Getting down to business with LL Cool J!
How is the road treating you?
Man, it’s beautiful.
You wanted to get in front of the people right?
That’s the whole purpose. I mean I haven’t toured in years. Going out and doing all the shows, meeting the fans and all that is great.
Get any nerves anymore?
(LL laughs at my stupid question and you know the laugh) Naw man. (Continues to laugh as I hurry another question to escape the humiliation.)
Is it crazy to see people who were kids when they first heard you now bringing their kids out to the show?
I got kids in the crowd from twelve to forty. It’s a really mixed crowd on every level. The crowd is so pumped up and energetic I’m just happy to get in front of them.
Do people yell for the older tracks?
Yeah, but you know it isn’t karaoke. (Laughs)
Way back in the day when your first record Radio came out did you ever think it’d get to this point?
I never even thought this far in the future. I was just hoping for the best. I did my best and hoped for the best and I’m grateful for what happened.
Any artists ever come up to you for advice?
Nah, I’m not a counselor. (Laughs) I’m not looking to be an elder statesman. I’m looking to be LL Cool J and be my best. I’m just lucky to be in my early thirties and to have the track record that I have.
So what’s up with Ten?
It’s a party album, lots of love, and lots of flavor. It’s the right record. It’s real flavorful. It’s sexy. It’s a really cool record.
Did you bring guests on the new record?
Not this time, this album is about LL Cool J showing everyone he is back.
Do you think you change or hip-hop just keeps pace with LL?
I don’t know why people think in life you have to play catch up and keep up to date. I live in the same world as everyone else. What is keep up to date? (Laughs) I’m always moving forward you know? Some artists get stuck in a path and keep going at it. I don’t sit around and polish my Grammy or Vanguard awards. I’m always thinking about new music. I think the new record is cool and is a big difference between keeping up and what I think is cool.
I remember way back when cats like Kool Moe Dee challenged you and most recently Canibus. Why do you think they choose you to go after?
It’s about the success. Success breeds challenge and challengers. That is just the nature of life. I just do the best I can. I don’t concern myself with that. I don’t look around for challenges. I don’t care about competing, I just want to make good music and be proud of what I’m doing. I just want to have fun.
I saw you have a few movies coming out.
I have a romantic comedy coming out called Deliver Us From Eva with Gabrielle Union and I have a psychological thriller coming out with Val Kilmer and Christian Slater called Mindhunters.
You have a unique position of being you in your music and playing a part in films.
Yeah, it’s funny playing someone else. The fun with music is getting to use your imagination and talk about a lot of things. They’re both a lot of fun.
You are always busy.
I like to keep it busy. It’s beautiful.
Is the dedication and commitment what keeps artists like you around?
I think dedication and commitment are what separates the men from the boys and the winners from the losers. If you stay focused and committed you’ll win one way or the other, now or later.
+ charlie craine