Hot off the success of his 1985 debut Radio, LL came back two years later with his sophomore effort Bigger and Deffer (also referred to by its acronym BAD, which is the title that actually appears on the album cover). On BAD we find Mr.Smith dumping Rick Rubin and courting the L.A. Posse (who would later go on to release their own album a few years later) to handle the production duties (I’d be interested to know what influenced that decision if anyone might know, hit me up in the comments). I’ve always been of the belief that Radio’s biggest downfall was it production. How will LL’s lyrics sound over the L.A. Posse’s production? Let’s give her a listen, shall we?
I’m Bad – Mr. Smith starts things out on a “hungry” note. LL rips the bass heavy track from the L.A. Posse to shreds. Mr. Smith’s line encouraging you to “eat Cool J cookies” was pretty corny (although, back in the day I thought it was pretty dope). Which got me thinking: as heavily as hip-hop artist are used to market everything, I wonder why we haven’t seen a rapper endorsing food. They got the beverage and cell phone thing covered, but couldn’t you see a Popeye’s Chicken commercial sampling Nas’ “Fried Chicken”?
Kanday – Mr. Smith spins a tale about Kanday, his “personal skeez” who apparently is pretty good in the kitchen too. LL begins the third verse he’s “feeling gooder than good”. “Gooder”? Really Todd? If you’re reading this and are saying to yourself, “what’s wrong with that?”, immediately shut off your computer and go enroll in a remedial English class at your local Community College. LL ride the minimal track nicely and the vocal sample over the hook was catchy, and works pretty nice. Stay in school kids.
Get Down – Hi-larious to hear him dis Johnny Carson and Ed McMahon (too soon) on the first verse. This sounds like something that should have gone on the album in between “Radio” and “BAD”, that doesn’t exist. That statement is open for interpretation.
The Bristol Hotel – LL gives us the lowdown on the hookers who, apparently all work out of room 515 at the Bristol Hotel. LL spits the verses effortlessly and paints an entertaining story. The line in the third verse about the hooker’s southern region smelling like “someone died” was pretty hilarious, but the laughs seize in the very next line with an unexpected twist. I wonder if the message in the song was intentional or accidental on LL’s behalf. Either way this worked well.
My Rhyme Ain’t Done – LL delivers 6 fairytales (that plays like one long verse as each story ends with a brief one line hook) about everything from The President and the Pope, to hanging out with Mickey Mouse and picking up a couple of “skeezers”: he even manages to reference Alice Kramden’s ass in a story (I guess I never thought of Alice as being sexy but apparently Mr. Smith did). This was very random and original, which is probably why it worked so well. Nice job Mr. Smith.
.357 – Break It Down – See the notes on “Get Down”. He already used the term “deffer” (which I didn’t attack since def is slang anyways) and “gooder”, but now “badder”? And know he didn’t mean batter.
Go Cut Creator Go – Similar to Radio’s “Dangerous”, LL sings (or raps) praises to his DJ Cut Creator. The L.A. Posse samples elements of Chuck Berry’s “Johnny B. Goode” (while borrowing the refrain from said song as well) which teeters between corny and decent.
The Breakthrough – LL murders this 4 minute one-verse wonder, and manages to sound hungrier (if at all possible) then he did on “Bad”. I still laugh at the line “if Russia bombed the U.S. they’d be scared to touch Queens”. This was very well done (even though he manages to use “badder” again. Stay in school kids).
I Need Love – How in the hell do you go from the previous song to this? WTF, are you serious? If you know anything about hip-hip you’ve heard this before. LL gives us his, what would become signature, love rap, over a very cheesy Casio keyboard beat. While this was better than the feeble attempts on Radio (and most of the attempts on his future works) it’s still really corny. What does he mean he loves her more “than a man whose 10 feet tall”? I guess I didn’t get the memo that love is measurable by height? Wow, LL not only are you romantic but deep. I guess he should get props for starting the standard “love rap” on a rap album requirement. Nah.
Ahh, Lets Get Ill – See the notes on “Get Down”. LL uses numerous combinations of words that start with the letter “L” (or as he refers to it, “rockin’ “L” after “L”), which allegedly explains what “LL” means.
The Do Wop – Mr. Smith takes us through a day in the life of LL Cool J (which apparently turns out to be a dream) in one long verse. Rhetorical question: if you tell a women your trying to seduce her, does it still qualify as seduction? The sample used by the L.A. Posse (I think Blu used the same one on some random recording he did in recent years) was very nice and LL’s story was pretty entertaining.
On The Ill Tip – This should of been tacked on to the end of “The Do Wop”, or altogether deleted from BAD . This was a useless outro.
Radio gave us a young and hungry LL Cool J. That same hunger is present on BAD, but the song ideas and lyrical content have vastly improved, as LL sounds more comfortable behind the mic. L.A Posse’s production is a much better fit for LL to paint on, compared to the canvases provided by Mr. Rubin on Radio. While there all some awkward moments, and songs that downright don’t work, overall BAD is a pretty enjoyable album from a young Cool James.