10 (Def Jam) He used to love proclaiming himself as the greatest rapper of all time. He was also so desperate to be bigger than actor-musician Will Smith. And, after recently declaring his support for New York Governor George Pataki's bid for re-election, he'll still get up on any stage he can. But for his 10th album on Def Jam, LL Cool J has got over himself. Sort of. 10 is a commercial package: 15 tracks of pure radio-friendly charm. The King of Kangol and Abs bangs out R&B hum-a-long songs, laced with old-skool flow and modern bounce. Sure, he's still sticking to his Ladies Love Cool James persona. But, perhaps owing to age (and, like, a few slammin' lessons in life), James Todd Smith has backed off from his power-hungry, bragging front. The result is likeable. And mainstream. The retro R&B radio hit Luv U Better is a good barometer: a sweet and smooth version of 1987's I Need Love, given the Neptunes' production polish. The collaboration with Pharrell Williams and Chad Hugo extends to four other tracks, including the saccharine Amazin' and bouncing Clockin' G's. While his own tracks aren't half-bad either, no hip-hop album is complete these days without a name-dropping buddy list. Amerie pops in for the happy groover, Paradise. Dru Hill lends some soul to Big Mama. And slickmeister Sean 'P Diddy' Combs drops a recognisable Diddy-licious delight with After School. LL Cool J did his career a favour with 10. He finished it - and managed to put his ego aside for 63 minutes.