Entertainment Weekly - 4/9/93, pp.50-52
"...treats [rap basics] with the same pride and dignity an elder bluesman would give four-bar chord changes and done-me-wrong lyrics....the music never stays still....packed tighter than a pound of headcheese..." - Rating: A
Entertainment Weekly - 12/31/93, p.116Ranked #9
in Entertainment Weekly's list of 'The Best & Worst Records Of 1993' - "...New jacks on the block could still learn a thing or two from that smooth charismatic mouth of his...."
Q - 6/93, p.1003 Stars
- Good - "...while old attitudes are revisited, [the album] is no nostalgia trip....The fashionably jazzy samples utilise a refreshing amount of '60s Pacific Cool, the production is clean New York style...a performer that can make just about anything sound interesting..."
NME (Magazine) - 4/10/93, p.328.5 Stars
- Excellent Plus - "...shows rap's first bona fide superstar extending his lyrical and musical ranges to often mesmerizing effect....at times it seems like LL's using other rappers' styles, until the realization dawns that he invented most of them years ago..."
NME (Magazine) - 12/25/93, p.67Ranked #33
in New Musical Express' list of 'The 50 Top LPs Of 1993' - "...lean, mean and groundbreaking to boot..."
Personnel: LL Cool J (rap); Stan "Tha Guitar Man" Jones (guitar, bass); Dawn Greene, Paulette McWilliams, Nicki Richards, Cindy Mizelle, Marsha McClurkin, Mary Brown (background vocals); Bobcat (scratches).
Producers: Marley Marl, Q.D. III, Bobby "Bobcat" Ervin, Andrew Zenable, Christopher Joseph Forte.
Recorded at Another "House of Hits" Joint, Q.D. III Soundlab, Los Angeles, California; Cove City Sound Studios, Long Island, New York; Unique Recording, New York, New York; Bobcat's House, Palmdale, California; Encore Studio, Burbank, California.
Personnel: LL Cool J (vocals); Lieutenant Stitchie (vocals); Stan Jones (guitar); Gloria Agostini (harp); Karen Karlsrud, Winterton Garvey, Elliot Rosoff, Anthony Posk, Tony Posk, Carmel Malin, Gayle Dixon, Regis Indiorio, Elena Barere, David Nadien, Matthew Raimondi (violin); Julien Barber, Olivia Koppell (viola); Eugene J. Moye, Fred Sherry (cello); Robert Carlisle, John Clark , Peter Gordon (French horn); Bobby Ervin, Bobcat (scratches); Cindy Mizelle, Dawn Green, Marsha McClurkin, Mary Brown, Nicki Richards, Paulette McWilliams (background vocals).
Audio Mixers: George Karras; Bobby Ervin.
Recording information: Bobcat's House, Palmdale, CA; Cove City Sound Studios, Glen Cove, Long Island, NY; Encore Recording Studios, Burbank, CA; House Of Hits; QDIII Soundlab; Sound Castle Recording Studios, Los Angeles, CA; Unique Recording Studio, New York, NY.
Unknown Contributor Role: Regis Indiorio.
Arranger: Jesse Levy.
Todd Smith's fifth full-length is very much a product of its time, and invariably emerged in the shadow of his enormously successful MAMA SAID KNOCK YOU OUT LP. It also holds up as a surprisingly gritty, captivating encapsulation of a transitional era in New York hip-hop. "Buckin' Em Down," with its hollowed-out boom-bap and ominous sax samples, is an emblem of early '90s hardcore-rap production, while "Pink Cookies In A Plastic Bag Getting Crushed By Buildings" contains one of the more refreshingly silly choral euphemisms in recent pop-chart memory. 14 SHOTS was released just after hyperactive rap crews like Das EFX ushered in their idiosyncratic aggro, and subsequently presents LL as a rapid-fire lyrical assassin caught between dual personalities: smooth lover and the king of Queens.