Wrapped in what is possibly the most prog rock sleeve design in hip-hop history, Exit 13
marks LL Cool J
's departure from Def Jam, the pioneering label the MC helped build. It begins with "It's Time for War," an embittered reclamation where he sounds more like he's shooing kids off his lawn than reigning over his territory. There are a couple tracks where LL
sounds as on fire as ever, usually when his targets are specific rather than general, as on "You Better Watch Me" and "This Is Ring Tone M..." Still, the album's tone tilts toward the reactionary in its clear desire to sound just like a standard 2008 mainstream rap album, with unnecessary references to Petron and Cognac and in-your-face evidence that LL really
wants you to know he's not behind the times.