POP MUSIC : MIXED MEDIA : *** “THE FUTURE OF THE FUNK” : L.L. Cool J : <i> SMV Enterprises ($19.98)</i>

If you think the new generation of rappers has left this veteran in the dust, check out this entertaining 65 minutes of greatest-hits clips and interviews. Maybe these clips are relatively tame by today’s raunchy standards, but the pleasure of watching Cool J in videos like “Mama Said Knock You Out” and “Big Ole Butt” is in savoring his snappy, crackling delivery. None of the clips are particularly provocative or pithy, but some are funny and all are elegantly shot and conceptually imaginative. Refreshingly, Cool J, who’s by far the best of the clean, mainstream rappers, has a sense of humor about himself, often poking fun at his ego. Interspersed among the clips are interviews with family members and business associates, who even mention foibles and career mistakes. You get a fairly well-rounded portrait of Cool J--a rarity in these generally superficial, self-serving video collections.

Videocassettes are rated on a scale of one star (poor) to three (good) to five (a classic).