LL Cool J | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

LL Cool J 

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He's been here for years, but ageists take note: LL Cool J doesn't turn 40 till 2008. Granted, he's still a little long in the tooth to still be compulsively sweet-talking dissatisfied honeys, and you'll know if you're still game for his game from the opening couplet of his new album, Todd Smith (Def Jam): "My 12th album launch / Now everything is carte blanche" provokes either a cringe or a warm laugh. From J. Lo to Mary J., most of the (many) guests are primarily sound effects, but Teairra Mari sharply steps to LL on "Preserve the Sexy," generating almost as much heat as Freeway does on "What You Want." The serviceable Jermaine Dupri hit from the album, "Control Myself," isn't half as much fun as "Headsprung," the Timbaland-produced banger that brought LL back to the clubs in '04. But me, I'm for anything that interrupts Mr. Smith's acting career. Luke & Q open. Mon 7/24, 9 PM, House of Blues, 329 N. Dearborn, 312-923-2000 or 312-559-1212, $45 in advance, $47.50 at the door, 18+.

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