Michael Jackson calls himself "Bad," but anyone who's heard L.L. Cool J's "I'm Bad," the muscular leadoff single from the 19-year-old rapper's "Bigger and Deffer" album, knows better. "Bigger and Deffer" doesn't rival L.L.'s bell-rocking debut album, which was innovatively produced by Beastie Boys mastermind Rick Rubin; the disc's current hit, "I Need Love," is one of the more dubious tracks on an album that has a lot of missteps, from the failed early-rock/rap synthesis of "The Do-Wop" and "Go Cut Creator Go" to the hardcore sexism of "Kanday" and "The Bristol Hotel." At his best, though, L.L. is still the most agile rapper this side of Run-D.M.C.
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