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 LL Cool J
Released September 14, 1990 (1990-09-14)
Studio Marley Marl's House of Hits in Chestnut Ridge and Chung King House of Metal in New York City
Genre Hip hop
Length 61:36
Label Def Jam
Producer Bobby "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
Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
AllMusic 5/5 stars[1]
Chicago Tribune 3.5/4 stars[2]
Encyclopedia of Popular Music 4/5 stars[3]
Entertainment Weekly B[4]
MusicHound R&B 5/5[5]
Q 3/5 stars[6]
Rolling Stone 3.5/5 stars[7]
The Rolling Stone Album Guide 4/5 stars
Spin Alternative Record Guide 9/10[3]
The Village Voice A[8]

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.[9] 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.[10]

Release and reception[edit]

Mama Said Knock You Out was released on September 14, 1990, by Def Jam Recordings.[11] 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.[11] 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.[12] The title song reached number 17[13] 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".[14] 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."[6] 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."[15] 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.[16]

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."[17] 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.[18]

Track listing[edit]

Track "Jingling Baby (Remixed but Still Jingling)" was remixed by Marley Marl.

No. Title Producer(s) Length
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]

Sampling credits[edit]


Credits are adapted from AllMusic.[1]

  • 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[19] 49
US Billboard 200[1] 16
US Top R&B Albums[1] 2


Region Certification Certified units/Sales
Canada (Music Canada)[20] Gold 50,000^
United States (RIAA)[21] 2× Platinum 2,000,000^

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


  1. ^ a b c d Allmusic review
  2. ^ Kot, Greg (October 11, 1990). "Mama Said Knock You Out". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved August 30, 2015. 
  3. ^ a b "Acclaimed Music - Mama Said Knock You Out". Acclaimed Music. 
  4. ^ "Mama Said Knock You Out -". Entertainment Weekly's 
  5. ^ 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. 
  6. ^ a b Q, November 1990
  7. ^ Mark Coleman (18 October 1990). "LL Cool J Mama Said Knock You Out Album Review". Rolling Stone. 
  8. ^ Christgau, Robert (September 25, 1990). "Consumer Guide". The Village Voice. New York. Retrieved August 30, 2015. 
  9. ^ "Mama Said Knock You Out". CD Universe. Retrieved August 30, 2015. 
  10. ^ McCoy, Judy (1992). Rap Music in the 1980s: A Reference Guide. Scarecrow Press. p. 202. ISBN 0810826496. 
  11. ^ a b "Gold & Platinum Searchable Database". Recording Industry Association of America. Retrieved August 30, 2015. 
  12. ^ Meyer, Frank. "Mama Said Knock You Out". Yahoo! Music. Archived from the original on September 19, 2010. Retrieved September 19, 2010. 
  13. ^ "Mama Said Knock You Out - LL Cool J Song Information". Billboard. Retrieved 16 July 2012. 
  14. ^ New York Times review
  15. ^ Select, October 1990
  16. ^ "Robert Christgau: Pazz & Jop 1990: Critics Poll". 
  17. ^ Hip Hop Connection, July 1994
  18. ^ "Chris Rock's Top 25 Hip Hop Albums". Rate Your Music. Retrieved 2012-03-01. [better source needed]
  19. ^ "LL Cool J". Official Charts Company. Retrieved August 30, 2015. 
  20. ^ "Canadian album certifications – LL Cool J – Mama Said Knock You Out". Music Canada. 
  21. ^ "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]