Max Bell is LL Cool J’s grandson.

You may or may not say no to ratchet pussy. It’s no secret that Juicy J can’t. He doesn’t apologize for it. He has no qualms with all that comes with the cheek clapping. He pops bands and revels in the ratchet  On the flip side, LL Cool J, the Beverly Hills actor/rapper (and not the other way around) via Queens, has some misgivings about today’s around the way girl. He’s still down with the bamboo earrings and extensions, but not when she fucks with his knot and blows too much bread at the country club. He did need her in order to write this song. But asking for rap to make sense is a lot like asking Romney for universal healthcare. You must be seriously ill.

“Ratchet” is one of the torrent of songs we will see by those late to the lingo, those who have adopted the word ‘ratchet’ now that it has cache. They are going to try to take it away from Juicy J, Boosie, YG, DJ Mustard (“Rack City”), and those who actually know the secret of ratchet. Consider LL’s new watered-down ditty the ass-clenching calm before the storm.

LL is literally trying capitalize on the word ‘ratchet.’ Annoying. Irksome. Fucking insufferable. But nothing new. It’s everything that the mainstream and those trying to remain relevant has ever done. From crunk to jerkin, they take one word with a continually shifting and amorphous meaning/subculture they know nothing about and sprinkle it in your audio kush like angel dust. Before you’ve figured it out, you’ve already inhaled and things are starting to get strange. You’re paranoid and hallucinating. You’re thinking about suicide. Don’t worry. It’s completely normal.

“Ratchet” has your typical radio hook—sped up R&B with a little techno twist for the white girls. The beat feels like it’s a cast-off from the latest JC Penny back to school ad. As far as lyrics are concerned, LL seems to be stuck in the past he’s clearly trying to escape, re-appropriating ‘ratchet’ for the over 40 crowd in the same way he tried to convince everyone that he was bad back in ’87 — except that actually worked.

There’s no deft word play. Every word is pronounced with perfect enunciation. No language is contorted or inflected to make it interesting or new. The rhymes are simple. “Son” rhymes with “fun.” Ray J and Kardashian references are followed by Hunger Games allusions and the bemoaning of D’Angelo’s classic “How Does it Feel” for providing the perfect coital chorale. It feels old. It’s as bland and boring as every episode of NCIS: Los Angeles.  I’ve seen this six pack before.

On the other hand, a track like “Bandz A Make Her Dance (Remix),” featuring the artist formerly known as Tity Boi (2 Chainz for the unfamiliar), shines despite mainstream assistance from Wayne, doing everything that a ratchet track is supposed to do. It creates a feeling, both dangerous and inviting. It is hedonism and superficiality at it’s finest. It’s a cup of epicurean lean: “Racks er’where, they showing racks, I’m throwing racks” (Juicy J).

Juicy J knows ratchet. He lives and breathes ratchet while steadily approaching the 40 (Right now, ‘Juicy J can’t’ at the age of 37). The man is still about that life. Of course he knows the ratchet’s want money. Clearly, LL was out of his depth from the jump. And, according to LL’s new track, if a ‘ratchet’ woman is all about jumping onto whoever is hot right now and fucking him for all he’s worth, then it would appear LL is now a ‘ratchet’ himself. He’s taken the word ‘ratchet’ in order to exploit it for his own gain. Damn.

In summary, Jeff Weiss and I are available for lectures on all things ratchet and meta-ratchet.

Download:
MP3: LL Cool J – Ratchet (Left-Click)