Wednesday, October 13, 2004

The DEFinition

Posted By on Wed, Oct 13, 2004 at 12:00 AM

It’s nice to imagine that a vet could salvage some ol’ skool zeal, since hip hop’s been wallowing in its shallow end of late. LL already has 10 albums under his belt and has an acting résumé as impressive as Ice Cube’s. He’s like rap’s Jagger, a mix of balls and sex appeal (though unlike Sir Mick, he’s the cat you don’t want to mess with when it comes to lyrical scuffles.) He’s a proven deal, a self-conscious prizefighter who refuses to fall. So why is The DEFinition so, well, temperate?

It isn’t the lyrics, which boast classic LL punch lines. It isn’t even the outdated, Aaliyah-haunted production of Timbaland. No, it’s the sin of having no point, no concept; The DEFinition literally defines nothing at all, though there is plenty of libido and ego. On “Can’t Explain It” the “reformed” sexpot/ Don Juan who admitted in his 1998 chest-beating book, I Make My Own Rules to boning a pregnant chick, moans, “kissing on your belly ring nice and slow/ I love to take my time, love to give you a show.” He then switches it up on “Apple Cobbler,” with a straight-up Missy kype of exaggerated syllables and stressed rhymes: “Lights, camera, action — hold up/ You know my style, I been blowed up.”

It takes the slickest track (“Feel the Beat”) to remind us why other emcees just look plain silly in the crunkster icon’s shadow. He takes a stab at all the detractors with this line: “Mothers and daughters agree I’m on fire.” Jeez, who didn’t already at least suspect that? Obviously, the legend that refuses to buckle doesn’t need a “definition.” There’s nothing left to prove.

Linda Hobbs writes about music for Metro Times. E-mail


We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Detroit Metro Times. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Detroit Metro Times, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at

Support Local Journalism.
Join the Detroit Metro Times Press Club

Local journalism is information. Information is power. And we believe everyone deserves access to accurate independent coverage of their community and state. Our readers helped us continue this coverage in 2020, and we are so grateful for the support.

Help us keep this coverage going in 2021. Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing membership pledge, your support goes to local-based reporting from our small but mighty team.

Join the Metro Times Press Club for as little as $5 a month.

More by Linda Hobbs

Read the Digital Print Issue

December 1, 2021

View more issues


Never miss a beat

Sign Up Now

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.

Best Things to Do In Detroit

© 2021 Detroit Metro Times - Contact Us

Website powered by Foundation