A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this music.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that there's some sexist language and explicit sexuality on this album. There's also a terrific variety of hip-hop, soul, and R&B, along with some nice, empowering messages for teens.
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What's the story?
LL Cool J delivers 13 tracks in a variety of styles on TODD SMITH, which was produced by Jermaine Dupri. With cameos by the likes of Jennifer Lopez, Mary J. Blige, Mary Mary, Teairra Mari, Freeway and Juelz Santana, it's an interesting and fun mix. "Favorite Flavor" features a sultry performance by Mary J. Blige, and "We're Gonna Make It" delivers an upbeat, Gospel-tinged punch. "Walkng Down the Aisle" is a charming account of a sweaty-palmed young man's thoughts moments before his wedding.
Is it any good?
The content and music on this CD fluctuate wildly. There's a lot of very sexy and sexist language, but you'll also find powerful and empowering messages. "Best Dress," featuring Jamie Foxx, is meant to inspire girls to go after what they want ("To all my ghetto queens/surviving' by all means/ there's a rock and a hard place/ you're somewhere in between/ keep fightin'/ baby girl, keep fightin'"). Listeners uncomfortable with sexual innuendo might not appreciate a few tracks, but there's a lot of other interesting content, performed by a hip-hop legend, with help from his friends.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the impressive variety of musical styles, and try to identify the musical influences. Also, families may want to discuss the number of cameo performances here. Why do artists appear on other albums? Do you think it's only to be nice -- or do they have something to gain?