RTB Rewind: LL COOL J's 'G.O.A.T.' Creates a New Acronym For Hip-Hop

RTB Rewind: LL COOL J's 'G.O.A.T.' Creates a New Acronym For Hip-Hop

Published Tue, September 12, 2023 at 4:00 PM EDT

Ill Bomb

In September of 2000, LL COOL J released his eighth studio album, G.O.A.T.,which peaked at number one on the US Billboard 200. Production for G.O.A.T. was largely handled by DJ Scratch and reportedly sparked by Scratch's production on 1999's "Ill Bomb" from Funkmaster Flex & Big Kap's 2000 project The Tunnel.

"Well, that was basically through the Funkmaster Flex & Big Kap project, The Tunnel," Scratch told AllHipHop in 2006. "I gave a beat to Flex. It was the track 'Ill Bomb.' Flex put LL on it and he killed it. And that is one of my favorite songs out of my whole discography. I went to do the scratches on the song, and LL was there in the studio, and he asked me if I had any beats. I gave him a cd with six songs on it, and he picked all of them for the album."

The lead single from G.O.A.T. was the Rockwilder-produced "Imagine That" featuring LeShaun. The synthesizer-heavy track features LL and LeShaun trading sexually suggestive lyrics for the hook, while the video brought some of the sexual fantasies expressed in the song to life.

"Shut 'Em Down" was released as a bonus track on G.O.A.T. as well as on the soundtrack for Any Given Sunday. The track produced by DJ Scratch featured the triplet flow which was extremely popular at the time. "You And Me" featured Kelly Price and was the last single released from the project. The mid tempo track features LL serenading a young lady who has been done wrong by her boyfriend.

The G.O.A.T.

The album title and acronym G.O.A.T. was a declaration, and a reminder that LL COOL J is one one of the game's best and brightest lyricists, but it delivered an unintended result.

"G.O.A.T.," which stands for Greatest Of All Time, has become one of Hip-Hop's go-to phrases when fans are describing MCs who they feel are deserving of the accolade. The term has spread outside of Hip-Hop to include athletes, artists, and anyone who could be rated as the best in their field. Boxing legend Muhammad Ali claimed often that he was the greatest of all time, but he never used the acronym.

"It's beautiful. To be able to make that contribution to the world? I'm just glad that people saw the vision, and it turned into an everyday word," LL told Adam Graham of The Detroit News in a recent interview. He also explained the genesis of the wildly popular acronym. "It was Earl 'The Goat' Manigault the streetball legend, and Muhammad Ali, the greatest of all time," he said. "I took those two things and I put it together and I came up with The G.O.A.T., the greatest of all time. I just made it an acronym, and I guess it stuck, huh?"

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