Authentic (LL Cool J album)

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Authentic
Studio album by LL Cool J
Released April 30, 2013
Recorded 2011-2013
Henson Recording Studios
Hollywood, California
Westlake Recording Studios
West Hollywood, California
Downtown Music Studios
Fenix Studios
House Of Hits Recording Studios
New York City, New York
Genre Hip hop
Length 47:52
Label S-BRO Music Group, 429 Records[1]
Producer LL Cool J (exec.) Sound Z, Trackmasters, Tricky Stewart, Eddie Van Halen, Jaylien, Marley Marl
LL Cool J chronology
All World 2
(2009)
Authentic
(2013)
Singles from Authentic
  1. "Whaddup"
    Released: February 11, 2013
  2. "We Came To Party"
    Released: March 18, 2013
  3. "Live for You"
    Released: April 16, 2013

Authentic is the thirteenth studio album by American hip hop recording artist LL Cool J. The album was released on April 30, 2013, by S-BRO Music Group, 429 Records. It is his first album since 2008's Exit 13 and his first to not be released on Def Jam. The album features guest appearances from Fitz and The Tantrums, Eddie Van Halen, Snoop Dogg, Fatman Scoop, Seal, Charlie Wilson, Melody Thornton, Earth, Wind & Fire, Bootsy Collins, Travis Barker, Chuck D, Tom Morello, Z-Trip, Mickey Shiloh, Monica and Brad Paisley.

Background[edit]

By June 2012, LL Cool J had begun work on his 13th studio album. He stated, "I'm going to be doing a little bit of the album on the [My Connect Studio], make sure that it is official."[2] On January 20, 2013, he announced on his Twitter account that the album had been pushed back from its original February 12, 2013, release date, saying: "The release date for #AuthenticHipHop has been changed. I want to put more work in.. It's coming."[3] On February 8, 2013, it was announced the album title would be changed from Authentic Hip-Hop to Authentic with a new release date of May 7, 2013, and a new cover.[4] On February 14, 2013, the album's release date was pushed up to April 30, 2013.[5] On March 14, 2013, Eddie Van Halen posted a photo of himself with LL Cool J in front of a mix board. The photo was captioned with "Authentic 4.30.13", suggesting that Eddie would be involved in some way with the album release.[6]

Singles[edit]

The first single "Whaddup" was debuted during the live 2013 Grammy Awards telecast, which features Chuck D, Travis Barker, Tom Morello and Z-Trip.[7] On March 18, 2013, the second single "We Came to Party" was released featuring Snoop Dogg and Fatman Scoop.[8] On April 16, the third single "Live for You" featuring Country music singer Brad Paisley was released.[9]

Critical response[edit]

Professional ratings
Aggregate scores
Source Rating
Metacritic 46/100[10]
Review scores
Source Rating
AllMusic 2.5/5 stars[11]
The Boston Globe (7/10)[12]
HipHopDX 2.5/5 stars[13]
Los Angeles Times 1/4 stars[14]
New York Daily News 3/5 stars[15]
Now 1/5 stars[16]
Rolling Stone 3/5 stars[17]
Slant Magazine 3/5 stars[18]
USA Today 2/4 stars[19]
The Washington Post 2.5/5 stars[20]

Authentic received generally mixed reviews from music critics upon release. At Metacritic, which assigns a normalized rating out of 100 to reviews from mainstream critics, the album received an average score of 46, based on 9 reviews.[10] David Jeffries of Allmusic gave the album two and a half stars out of five, saying "The album doubles down on some of its best ideas, and Eddie, Snoop, Travis, and Uncle Charlie all return for lesser numbers. LL sounds rusty and a bit under-rehearsed as he belts out his iffy punch lines and motivational anthems, but he pours his heart into the pop numbers and sounds at home during the nostalgic throwbacks."[11] Gerrick Kennedy of the Los Angeles Times gave the album one star out of four, saying "Somewhere between Grammy hosting duties, starring on a hit CBS cop drama and thwarting home burglars, LL Cool J has completely lost touch with what launched him into superstardom: rapping. That startling disconnection is what bogs down his 13th album, Authentic.[14]

Ted Scheinman of Slant Magazine gave the album three out of five stars, saying "Three decades as a wildly successful rapper/hip-hopreneur is hard to argue with. LL still has unquenchable ambitions. The next generation probably isn't listening, let alone screaming. But older listeners will find a wistful pleasure in hearing what may be the most heartfelt effort of LL's career."[18] Cristina Jaleru of The Washington Post gave the album two and a half stars out of five, saying "There’s nothing wrong with pandering when one tries to hang on to artistic relevance, especially when producing a balanced, intriguing album. Who knows, maybe that’s the future of music and Cool James is still a pioneer."[20] Steve Jones of USA Today gave the album two stars out of four, saying "He has an eclectic bunch of guests and while he's obviously not aiming at the teen market, there seems to be a conscious effort to expand the fan base. The result is a mixed bag of party anthems and the rap ballads he pioneered years ago."[19] Julia LeConte of Now gave the album one star out of five, saying "Authentic is ridiculous right down to the heavy-breathing interludes, which worked for Usher circa 2003. LL says he’s “hot like ’Pac when he first popped out of prison.” I think he’s delusional. As far as comedy albums go, however, Authentic is the year’s best."[16]

Jay Balfour of HipHopDX gave the album two and a half stars out of five, saying "Unfortunately, Authentic suffers the same fate as LL’s other late-career missteps: too many features and a superficial brand of R&B bog down another release from one of rap’s earliest superstars."[13] Jody Rosen of Rolling Stone gave the album three out of five stars saying, "On Authentic, LL's first LP not released by Def Jam, the guest list is a testament to open-mindedness and crossover ambitions. The beats are unfussy and direct; the choruses are built for radio. LL has never been a dazzling rhymer or a technical virtuoso; he remains a personality first, who injects all his songs – party anthems, boasts, come-ons – with friendliness and fun."[17] Ken Capobianco of The Boston Globe gave the album a seven out of ten, saying "Love songs dominate the disc and the best are the testament to loyalty “Not Leaving You Tonight” (a delicious hook from Fitz and the Tantrums) and an “I Need Love” update, “Give Me Love” (with Seal). When he misfires (“We Came to Party,” the cluttered “Whaddup”), the music and strut feel forced. Amid many old-school R&B guests, Eddie Van Halen appears to set two tracks on fire. Certainly, metal hip-hop is more compromise than authentic, but much of this disc sounds genuine."[12]

Commercial performance[edit]

In its first week of release the album debuted at number 23 on the Billboard 200 and sold 14,000 copies in the United States.[21] In its second week the album sold 5,500 more copies.[22] In its third week the album sold 3,400 more copies.[23] In its fourth week the album sold 2,700 more copies bringing its total sales to 26,000.[24]

Track listing[edit]

No. Title Writer(s) Producer(s) Length
1. "Bath Salt"   J.T. Smith, Jean Claude "Poke" Olivier, Samuel J "Tone" Barnes, Alexander "Spanador" Mosely Trackmasters, Jaylien (co.) 4:12
2. "Not Leaving You Tonight" (featuring Fitz & The Tantrums with Eddie Van Halen) Smith, Jaylien, Alycia Bellamy Jaylien 4:02
3. "New Love" (featuring Charlie Wilson) Smith, Olivier, Barnes, Aaron "Ace 21" Grimes, Theodore "Range" Bowen Trackmasters, Jaylien (co.) 3:13
4. "We Came To Party" (featuring Snoop Dogg and Fatman Scoop) Smith, Calvin Broadus Jaylien 4:15
5. "Give Me Love" (featuring Seal) Smith, Jaylien Jaylien 4:23
6. "Something About You (Love the World)" (featuring Charlie Wilson, Earth, Wind & Fire and Melody Thornton) Smith, Olivier, Barnes, Russel "The Are" Gonzalez, Melody Sangreal Trackmasters, Jaylien (co.), James Todd Smith (co.) 4:13
7. "Bartender Please" (featuring Snoop Dogg, Bootsy Collins and Travis Barker) Smith, Olivier, Barnes, Broadus, Bowen, Mosely Trackmasters, James Todd Smith (co.) 4:34
8. "Whaddup" (featuring Chuck D, Travis Barker, Tom Morello and Z-Trip) Smith, Barnes, Olivier, Keith Shocklee, Carlton Ridenhour, Mosely Trackmasters, Z-Trip (co.) 4:05
9. "Between the Sheetz" (featuring Mickey Shiloh) Smith, Kenneth Coby, Christopher Stewart, Michaela Shiloh SoundZ, Tricky Stewart (co.) 3:48
10. "Closer" (featuring Monica) Smith, Olivier, Barnes, Bowen, Mosely Trackmasters, Jaylien (co.) 3:47
11. "Live For You" (featuring Brad Paisley) Smith, Jaylien Jaylien 3:44
12. "We’re the Greatest" (featuring Eddie Van Halen and Travis Barker) Smith, Olivier, Barnes, Gonzalez, Phillip "Taj" Jackson James Todd Smith & Eddie Van Halen, Trackmasters (co.) 4:05
Total length:
47:52
  • (co) co-producer
Sample credits
  • "Closer" contains samples of Guy's "I Like".
  • "Whaddup" contains samples of Public Enemy's "Welcome to the Terrordome".
  • "Take It" contains samples of The Jones Girls' "When I'm Gone".

Personnel[edit]

  • Cey Adams - Creative Director
  • Travis Barker - Featured Artist
  • Samuel J. Barnes - Composer, Producer
  • Janette Beckman - Photography
  • Alycia Bellamy - Composer
  • Theodore "Range" Bowen - Composer
  • Calvin Broadus - Composer
  • C. Broadus - Composer
  • Matt Brownlie - Assistant
  • Kenneth Coby - Composer
  • Bootsy Collins - Featured Artist
  • Martin Cooke - Engineer
  • Chuck D - Featured Artist
  • Josh Drucker - Assistant
  • Earth, Wind & Fire - Featured Artist
  • Nicolas Essig - Assistant
  • Fatman Scoop - Featured Artist
  • Doug Fenske - Engineer, Mixing
  • Stu Fine - A&R
  • Fitz & the Tantrums - Featured Artist
  • Jason Goldstein - Engineer
  • Russel "The Are" Gonzalez - Composer
  • Aaron Grimes - Composer
  • Chris Holmes - Engineer
  • Phillip "Taj" Jackson - Composer
  • Jaylien - Composer, Producer
  • David Alan Kogut - Art Direction, Package Design
  • Miguel Lara - Assistant
  • LL Cool J - Liner Notes, Primary Artist
  • Jared Lynch - Assistant
  • Glen Marchese - Engineer, Mixing
  • Monica - Featured Artist
  • Tom Morello - Featured Artist
  • Alexander "Spanador" Mosley - Composer
  • Leann Mueller Photography -
  • Jean Claude "Poke" Olivier - Composer, Producer
  • Jeremiah Olvera - Assistant
  • Brad Paisley - Featured Artist
  • Neal H. Pogue - Mixing
  • Herb Powers - Mastering
  • Richard Rich - Assistant
  • Carlton Ridenhour - Composer
  • David Rodriguez - Assistant
  • Melody Sangreal - Composer
  • Seal - Featured Artist
  • Mickey Shiloh - Composer, Featured Artist
  • Keith Shocklee - Composer
  • J.T. Smith - Composer
  • James Todd Smith - Executive Producer, Producer
  • Snoop Dogg - Featured Artist
  • Nancie Stern - Sample Clearance
  • Kyle Stevens - Assistant
  • C. "Tricky" Stewart - Engineer, Producer
  • Christopher Stewart - Composer
  • Melody Thornton - Featured Artist
  • Eddie Van Halen - Featured Artist, Producer
  • David Wild - Transcription
  • Charlie Wilson - Featured Artist
  • Andrew Wuepper - Mixing
  • Sound Z - Producer
  • Z-Trip - Featured Artist, Producer, Scratching

Charts[edit]

Chart (2013) Peak
position
Swiss Albums (Schweizer Hitparade)[26] 57
US Billboard 200[27] 23
US Top R&B/Hip Hop Albums (Billboard)[28] 7
US Independent Albums (Billboard)[29] 4

References[edit]

  1. ^ "429 Records - LL Cool J". album release. 429records.com. Retrieved 4/10/2013.  Check date values in: |accessdate= (help)
  2. ^ JP DelaCuesta (2012-06-26). "AHH Stray News: LL Cool J Working On New Album; Childish Gambino Announces Mixtape Date; Romeo In Talks To Join "Hunger Games" Sequel". AllHipHop.com. Retrieved 2013-09-21. 
  3. ^ "Twitter / llcoolj: The release date for". Twitter.com. Retrieved 2013-09-21. 
  4. ^ Horowitz, Steven J. (2013-02-14). "LL Cool J Announces "Authentic" Release Date | Get The Latest Hip Hop News, Rap News & Hip Hop Album Sales". HipHop DX. Retrieved 2013-09-21. 
  5. ^ Horowitz, Steven (14 February 2013). "LL Cool J Announces "Authentic" Release Date". HipHopDX. Retrieved 14 February 2013. 
  6. ^ "Tijdlijnfoto's". Facebook. Retrieved 2013-04-27. 
  7. ^ "LL Cool J f. Chuck D, Travis Barker, Tom Morello & Z-Trip - Whaddup | New Hip Hop Music & All The New Rap Songs 2011". HipHop DX. 2013-02-11. Retrieved 2013-09-21. 
  8. ^ "New Music: LL Cool J f/ Snoop Dogg & Fatman Scoop – ‘We Came to Party’". Rap-Up.com. 2013-03-18. Retrieved 2013-04-27. 
  9. ^ "iTunes - Music - Live For You (feat. Brad Paisley) - Single by LL Cool J". Itunes.apple.com. 2013-04-16. Retrieved 2013-05-04. 
  10. ^ a b "Authentic Reviews". Metacritic. 2013-04-30. Retrieved 2013-05-13. 
  11. ^ a b Jeffries, David (2013-04-30). "Authentic - LL Cool J : Songs, Reviews, Credits, Awards". AllMusic. Retrieved 2013-05-04. 
  12. ^ a b By Ken Capobianco (2013-04-30). "ALBUM REVIEW: LL Cool J, ‘Authentic’". The Boston Globe. Retrieved 2013-05-13. 
  13. ^ a b Balfour, Jay (2013-05-08). "LL Cool J - Authentic". HipHop DX. Retrieved 2013-05-13. 
  14. ^ a b Kennedy, Gerrick (2013-04-29). "Album review: LL Cool J's 'Authentic'". latimes.com. Retrieved 2013-05-04. 
  15. ^ "LL Cool J, 'Authentic': Album Review". NY Daily News. 2013-04-30. Retrieved 2013-05-04. 
  16. ^ a b By Julia LeConte. "LL Cool J - Authentic | NOW Magazine". Nowtoronto.com. Retrieved 2013-05-13. 
  17. ^ a b By Jody Rosen (2013-04-30). "Authentic | Album Reviews". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 2013-05-04. 
  18. ^ a b "LL Cool J: Authentic | Music Review". Slant Magazine. 2013-04-30. Retrieved 2013-05-04. 
  19. ^ a b "'Authentic' genuinely isn't LL Cool J at his best". Usatoday.com. 2013-04-30. Retrieved 2013-05-04. 
  20. ^ a b Associated Press (2013-04-29). "Music Review: LL Cool J coaxes an authentically inspiring, eclectic lineup on 13th album". The Washington Post. Retrieved 2013-05-04. 
  21. ^ Paine, Jake (2013-05-08). "Hip Hop Album Sales: The Week Ending 5/5/2013". HipHop DX. Retrieved 2013-05-13. 
  22. ^ "Hip Hop Album Sales: The Week Ending 5/12/2013". HipHopDX. Retrieved May 14, 2013. 
  23. ^ "Hip Hop Album Sales: The Week Ending 5/19/2013". HipHopDX. Retrieved May 22, 2013. 
  24. ^ "Hip Hop Album Sales: The Week Ending 5/26/2013". HipHopDX. Retrieved May 29, 2013. 
  25. ^ LL Cool J - Authentic - Only at Target (2013-03-27). "LL Cool J - Authentic - Only at". Target. Retrieved 2013-04-27. 
  26. ^ "LL Cool J – Authetic". Swisscharts.com. Hung Medien. Retrieved May 05, 2013.
  27. ^ "LL Cool J Album & Song Chart History" Billboard 200 for LL Cool J. Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved 2013-09-18.
  28. ^ "LL Cool J Album & Song Chart History" Billboard Top R&B/Hip Hop Albums for LL Cool J. Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved September 19, 2013.
  29. ^ "LL Cool J Album & Song Chart History" Billboard Independent Albums for LL Cool J. Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved December 27, 2013.