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. 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 on August 28, 1990 to commercial and critical success.[
Mama Said Knock You Out was released on August 28, 1990 by Def Jam Recordings. 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.” The album was certified double platinum in the United States, having shipped two million copies. 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.The title song reached number 17 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.
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”. 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.” 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.” 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.
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.” 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.
All tracks written by James Todd Smith and Marlon Williams except otherwise noted.
No. Title Writer(s) Producer(s) Length 1.”The Boomin’ System” Marley Marl LL Cool J 3:41
2.”Around the Way Girl” Marl LL Cool J 4:07
3.”Eat ’em Up, L Chill” Marl LL Cool J 4:37
4.”Mr. Good Bar” Marl LL Cool J 3:42
5.”Murdergram (Live at Rapmania)” Marl LL Cool J 3:53
6.”Cheesy Rat Blues” Marl LL Cool J 5:06
7.”Farmers Blvd. (Our Anthem)” (featuring Big Money Grip, Bomb, HIC) Marl LL Cool J 4:26
8.”Mama Said Knock You Out” Bobby “Bobcat” Erving Marley Marl 4:50
9.”Milky Cereal” Marl LL Cool J 3:54
10.”Jingling Baby (Remixed but Still Jingling)”Brian Latture, Dwayne Simon, LL Cool J LL Cool J 4:57
11.”To da Break of Dawn” Marl LL Cool J 4:32
12.”6 Minutes of Pleasure” Marl LL Cool J 4:34
13.”Illegal Search'” Marl LL Cool J 4:31
14.”The Power of God” Marl LL Cool J 4:21
Japan 2000 CD bonus tracks
No. Title Producer(s) Length
15.”Mama Said Knock You Out [Steering Mix]”Marl 4:49
Notes: The single version of the track “Jingling Baby (Remixed but Still Jingling)” was remixed by Marley Marl. The Boomin’ System is censored on all editions of the album. The 12″ single has the uncensored version.
Credits are adapted from AllMusic.
- 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
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