Authentic is the thirteenth studio album by American hip hop recording artist LL Cool J. The album was released on April 30, 2013, by S-BRO Music Group, 429 Records. It is his first album since 2008's Exit 13 and his first to not be released on Def Jam. The album features guest appearances from Fitz and The Tantrums, Eddie Van Halen, Snoop Dogg, Fatman Scoop, Seal, Charlie Wilson, Melody Thornton, Earth, Wind & Fire, Bootsy Collins, Travis Barker, Chuck D, Tom Morello, Z-Trip, Mickey Shiloh, Monica and Brad Paisley.
|Studio album by|
|Released||April 30, 2013|
Henson Recording Studios
Westlake Recording Studios
West Hollywood, California
Downtown Music Studios
House Of Hits Recording Studios
New York City, New York
|Label||S-BRO Music Group, 429 Records|
|Producer||LL Cool J (also exec.) Sound Z, Trackmasters, Tricky Stewart, Eddie Van Halen, Jaylien, Marley Marl|
|LL Cool J chronology|
|Singles from Authentic|
By June 2012, LL Cool J had begun work on his thirteenth studio album. He stated, "I'm going to be doing a little bit of the album on the [My Connect Studio], make sure that it is official." On January 20, 2013, he announced on his Twitter account that the album had been pushed back from its original February 12, 2013 release date. On February 8, 2013, it was announced the album title would be changed from Authentic Hip-Hop to Authentic with a new release date of May 7, 2013, and a new cover. On February 14, 2013, the album's release date was pushed up to April 30, 2013. On March 14, 2013, Eddie Van Halen posted a photo of himself with LL Cool J in front of a mix board. The photo was captioned with "Authentic 4.30.13", suggesting that Eddie would be involved in some way with the album release.
The first single "Whaddup" was debuted during the live 2013 Grammy Awards telecast, which features Chuck D, Travis Barker, Tom Morello and Z-Trip. On March 18, 2013, the second single "We Came to Party" was released featuring Snoop Dogg and Fatman Scoop. On April 16, the third single "Live for You" featuring country music singer Brad Paisley was released.
|The Boston Globe||(7/10)|
|Los Angeles Times|||
|New York Daily News|||
|The Washington Post|||
Authentic received generally mixed reviews from music critics. At Metacritic, which assigns a normalized rating out of 100 to reviews from mainstream critics, the album received an average score of 46, based on 9 reviews. David Jeffries of Allmusic gave the album two and a half stars out of five, saying "LL sounds rusty and a bit under-rehearsed as he belts out his iffy punch lines and motivational anthems, but he pours his heart into the pop numbers and sounds at home during the nostalgic throwbacks." Gerrick Kennedy of the Los Angeles Times gave the album one star out of four, saying "LL Cool J has completely lost touch with what launched him into superstardom: rapping. That startling disconnection is what bogs down his 13th album, Authentic.
Ted Scheinman of Slant Magazine gave the album three out of five stars, saying "Older listeners will find a wistful pleasure in hearing what may be the most heartfelt effort of LL's career." Cristina Jaleru of The Washington Post gave the album two and a half stars out of five, saying "There's nothing wrong with pandering when one tries to hang on to artistic relevance, especially when producing a balanced, intriguing album. Who knows, maybe that's the future of music and Cool James is still a pioneer." Steve Jones of USA Today gave the album two stars out of four, saying "He has an eclectic bunch of guests and while he's obviously not aiming at the teen market, there seems to be a conscious effort to expand the fan base. The result is a mixed bag of party anthems and the rap ballads he pioneered years ago." Julia LeConte of Now gave the album one star out of five, saying "Authentic is ridiculous right down to the heavy-breathing interludes, which worked for Usher circa 2003. LL says he's "hot like 'Pac when he first popped out of prison." I think he's delusional. As far as comedy albums go, however, Authentic is the year's best."
Jay Balfour of HipHopDX gave the album two and a half stars out of five, saying "Unfortunately, Authentic suffers the same fate as LL's other late-career missteps: too many features and a superficial brand of R&B bog down another release from one of rap's earliest superstars." Jody Rosen of Rolling Stone gave the album three out of five stars saying, "On Authentic, LL's first LP not released by Def Jam, the guest list is a testament to open-mindedness and crossover ambitions. The beats are unfussy and direct; the choruses are built for radio." Ken Capobianco of The Boston Globe gave the album a seven out of ten, saying "Metal hip-hop is more compromise than authentic, but much of this disc sounds genuine."
In its first week of release the album debuted at number 23 on the Billboard 200 and sold 14,000 copies in the United States. In its second week the album sold 5,500 more copies. In its third week the album sold 3,400 more copies. In its fourth week the album sold 2,700 more copies bringing its total sales to 26,000.
|1.||"Bath Salt"||J.T. Smith, Jean Claude "Poke" Olivier, Samuel J "Tone" Barnes, Alexander "Spanador" Mosely||Trackmasters, Jaylien (co.)||4:12|
|2.||"Not Leaving You Tonight" (featuring Fitz & The Tantrums with Eddie Van Halen)||Smith, Jaylien, Alycia Bellamy||Jaylien||4:02|
|3.||"New Love" (featuring Charlie Wilson)||Smith, Olivier, Barnes, Aaron "Ace 21" Grimes, Theodore "Range" Bowen||Trackmasters, Jaylien (co.)||3:13|
|4.||"We Came to Party" (featuring Snoop Dogg and Fatman Scoop)||Smith, Calvin Broadus||Jaylien||4:15|
|5.||"Give Me Love" (featuring Seal)||Smith, Jaylien||Jaylien||4:23|
|6.||"Something About You (Love the World)" (featuring Charlie Wilson, Earth, Wind & Fire and Melody Thornton)||Smith, Olivier, Barnes, Russel "The Are" Gonzalez, Melody Sangreal||Trackmasters, Jaylien (co.), LL Cool J (co.)||4:13|
|7.||"Bartender Please" (featuring Snoop Dogg, Bootsy Collins and Travis Barker)||Smith, Olivier, Barnes, Broadus, Bowen, Mosely||Trackmasters, LL Cool J (co.)||4:36|
|8.||"Whaddup" (featuring Chuck D, Travis Barker, Tom Morello and Z-Trip)||Smith, Barnes, Olivier, Keith Shocklee, Carlton Ridenhour, Mosely||Trackmasters, Z-Trip (co.)||4:05|
|9.||"Between the Sheetz" (featuring Mickey Shiloh)||Smith, Kenneth Coby, Christopher Stewart, Michaela Shiloh||SoundZ, Tricky Stewart (co.)||3:48|
|10.||"Closer" (featuring Monica)||Smith, Olivier, Barnes, Bowen, Mosely||Trackmasters, Jaylien (co.)||3:47|
|11.||"Live for You" (featuring Brad Paisley)||Smith, Jaylien||Jaylien||3:44|
|12.||"We're the Greatest" (featuring Eddie Van Halen and Travis Barker)||Smith, Olivier, Barnes, Gonzalez, Phillip "Taj" Jackson||LL Cool J, Eddie Van Halen, Trackmasters (co.)||4:05|
|13.||"Waiting On You" (featuring Babyface and Noelle Scaggs)||Smith, Jaylien||Jaylien||3:59|
|14.||"Jump On It"||Smith, Olivier, Barnes, Mosely||Trackmasters||3:22|
|15.||"Take It" (featuring Joe)||Smith, Gonzalez, Olivier, Barnes, Bowen||Trackmasters||3:32|
|16.||"Remember Me" (featuring Alicia Myers)||Meyers, Smith||Marley Marl||4:17|
- (co) co-producer
- Sample credits
- Cey Adams – creative director
- Travis Barker – featured artist
- Samuel J. Barnes – producer
- Janette Beckman – photography
- Matt Brownlie – assistant
- Bootsy Collins – featured artist
- Martin Cooke – engineer
- Chuck D – featured artist
- Josh Drucker – assistant
- Earth, Wind & Fire – featured artist
- Nicolas Essig – assistant
- Fatman Scoop – featured artist
- Doug Fenske – engineer, mixing
- Stu Fine – A&R
- Fitz & the Tantrums – featured artist
- Jason Goldstein – engineer
- Chris Holmes – engineer
- Jaylien – producer
- David Alan Kogut – art direction, package design
- Miguel Lara – assistant
- LL Cool J – liner notes, primary artist
- Jared Lynch – assistant
- Glen Marchese – engineer, mixing
- Monica – featured artist
- Tom Morello – featured artist
- Jean Claude "Poke" Olivier – producer
- Jeremiah Olvera – assistant
- Brad Paisley – featured artist
- Neal H. Pogue – mixing
- Herb Powers – mastering
- Richard Rich – assistant
- David Rodriguez – assistant
- Seal – featured artist
- Mickey Shiloh – featured artist
- James Todd Smith – executive producer, producer
- Snoop Dogg – featured artist
- Nancie Stern – sample clearance
- Kyle Stevens – assistant
- C. "Tricky" Stewart – engineer, producer
- Melody Thornton – featured artist
- Eddie Van Halen – featured artist, producer
- David Wild – transcription
- Charlie Wilson – featured artist
- Andrew Wuepper – mixing
- Sound Z – producer
- Z-Trip – featured artist, producer, scratching
|Swiss Albums (Schweizer Hitparade)||57|
|US Billboard 200||23|
|US Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums (Billboard)||7|
|US Independent Albums (Billboard)||4|
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