Don’t call it a comeback—instead, hit me on my Sidekick with that news, please.
LL Cool J’s 2006 album Todd Smith was one of those “throw cameos at the wall and see if something sticks” projects that seems to come off as more humiliating to read about and listen to than to game-facedly promote. The record, which was named after LL’s then-incipient clothing line, had guest spots on 12 of its 13 tracks, including assists by the likes of Mary J. Blige, Pharrell, Juelz Santana, and someone from City High. And featured on the album’s lead single, no doubt because the folks at Def Jam were trying to recapture the lightning in a bottle that was the 2002 chart-topper “All I Have”: Jennifer Lopez, who herself was trying to fight back from the sales disappointment that was her 2005 album Rebirth.
“Control Myself” may epitomize the boomtime genre that was banal songs about “the club,” with LL smirking through lines like “She said her name Shayeeda / I could tell her mama feed her” while Lopez tries to make as little of an impact as possible, cooing about possibly leaving her man and getting in touch with LL via Sidekick. (Jermaine Dupri manages to wiggle his way in there too.) The lyrics don’t even reach new heights of inanity, although there’s one point where they come awfully, almost blissfully close—let’s just say that while rhyming “desire” and “fire” is a bit overrated as far as Cardinal Lyrical Sins go, using that pairing as an excuse to set up a pairing between “inferno” and “Cuervo” is a no-no. By the time the whole thing fizzles out in a pile of “zuh zuh zuh zuh, zuh zuh zuh”-ing, you feel like you’ve spent the last three minutes in bottle-service hell, surrounded by people who are flaunting little more than their ability to stick out their chests and peacock, and wondering why on earth you spent $19 for the equivalent of well whiskey mixed into flat Coke.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on November 27, 2009