Mama Said Knock You Out

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Mama Said Knock You Out
Mama Said Knock You Out (LL Cool J album - cover art).jpg
Studio album by
ReleasedAugust 28, 1990 (1990-08-28)
StudioMarley Marl's House of Hits in Chestnut Ridge and Chung King House of Metal in New York City
GenreGolden age hip hop
LabelDef Jam
ProducerBobby "Bobcat" Ervin, LL Cool J, Marley Marl
LL Cool J chronology
Walking with a Panther
Mama Said Knock You Out
14 Shots to the Dome
Singles from Mama Said Knock You Out
  1. "To da Break of Dawn"
    Released: June 17, 1990
  2. "The Boomin' System"
    Released: August 2, 1990
  3. "Around the Way Girl"
    Released: November 20, 1990
  4. "Mama Said Knock You Out"
    Released: February 26, 1991
  5. "6 Minutes of Pleasure"
    Released: May 30, 1991

Mama Said Knock You Out is the fourth studio album by American rapper LL Cool J. It was produced mostly by Marley Marl and recorded at his "House of Hits" home studio in Chestnut Ridge and at Chung King House of Metal in New York City.[1] After the disappointing reception of LL Cool's 1989 album Walking with a Panther, Mama Said Knock You Out was released by Def Jam Recordings in 1990 to commercial and critical success.[2]

Release and reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
AllMusic5/5 stars[3]
Chicago Tribune3.5/4 stars[4]
Encyclopedia of Popular Music4/5 stars[5]
Entertainment WeeklyB[6]
MusicHound R&B5/5[7]
Rolling Stone3.5/5 stars[8]
The Rolling Stone Album Guide4/5 stars[9]
Spin Alternative Record Guide9/10[11]
The Village VoiceA[12]

Mama Said Knock You Out was released on August 27, 1990, by Def Jam Recordings.[13] It was promoted with five singles, four of which became hits: "The Boomin' System," "Around the Way Girl," the title track, and "6 Minutes of Pleasure."[citation needed] The album was certified double platinum in the United States, having shipped two million copies.[13] According to Yahoo! Music's Frank Meyer, Mama Said Knock You Out "seemed to set the world on fire in 1990", helped by its hit title track and LL Cool J's "sweaty performance" on MTV Unplugged.[14] The title song reached number 17[15] on the Billboard Hot 100 and was certified gold by the RIAA. LL Cool J won Best Rap Solo Performance at the Grammy Awards of 1992.[citation needed]

In The New York Times, Jon Pareles wrote that Mama Said Knock You Out reestablished LL Cool J as "the most articulate of the homeboys", sounding "tougher and funnier" rapping about "crass materialism" and "simple pleasures".[16] In Mark Cooper's review for Q, he wrote, "This 22-year-old veteran has lost neither his eye for everyday detail nor his sheer relish for words."[17] Select magazine's Richard Cook said, "LL's stack of samples add the icing to a cake that is all dark, remorseless rhythm, a lo-fi drum beat shadowed by a crude bass rumble. It could be Jamaican dub they're making here, if it weren't for LL's slipper lip."[10] Mama Said Knock You Out was voted the ninth best record of 1990 in the Pazz & Jop, an annual poll of American critics published by The Village Voice.[18]

The album was included in Hip Hop Connection's The phat forty, a rundown of rap's greatest albums. "The LP's title track proved to be the single of the year and probably LL's best record since 'I'm Bad'," HHC said, "while 'Eat 'Em Up L Chill' and 'To Da Break Of Dawn' was [sic] the sound of Cool J getting his own back – and in style."[19] In 1998, it was listed in The Source's 100 Best Rap Albums. In 2005, comedian Chris Rock listed it as the sixth greatest hip-hop album ever in a guest article for Rolling Stone.[20]

Track listing[edit]

The single version of the track "Jingling Baby (Remixed but Still Jingling)" was remixed by Marley Marl.

1."The Boomin' System"3:41
2."Around the Way Girl"
  • Marl
  • LL Cool J
3."Eat 'em Up, L Chill"
  • Marl
  • LL Cool J
4."Mr. Good Bar"
  • Marl
  • LL Cool J
5."Murdergram (Live at Rapmania)"
  • Marl
  • LL Cool J
6."Cheesy Rat Blues"
  • Marl
  • LL Cool J
7."Farmers Blvd. (Our Anthem)" (featuring Big Money Grip, Bomb, HIC)
  • Marl
  • LL Cool J
8."Mama Said Knock You Out"
9."Milky Cereal"
  • Marl
  • LL Cool J
10."Jingling Baby (Remixed but Still Jingling)"
  • LL Cool J
11."To da Break of Dawn"
  • Marl
  • LL Cool J
12."6 Minutes of Pleasure"
  • Marl
  • LL Cool J
13."Illegal Search'"
  • Marl
  • LL Cool J
14."The Power of God"
  • Marl
  • LL Cool J
Japan bonus track
  1. "Mama Said Knock You Out [Steering Mix]

The Boomin' System is censored on all editions of the album. The 12" single has the uncensored version.

Sampling credits[edit]


Credits are adapted from AllMusic.[3]

  • James Baynard – trumpet
  • Flex – background vocals
  • David Kennedy – engineer
  • Darren Lighty – background vocals, keyboards, programming
  • LL Cool J – producer, vocals
  • Marley Marl – engineer, producer
  • Eric Williams – background vocals


Chart (1990) Peak
UK Albums Chart[21] 49
US Billboard 200[3] 16
US Top R&B Albums[3] 2


Region Certification Certified units/Sales
Canada (Music Canada)[22] Gold 50,000^
United States (RIAA)[23] 2× Platinum 2,000,000^

*sales figures based on certification alone
^shipments figures based on certification alone


  1. ^ "Mama Said Knock You Out". CD Universe. Retrieved August 30, 2015.
  2. ^ McCoy, Judy (1992). Rap Music in the 1980s: A Reference Guide. Scarecrow Press. p. 202. ISBN 0810826496.
  3. ^ a b c d Huey, Steve. "Mama Said Knock You Out – LL Cool J". AllMusic. Retrieved January 20, 2018.
  4. ^ Kot, Greg (October 11, 1990). "L.L. Cool J: Mama Said Knock You Out (Def Jam)". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved August 30, 2015.
  5. ^ Larkin, Colin (2011). "LL Cool J". The Encyclopedia of Popular Music (5th concise ed.). Omnibus Press. ISBN 0-85712-595-8.
  6. ^ Sandow, Greg (September 21, 1990). "Mama Said Knock You Out". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved January 20, 2018.
  7. ^ Graff, Gary; du Lac, Joshua Freedom; McFarlin, Jim, eds. (1998). "LL Cool J". MusicHound R&B: The Essential Album Guide. Visible Ink Press. ISBN 0-8256-7255-4.
  8. ^ Coleman, Mark (October 18, 1990). "LL Cool J: Mama Said Knock You Out". Rolling Stone. Retrieved January 20, 2018.
  9. ^ Coleman, Mark; Randall, Mac (2004). "L.L. Cool J". In Brackett, Nathan; Hoard, Christian. The New Rolling Stone Album Guide (4th ed.). Simon & Schuster. pp. 491–92. ISBN 0-7432-0169-8.
  10. ^ a b Cook, Richard (October 1990). "Return of the Exile". Select (4): 109.
  11. ^ Weisbard, Eric; Marks, Craig, eds. (1995). "LL Cool J". Spin Alternative Record Guide. Vintage Books. p. 227. ISBN 0-679-75574-8.
  12. ^ Christgau, Robert (September 25, 1990). "Consumer Guide". The Village Voice. New York. Retrieved August 30, 2015.
  13. ^ a b "Gold & Platinum Searchable Database". Recording Industry Association of America. Retrieved August 30, 2015.
  14. ^ Meyer, Frank. "Mama Said Knock You Out". Yahoo! Music. Archived from the original on September 19, 2010. Retrieved September 19, 2010.
  15. ^ "Mama Said Knock You Out - LL Cool J Song Information". Billboard. Retrieved 16 July 2012.
  16. ^ New York Times review
  17. ^ Q, November 1990
  18. ^ "Robert Christgau: Pazz & Jop 1990: Critics Poll".
  19. ^ Hip Hop Connection, July 1994
  20. ^ "Chris Rock's Top 25 Hip Hop Albums". Rate Your Music. Archived from the original on 2015-11-07. Retrieved 2012-03-01.[better source needed]
  21. ^ "LL Cool J". Official Charts Company. Retrieved August 30, 2015.
  22. ^ "Canadian album certifications – LL Cool J – Mama Said Knock You Out". Music Canada.
  23. ^ "American album certifications – LL Cool J – Mama Said Knock You Out". Recording Industry Association of America. If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Album, then click SEARCH. 

External links[edit]