Label: Def Jam Recordings
Don't call it a midlife crisis -- call it a finale. Exit 13 is LL Cool J's last record for Def Jam, marking the end of his 20-year relationship with the label. But the lip-licking, round-the-way rhyme-spitting emcee who helped define an era with his pop-friendly flow is out to prove himself neither down nor out. The married father of four works a bit too hard to be hard (even stating it flat-out on "Come and Party With Me") and relevant on too many dark, rough tracks. But when he eases up on tracks like "American Girl," he sure still knows how to make the ladies love him.