christina: Right. ‘Cause now you gotta go and buy the single.

Miguel: Yes, exactly. A maxi-single. So you get all these extra remixes.

Christina: I don't need six versions. I just want the video version or the, the version you played on the radio.

Miguel: Right.

Christina: Don't trick me like this. And then I don't think they ever really made it clear. Now I'm trying to remember, like when we watched the video, did it say "Loungin'" remix?

Miguel: Sometimes it did. Sometimes it didn't. You just had to take a roll of the dice and hope you got the right one.

Christina: Right.


[music transition]

Miguel: So the next album was Phenomenon and it's a little bit controversial with "4, 3, 2, 1." It created a beef between him and Canibus.

Christina: Not Canibus' fault though.

Miguel: It really wasn't. It was just, to me, LL being a little bit sensitive, and he should have—

Christina: He felt slighted like Michael Jordan?

Miguel: Yeah, he should have just left this one alone. I don't see how it was a diss.

Christina: Right.

Miguel: Just by him saying, "Hey, that mic on your arm. Let me use it." I don't think that's a diss.

Christina: To me that sounds more like he's looking up to him?

Miguel: Basically.

Christina: Just kind of like...

Miguel: Well...

Christina: I would not have thought anything ill.

Miguel: The original verse[1]— because it has Redman Method, Man, and DMX on the song. So, he mentions something to Method Man about "Where the God's at?" Redman, "where this at?" LL "that mic on your arm, let me borrow that." And then he goes into his verse and that's it. But Mr. Smith took offense to it then told Canibus to change his verse. And he was gonna take his off at the end when he was dissing Canibus, but he didn't. Leading to them having this 30 year beef.

Christina: So then he changed his verse.

Miguel: Yeah, he did. He did everything that was asked of him. He was like, oh, you don't like it? Cool. I'll change it.

Christina: Yeah.

Miguel: And then LL said he was gonna change his from dissing him. And he didn't.

Christina: He didn't.

Miguel: And then they took him out of the video too. But they let him be on the remix version with Master P. That bothers me. Master P is always ruining songs that he shouldn't be on. And I like Master P, but he did not need to be on this song. Or Snoop's, "Lay Low," that's just a rant that I had to get out and let's get back to LL.

Christina: Okay.

Miguel: But yeah, I saw that in 2015...him and Canibus performed the song at some concert that he was performing at. So he has squashed it.

Christina: Okay. Did Canibus say his "Let me borrow the mic" line?

Miguel: No he, he did the, the one that's on the remix.

Christina: Okay.

Miguel: Because when he was starting to perform, I was like, oh, he actually gonna let him perform it. No, he didn't. And then of course LL— this is hilarious. He did his verse with his arm around Canibus. It's like, how you gonna be talking shit about this man with your arm around his neck[2], but that's LL for you.

Christina: I was trying to think of some kind of LL acronym for being outta pocket, but I couldn't.

Miguel: Well, if you want to talk about LL being out of pocket earlier this year, there was a tweet[3] that came out and somebody said that LL Cool J is ridiculous in every video that he's ever been in. Look it up. And it's true. Every video he has been in looks ridiculous. So on his TikTok earlier this year, he responded[4] to all of the tweets with the clips, from the videos of him doing something silly. And that's pretty funny. So you can check that out. We'll link to it on the website, showing LL being ridiculous.

Christina: Some examples? Do you have any?

Miguel: In the "Headsprung" video, he's playing a girl's thigh like a guitar. In the "Doin' It" video he's eating an apple at a peep show. In a LSG video he's playing football with some little kids and he's stiff arming them, knocking them, knocking them all over the field. So just shit like that.

Christina: Yeah.

Miguel: Just silly things. And he said it was his intention to be silly in all of his videos.

Christina: And he was.

Miguel: "6 Minutes of Pleasure." He's sitting in a baby crib[5] and drinking from a baby bottle. That might be the weirdest one.

Christina: I don't think I've ever seen that video.

Miguel: It's hilarious.

Christina: I'll look it up.

Miguel: All right. The next album is the G.O.A.T. Greatest Of All Time.[6] The irony of that is this is my least favorite LL Cool J album. I can't think of one song that I actually like on it.

Christina: Um....my notes are completely blank.

Miguel: That's fair, because I don't have a song listed either. So the irony of him being the greatest of all time, which was a legitimate claim when he said it.

Christina: Right.

Miguel: And this being the result. I was a little disappointed.

Christina: Same.

Miguel: That's all you got?

Christina: Yeah.

Miguel: Well, he bounced back with the next album called 10. So he had "Luv U Better." The one that you don't like, "Paradise." "‘Cause paradise is very nice!"

Christina: See. No, no, I am uh in conflict with that cause I love Amerie's part.

Miguel: I know.

Christina: But that "Paradise is very nice" just throws me off every time. "Paradise is very nice."

Miguel: What about "All I Have?"

Christina: Ugh.

Miguel: You don't like that one either?

Christina: I don't like how JLo's part is so sharp where she's like, "All my pride is all I have..."

Miguel: Right.

Christina: Like, the notes go up so sharply and like, why are you singing it like that? It makes me think of like, you know, when Dru Hill is jumping up and down in the "Tell Me" video?

Miguel: That's how her voice is?

Christina: That's how her voice sounds to me. It's just jumping up and down like Dru Hill.

Miguel: I don't have a problem with either of the songs they don't bother me that much.

Christina: Right.

Miguel: I, I think they're okay.

Christina: Yeah. "Luv U Better" is okay. But those are songs that I think you just like to hear in the club or something.

Miguel: Right.

Christina: I wouldn't just sit at home and listen to it. Although like I said, I do listen to "Paradise" sometimes just for Amerie's part.

Miguel: Okay. That's pretty much the last album I could say that I bought, because that was around the time I just stopped buying albums and I started illegally downloading individual songs that I wanted.

Christina: And eventually legally downloading.

Miguel: And then legally downloading with the streaming of today. Yeah, the next couple albums, The Definition, Todd Smith, Exit 13, Authentic, the only songs I can really give you from those are "Hush" and "Headsprung" where they call him Big Elly.

Christina: I only know "Headsprung." I kind of just skimmed the rest of the albums.

Miguel: "Headsprung," if you were going to clubs, when that song was out, I have never felt a song like that before. My body was vibrating when it would come on, it, it physically hurt. I have never felt bass like that in any song in my life. Like, I make fun of him talking about, "They call me Big Elly," but once the song starts plans like, oh, this is my shit but I'm almost paralyzed cause the bass is just vibrating my entire soul.

Christina: That's just a club hit too. I'm not gonna sit around and listen to "Headsprung."

Miguel: Yeah. I'm not gonna listen to it on my own but...

Christina: But if it comes on at the club

Miguel: If I gotta drink in my hand and we are out somewhere, so like, "They call me Big Elly..." I'll be rapping right along with it.


[music transition]

Miguel: Alright. So we wrapped up all of his discography. What's your album? And what's your favorite song?

Christina: So surprise, surprise, favorite album, Mama Said Knock You Out because that was my like real introduction into LL. And I like most of the songs. There's like two or three that I don't really listen to, but it's an almost no skip.

Miguel: Right.

Christina: And my favorite song is "Around the Way Girl."

Miguel: I could have predicted that, I should have known. I don't know why I asked.

Christina: I would say a close second would either be the "Jingling" remix or "Mama Said Knock You Out."

Miguel: For me, my favorite album is Mr. Smith, cause that's probably the most complete one. Where, like I said, you get a balance of the street stuff and the ladies stuff. So I'm going with that one. And the song, it's a tie. I'm either going with "The Breakthrough" from Bigger And Deffer. Or "Jack The Ripper" because he does all these song for the ladies, but when he gotta get out and battle somebody, he does and he does it well. So I'm going with those two.

Christina: Alright.

Miguel: Alright. So we've talked about his music career. He's had a pretty solid career as an actor. He's been doing it for 20 plus years now. what do you like in terms of his acting? Is there any performance that you like?

Christina: Um, I actually realized I don't really watch much of the stuff he's been acting in, except for "In The House" was probably the only thing I watched regularly.

Miguel: Okay.

Christina: I've caught him in an episode here or there in NCIS. One of those background TV shows. And then we watched Last Holiday semi-recently when we were—

Miguel: That was pretty entertaining.

Christina: That ended up being pretty entertaining. We were doing the Queen Latifah episode. It was funny, seeing the two of them, you know, they're usually like, these very like, cool and strong rappers, but in the movie they're both—

Miguel: Nerds.

Christina: Yeah. They're both nerds basically. So that was fun. So other than that. Oh yeah! And then we watched Krush Groove, couple years ago or something.

Miguel: Yeah.

Christina: And it was just hilarious cause he was forcing himself into every scene.

Miguel: That is so funny. Even places that he shouldn't be he's sweeping, he's delivering food. And then he burst into Rick Rubin's room to try and perform for him. He almost gets shot by Jam Master Jay.

Christina: And I haven't watched any of his movies. I've been meaning to watch, was it "In Too Deep? " Or something about deep.

Miguel: Yeah, with him and Omar Epps.

Christina: Yeah, like that's just a movie that I've just never watched. And he's done a few more movies, but I haven't seen any of them. So I guess I'll say, I don't know if this counts, but I'm gonna say it as my favorite performance, because I don't watch a lot of his shows, is when he did that Gap commercial.

Miguel: Okay.

Christina: And basically turned into an undercover FUBU ad.[7]

Miguel: Okay.

Christina: "For us by us on the low."

Miguel: I was gonna bring that up a little bit later as well. That's one of my favorites.

Christina: I watched an interview with Daymond John,[8] so I have a little more background on that.

Miguel: Okay.

Christina: So I ended up just watching this interview with Daymond John, one of the founders, and Gap wanted LL to help them redefine their preppy image. But according to Daymond, LL said he felt like they were sort of just like, you know, "Hey, just come in. Do one of your little rap things."

Miguel: Right.

Christina: And it's clear that there was no one in the room that it really understood because he's wearing a FUBU hat and also the line "For us by us on the low." Daymond said that Gap had spent 30 million dollars on that ad, and it took them five weeks to pull it because it took that long for someone to realize—

Miguel: That is hilarious.

Christina: That it was basically a FUBU ad. But at the same time, he said that they hired an agency after that. And they found that the demographic that they were trying to reach, it had increased by 300% because these kids thought that you could buy FUBU at the Gap. And so after that, he said that Gap hit him up and they worked it out and Gap decided to spend another 60 million to re-air that commercial.

Miguel: Okay.

Christina: Even though they weren't planning to sell any FUBU at the Gap.

Miguel: Right.

Christina: But they were okay with tricking the kids to come into the Gap to shop, I guess.

Miguel: Well, while you're here...

Christina: Yeah. And then, I mean, it worked out for both Gap and FUBU because he said that FUBU sales also increased as well.

Miguel: Of course. All right, I was not expecting that. I did not know.

Christina: And now you know.

Miguel: Uh, my favorite performance for him as an actor is gonna be Any Given Sunday, just because he played an asshole football player and everybody in the movie were asshole football players. Including Jamie Foxx and Bill Bellamy and Lawrence Taylor. But to me that was his best performance. Uh, I'm sure Jamie Foxx doesn't feel that way because they were fighting on the set and punching each other in the face, but they straightened it out. They're cool now. They've done songs together.

Christina: Okay.

Miguel: All right. So our last topic. LL Cool J. Greatest Of All Time, these are his words. I'm not making this up. He did, and I'm gonna explain why he's the G.O.A.T. in 60 seconds or less.

Christina: Talk that talk!

Miguel: I'm gonna talk that talk. Let me pull up my timer here.

Christina: Okay.

Miguel: Right now.

Christina: 60 seconds.

Miguel: 60 seconds on the clock. The reason that he is the G.O.A.T., he would get into random beefs with people, but he never ran. Some of his best songs were in response to the beef, kinda an animal backed into a corner. Whenever he would have beef or a lackluster album, boom, LL was back! Even though he was a hip hop ladies man. He always had a street record to show that he still had it.

Second reason In Halloween H20[9] he played a security guard and didn't die. Then again in Deep Blue Sea[10], he didn't die. He was the black man who didn't die in movies, breaking a long tradition niggas getting killed in the first seven minutes of horror movies.

Thirdly he dropped a FUBU reference in the middle of a Gap commercial while wearing a FUBU cap. Then we went to the Gap looking for FUBU.

Most importantly, he originated the term[11] G.O.A.T. Based on that, he's it. Other rappers have been claiming titles from the beginning. If somebody else wanted to they would've claimed it. People had said it before, he made the acronym. It's his. Boom. 60 seconds.

Christina: I have no arguments.

Miguel: Well, yeah, you can't. You can't argue that fact.


[music transition]

Miguel: Alright. Now that I've told you my reason for him being the greatest of all time, do you have any thoughts on his career and his place in pop culture?

Christina: Well, I think that if you could start when you're 16, back in the ‘80s, and even if now some people only know him as the bald guy on NCIS. The fact that he's still like relevant, you can't really...can't really argue with it.

Miguel: Yeah.

Christina: Like, it's an illustrious, illustrious and there's just so many hits. I was watching, when he got inducted in the hall of fame and Dr. Dre did the speech.

Miguel: Right.

Christina: And it was just hilarious cause he kind of ribbed him a little bit for saying "I'm going back to Cali. I don't think so." And then he says, "Where do you live now?"

Miguel: Hey, everybody makes it out to California. Once you hit it big, that's where you make it.

Christina: Yeah, but they did the little montage of his career of course. And I'm sure that was hard to put together to pare it all down to like two minutes. Yeah I think a lot of times, especially for artists that we loved a lot when we were young, as their careers get longer and we just kind of start to lose interest. I think sometimes you just forget until you take the time, to kind of—

Miguel: Go through everything.

Christina: Go through everything. I've said this many times on the pod. Listening to entire catalogs is a completely different experience than listening to an album every couple of years.

Miguel: Right. Well, the way I look at it is, his career basically laid the blueprint for other rappers to follow. He's the, I'm on the corner with the dudes, but I'm sexy enough for the ladies. So I can take my shirt off and perform with baby oil on my chest.

Christina: And continually lick his lips.

Miguel: Licking his lips all the time. He's the reason that Tupac and 50 Cent and Nelly and Ja Rule could pull this off convincingly.

Christina: That's a lot of shirtless rappers that you just named.

Miguel: Exactly. And it it's all from him. He was one of the first rappers to get into acting, he made that transition. He's like, hosting Grammy's now.

Christina: Right.

Miguel: He was honored[12] at the Kennedy Center. Like you said, he is in the Rock and Roll Hall Of Fame. He's a legit legend. Even if he does look ridiculous in his music videos, you cannot take away what he's done. And that's why he is the greatest of all time.

Christina: I mean, if you coined the term, I guess you kind of have to be, right?

Miguel: That's my point. Even if he's not the best rapper, he claimed that title. It's his, you can't take it away from him.

Christina: I agree.

Miguel: All right. You got anything else you wanna say about James Todd Smith?

Christina: I don't think so.

Miguel: Me neither. That's all I have for this episode. So we're gonna wrap it up here. I'm just gonna say check us out on social media @troypodcast check out our website, troypodcast.com. Make sure to rate and follow on your podcast services of choice. Leave us a five star review on Apple, Podchaser or Goodpods. If you don't do that, I'm gonna come to your house and go [random babbling.] Okay I'm not gonna do that.

Christina: Uh...please don't.

Miguel: But yeah, just go ahead and—

Christina: That wasn't strange at all.

Miguel: Give us five stars and leave a review, if you can. Would you like to add anything else?

Christina: I have nothing to add.

Miguel: I think it's time to go ahead and shut this one down.

Christina: I think so.

Miguel: We'll see you guys again in two weeks. Bye.