Walking With a Panther

LL Cool J

  • AllMusic Rating
  • User Ratings (0)
  • Your Rating

Walking With a Panther Review

by Steve Huey

Released at a time when hip-hop's anxieties about crossover success were at a fever pitch, Walking With a Panther found LL Cool J trying to reinvent his sound while building on the commercial breakthrough of Bigger and Deffer. Even though the album succeeded on both counts, it did so in a way that didn't sit well with hip-hop purists, who began to call LL's credibility into question. Their fears about commercialism diluting the art form found a focal point in LL, the man who pioneered the rap ballad -- and there are in fact three ballads here, all of them pretty saccharine (and, tellingly, none of them singles). Apart from that, some of the concerns now seem like much ado about nothing, and there are numerous fine moments (and a few great singles) to be found on the album. It is true, though, that Walking With a Panther does end up slightly less than the sum of its parts. For one thing, it's simply too long; moreover, the force of his early recordings is missing, and there's occasionally a sense that his once-peerless technique on the mic is falling behind the times. Nonetheless, Walking With a Panther is still a fine outing on which LL proves himself a more-than-capable self-producer. The fuller, more fleshed-out sound helps keep his familiar b-boy boasts sounding fresh, and force or no force, he was in definite need of an update. On the singles -- "Going Back to Cali," "I'm That Type of Guy" (inexplicably left off All World), "Jingling Baby," and "Big Ole Butt" -- LL exudes an effortless cool; he's sly, assured, and in full command of a newfound sexual presence on record. So despite its flaws, Walking With a Panther still ranks as one of LL's stronger albums -- strong enough to make the weak moments all the more frustrating.

Track Listing

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time Stream
1 LL Cool J 04:22 SpotifyAmazon
2 LL Cool J 03:33 SpotifyAmazon
3 LL Cool J 01:38 SpotifyAmazon
4 LL Cool J 05:08 SpotifyAmazon
5 LL Cool J 04:44 SpotifyAmazon
6 LL Cool J 04:44 SpotifyAmazon
7 LL Cool J 05:16 SpotifyAmazon
8 LL Cool J 03:50 SpotifyAmazon
9 LL Cool J 04:09 SpotifyAmazon
10 LL Cool J 05:27 SpotifyAmazon
11 LL Cool J 04:34 SpotifyAmazon
12 LL Cool J 04:18 SpotifyAmazon
13 LL Cool J 03:01 SpotifyAmazon
14 LL Cool J 05:48 SpotifyAmazon
15 LL Cool J 03:54 SpotifyAmazon
16 LL Cool J 04:15 SpotifyAmazon
17 LL Cool J 04:35 SpotifyAmazon
18 LL Cool J 03:19 SpotifyAmazon
blue highlight denotes track pick