Entertainment Weekly - 12/8/95, p.68
"...while his cutting-edge days are well behind him, this is far from the self-parodying effort we had every reason to expect." - Rating: B
Q - 2/96, p.963 Stars (out of 5)
- "...neither radical nor fashionable, but always robust...gripping and authorative..."
Rap Pages - 1/96, p.336 (out of 10)
- "...LL is in a rare and honorable class, considering he can still come with tight jams after 11 years....the overall production is worth your time..."
Personnel: LL Cool J, Foxy Brown, Fat Joe, Keith Murray, Prodigy, LeShaun (rap vocals); Boyz II Men, Terri & Monica (vocals); TrackMasters, Rashad Smith (various instruments); Eric Cody (keyboards); Sonya Magett (background vocals).
Producers: Tone, Rashad Smith, Easy Mo Bee, ChySkillz, Chad "Dr. Ceuss" Elliot.
Engineers include: Paul Lanni, Mario Rodriguez, George Karras.
"Hey Lover" won the 1997 Grammy Award for Best Rap Solo Performance. MR. SMITH was nominated for the 1997 Grammy for Best Rap Album.
Personnel: LL Cool J (vocals); Foxy Brown , Grace Jones, Isaac Hayes, Leshaun, Monica, The Emotions, Boyz II Men (vocals).
Audio Mixers: George Karras; Kevin Thomas; Tony Smalios.
Recording information: Battery Studios, New York, NY; Chung King, New York, NY; Giant Recording Studio, New York, NY; Larrabee Sound Studios, Los Angeles, CA; Platinum Island Recording Studios, New York, NY; Soundtracks Recording Studios, New York, NY; Stone Creek Studios, Gladwyne, PA.
Photographer: Danny Clinch.
While many of rap music's old-school artists have suffered a downfall, Def Jam's first recording artist, LL Cool J, has remained at the top of the list of successful, surviving MCs. His Lady-Lovin' personality and party-rocking rhyming style are only two reasons for the platinum success of his sixth album, MR. SMITH.
Call it a comeback. MR. SMITH recalls several moments of 1990's MAMA SAID KNOCK YOU OUT in both its smoothed-out and hard-core hits--the two sides of LL's hip-hop persona. The album's lead-off single, "Hey Lover," features harmonized crooning from Boyz II Men, and once again crowns LL as the king of the rap ballad. Likewise, on "Doin' It," he gets vocally soft and intimate for a duet with LeShaun. But the album features its tough moments as well, particularly when Keith Murray, Mobb Deep's Prodigy and others add their street flavor to a remix of the headbanger track, "I Shot Ya."