LL Cool J's Walking With A Panther Is Stylistically Diverse | Album Review
4 of 6 Classic Rating
LL Cool J's second album Bigger And Deffer was a huge success, so much so that his producers (L.A. Posse) demanded more money than Def Jam would offer. They ended up leaving, nonetheless, LL's third album Walking With A Panther was a success (#6 Album Billboard), selling to platinum status. The production was handled predominantly by Dwyane Simon (former L.A. Posse) as well as Rick Rubin (one track) and the Bomb Squad (two tracks).
At the time of its release, it was met with different reactions from the hip hop community and the mainstream respectively. The hip hop community had mixed feelings due to the inclusion of three softer/romantic themed tracks (You're My Heart, One Shot At Love, Two Different Worlds). As a rule of thumb, the mostly male-teenage audiences of high testosterone genres like hip hop and heavy metal don't like this kind of material and prefer angrier, more aggressive styles.
However the album does contain a majority of braggadocious, smack talking tracks with energetic beats such as “Droppin' Em”, “Nitro”, and “Why Do You Think They Call It Dope?” Also, a nice addition is the more mid-tempo beats with funky rhythms such as the guitar-infused ''Clap Your Hands'', the funky horns of ''Going Back To Cali'' and the amazing bass line on ''Big Ole Butt''.
Just those two previous songs are telling of the success of Walking With A Panther as they are both practically hip hop standards. In addition ''I'm That Kind Of Guy'' with its clever use of the Wizard of Oz soldiers chant and ''Jingling Baby'' are both very popular songs today, with ''Jingling Baby'' being to remixed to great success on Mama Said Knock You Out.
The album can be quite musical at times, such as ''Def Jam In The Mother Land'' with its jazzy electric piano and subtle saxophone make it akin to the later sounds of A Tribe Called Quest. The album also contains some positive messages (something LL would perfect on 14 Shots To The Dome) on ''Change Your Ways''.
Overall Walking With A Panther is another commercially successful LL album which contains an array of sounds and musical styles. LL manages to cover a variety of topics from love, rapping skills, and social issues. These components make up LL's style and produce yet another platinum album for Uncle L.