LL Cool J, 'Mama Said Knock You Out'
Mama Said Knock You Out, 1990
"Don't call it a comeback!" begins rap's hottest-ever comeback. After crossover pop success, James Todd Smith returned to street-fighting hip-hop pledging to "bash this beat like a skull," and returning fire from a Kool Moe Dee diss record. The beat, one of Marley Marl's best, rides a four-count chant from Sly and the Family Stone's "Trip to Your Heart," and the track peaks with J repeating, "Damage! Damage!" like he's done rhyming and is ready to break shit.