This is easily one of the best hip hop tracks ever. From the moment it starts, you know what song it is. When the “funky drummer” break kicks in, so does LL Cool J, with an instant memorable line.
The lyrics come thick and fast; he spits with real emphasis, which is pretty apt for a song like this.
The song is a message to his doubters. Many critics thought he’d peaked in the late 80s. “Mama Said Knock You Out” was, quite ironically, the best selling tune LL Cool J ever made…
There’s also the extremely cool origin story of the track. When LL Cool J complained to his granny that he couldn’t compete with gangsta rappers, she told him to knock them out. Pretty badass!
By the way, she features in the music video right at the end. That’s right, he got his nan to order him to take the trash out in his video!
The song was released in 1991, on an album of the same name, and reached number one on the U.S. Rap chart. It also won LL Cool J a Grammy. How’s that for a comeback!