|Released September 9, 2008|
Genre East Coast hip hop
Label Def Jam
|Producer LL Cool J (exec.) Suits & Ray Burghardt, Ryan Leslie, Illfonics, The Dream Team, DJ Scratch, Frado & Absolut, Tricky Stewart, Raw Uncut, Marley Marl, Cue Beats, Dame Grease, Music Mystro, Streetrunner|
Exit 13 is the twelfth studio album by American rapper LL Cool J. It was released on September 9, 2008 on the record label Def Jam Recordings
This album is the first LL Cool J album since G.O.A.T. to have the parental advisory label for explicit lyrics. LL said in an interview with Chicago radio personality DJ Z that the vulgarities are not heavy and the edited version has alternate lyrics rather than simply omitting the vulgarities. LL and DJ Kayslay teamed up to release his first mixtape as a prelude to Exit 13 titled The Return of the G.O.A.T..
Other contributors for this album include 50 Cent, Sheek Louch, Fat Joe, Ryan Leslie, Wyclef Jean, The-Dream, Lil Mo, KRS-One, Funkmaster Flex, Richie Sambora and Darlisa Blackshere.
A buzz single titled, "Cry," featuring Lil' Mo, was released as a digital download and international 12" single in June 17, 2008. The unofficial street single, "Rockin' with the G.O.A.T.," premiered on June 20, 2008.
The first official single, "Baby" featuring The-Dream was released on July 1, 2008 to the iTunes Music Store. On August 19, 2008, iTunes released the rock remix featuring Richie Sambora, lead guitarist of iconic rock band Bon Jovi, with a rock rhythm and a sped-up tempo.
The second official single, "Feel My Heart Beat" featuring 50 Cent was released on August 26, 2008. The song did not enter the Billboard Hot 100. The official single version of the song was leaked to the Internet on November 27, 2008.
Exit 13 garnered mixed reviews from music critics. At Metacritic, which assigns a normalized rating out of 100 to reviews from mainstream critics, the album received an average score of 57, based on 5 reviews.
Despite being too lengthy and containing lesser tracks like "American Girl", Jesal Padania of RapReviews praised the album for having a consistent sound of instruments and synths in the tracks and LL's strong lyricism, saying that "In other words, all that effort that LL finally put into Exit 13 has really paid off - and he is getting the best revenge of all... Showing Def Jam what they will be missing." Steve Jones of USA Today called it LL's "most aggressive album in years," praising his standard braggadocio and lady-swooning content for being consistently energetic because of an amalgam of young up-and-coming producers, concluding that "After 10 straight platinum albums, his last two have only gone gold. But he seems to have gotten his swagger back. He may be hitting the Exit, but he is not easing up on the gas." Jon Pareles of The New York Times felt that LL more than holds his own with the sounds delivered by newer producers that lift his old-school meets new-school lyricism, concluding with, "To his credit, LL Cool J is too romantic to treat women as crudely as younger rappers do. And while this 76-minute album flags near the end, there’s still more than enough smooth-tongued, quick-witted rhyming to justify his boasts." Andy Kellman of AllMusic said that despite tracks like "You Better Watch Me" and "This Is Ring Tone M..." that show LL at his best, he criticized the album for being too try-hard in sounding like the mainstream rap albums released that year, concluding that "Out with a whimper, not a bang, Exit 13 is an off-ramp leading to a boulevard of several mismanaged White Castle knock-offs."