Mr. Smith (album)

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Mr. Smith
Mr. Smith - LL Cool J.jpg
Studio album by LL Cool J
Released November 21, 1995
Recorded 1994-1995
Genre East Coast hip hop, hardcore hip hop, new jack swing
Length 58:25
Label Def Jam, PolyGram
Producer Rashad Smith
Chyskillz
Chad Eliott
Trackmasters
Easy Mo Bee[1]
LL Cool J chronology
14 Shots to the Dome
(1993)
Mr. Smith
(1995)
All World: Greatest Hits
(1996)
Singles from Mr. Smith
  1. "Hey Lover"
    Released: October 31, 1995
  2. "I Shot Ya"
    Released: November 21, 1995
  3. "Doin' It"
    Released: December 17, 1995
  4. "Loungin"
    Released: June 25, 1996

Mr. Smith is the sixth studio album by American hip hop recording artist LL Cool J, released on November 21, 1995 by Def Jam. After the commercially disappointing 14 Shots to the Dome, it was a success, being certified 2x Platinum. Three top 10 hits were released from the album, "Hey Lover", "Doin' It", and "Loungin". Unlike his previous release, which focused on hardcore rap, this album concentrates on the ballads for which he is now famous.

Critical reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
AllMusic 3/5 stars[2]
Robert Christgau (choice cut)[3]
Entertainment Weekly (B)[4]
Q 3/5 stars[5]
Rolling Stone 3/5 stars[6]

Mr. Smith garnered positive reviews from music critics who found it a return to form after the West Coast-influenced 14 Shots to the Dome flopped. AllMusic's Stephen Thomas Erlewine praised the album for working more towards LL's romantic side that while toned down remains sexually invigorating, concluding that "Mr. Smith isn't a perfect record – there are too many slack moments for it to qualify as one of his best – but it proves that LL Cool J remained vital a decade after his debut."[2] Robert Christgau rated the album as a "choice cut", singling out "Doin' It" as a standout track.[3] Mike Flaherty of Entertainment Weekly praised the album for balancing the various personas LL adopts throughout the tracks, concluding that "while his cutting-edge days are well behind him, this is far from the self-parodying effort we had every reason to expect."[4] Cheo H. Coker of Rolling Stone also praised the album for delivering both hardcore rap songs and love ballads that contain great production and lyrical dexterity. But Coker noted that tracks like "No Airplay" and "Get da Drop on 'Em" showcase LL better as a tough lyric spitter, concluding with, "Maybe one day LL will realize that it's his electrifying flow, not his Casanova aspirations, that have made him a rap superstar for 10 years running."[6]

Track listing[edit]

No. Title Producer(s) Length
1. "The Intro (skit)"     1:33
2. "Make It Hot"   Trackmasters 4:31
3. "Hip Hop"   Trackmasters 5:00
4. "Hey Lover" (featuring Boyz II Men) Trackmasters 4:44
5. "Doin It" (featuring LeShaun) Rashad Smith 4:53
6. "Life As..."   Easy Mo Bee 2:44
7. "I Shot Ya" (featuring Keith Murray) Trackmasters 3:51
8. "Mr. Smith"   Chyskillz 3:59
9. "No Airplay"   Chad Elliot 5:43
10. "Loungin" (featuring Terri & Monica) Rashad Smith 4:12
11. "Hollis to Hollywood"   Trackmasters 3:58
12. "God Bless"   Rashad Smith 3:47
13. "Get da Drop on 'Em'"   Trackmasters 3:57
14. "Prelude (skit)"     0:30
15. "I Shot Ya (Remix)" (featuring Keith Murray, Prodigy, Fat Joe and Foxy Brown) Trackmasters 5:03

Track notes[edit]

  • "No Airplay" was edited on both the edited and explicit versions of the album. The explicit version only backmasks on the song, while the edited version even edits the intro.
  • "Hollis to Hollywood" is sampled from his verse of Craig Mack's "Flava In Ya Ear (Remix)" on the chorus.

Singles[edit]

Year Song Chart positions
Billboard Hot 100 Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Singles & Tracks Hot Rap Singles
1995 "I Shot Ya" - #55 -
"Hey Lover" #3 #3 #1
1996 "Doin It" #9 #7 #2
"Loungin #3 #4 #1

All Of LL Cool J's music videos off this album were directed by Hype Williams.

Samples[edit]

"Make It Hot"

"Hip Hop"

"Hey Lover"

"Doin' It"

"I Shot Ya"

"Mr. Smith"

"No Airplay"

"Loungin'"

"Hollis to Hollywood"

"God Bless"

"Papa Luv It"

Charts[edit]

Chart positions[edit]

Chart (1995) Peak
position
Dutch Albums Chart 33
German Albums Chart 75
Swedish Albums Chart 60
UK Albums Chart 90
US Billboard 200 20
US Billboard Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums 4

Year-end charts[edit]

Chart (1996) Position
US Billboard 200 28

Certifications[edit]

Region Certification Sales/shipments
Canada (Music Canada)[7] Gold 50,000^
United Kingdom (BPI)[8] Silver 60,000^
United States (RIAA)[9] 2× Platinum 2,000,000^

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

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Mr. Smith - LL Cool J - Credits". AllMusic. AllMusic. N.p., n.d. Retrieved 17 June 2014. 
  2. ^ a b Erlewine, Stephen Thomas. "Mr. Smith - LL Cool J". AllMusic. All Media Network. Retrieved November 23, 2011. 
  3. ^ a b Christgau, Robert. "CG: LL Cool J". RobertChristgau.com. Retrieved February 5, 2016. 
  4. ^ a b Flaherty, Mike (December 8, 1995). "Mr. Smith". Entertainment Weekly. Time Inc. Retrieved November 23, 2011. 
  5. ^ "Mr. Smith (CD) by LL Cool J". Tower. Retrieved November 23, 2011. 
  6. ^ a b Coker, Cheo H. (February 8, 1996). "LL Cool J - Mr. Smith". Rolling Stone. Wenner Media. Retrieved January 30, 2016. 
  7. ^ "Canadian album certifications – LL Cool J – Mr. Smith". Music Canada. 
  8. ^ "British album certifications – LL Cool J – Mr. Smith". British Phonographic Industry.  Enter Mr. Smith in the field Keywords. Select Title in the field Search by. Select album in the field By Format. Select Silver in the field By Award. Click Search
  9. ^ "American album certifications – LL Cool J – Mr. Smith". Recording Industry Association of America.  If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Album, then click SEARCH