By Jacob Katel
By Laurie Charles
By Nate "Igor" Smith
By Abel Folgar
By Kat Bein
By Jacob Katel
After years of piddling film roles and sitcom anesthetization, G.O.A.T. finds L.L. back on the right coast, rocking New York hip-hop with something close to the fervor of the seventeen-year-old kid who stole the show in Krush Groove. His stabs at social commentary on “Can't Think” and “Homicide” aren't very convincing, but thankfully G.O.A.T. mostly sticks to the song types on which L.L. built his rep: sex fantasies, battle rhymes, and love-man braggadocio.
The amusingly crass “Imagine That” is the sound of LL breaking into the Britney Spears video “Baby, One More Time” and turning it hardcore, while “Back Where I Belong” announces his return to the streets and puts a definitive end to his high-profile battle with upstart MC Canibus. (“I could've told the world you get your lyrics from the Internet/And spit 'em word for word like you're really a rap vet/How you take metaphors from books and put 'em in your rhymes/How you're really from Canada, and you been frontin' all this time/I heard your second album/That shit is garbage too/LL Cool J and I did this to you”) The stand-out “Fuhgidabowdit” finds the returning warrior confidently sparring with young bucks DMX, Method Man, and Redman.
Like so many hip-hop albums of the post-CD era, this album is way too long. At eighteen tracks and more than 70 minutes of dense beats and rhymes, G.O.A.T. is too much of a good thing. But it is a good thing, and at this late date in his career, that's probably more than we had the right to expect.