LL Cool J has stated in the past that he is the G.O.A.T, but now he’s saying it again for a different reason. The rapper turned actor says he pioneered being able to incorporate aspects of the heart into his rap songs and still be respected.
The Queens born rap icon did an interview with Complex from under quarantine at his home where he spoke about his journey though the music industry. During the interview, host Speedy Morman touched on how his career helped paved the way for other rappers to do love songs with the release of “I Need Love” in 1987.
Although the track is considered a classic nowadays, LL said he got a lot of backlash back then for going against traditional hip-hop norms, even though the song was a huge hit at the time. He recalled an instance where he got booed at a concert in London when he performed the hit.
“They didn’t even understand this idea at the time that hip-hop could go there. But, you know, that’s part of being a pioneer,” LL remarked.
He agreed that it did feel like he had to “carry the cross so that the guys of today can do the same” but he doesn’t regret it.
“I’m glad that it created a genre. I’m glad that now, years later, a Fabolous can go out and do his thing and still be very well respected as a lyricist,” he told Complex. “A Jadakiss can do his love song and still be well respected as a lyricist.”
Morman interjected to add Ja Rule’s name to the list and LL named 50 Cent as well.
“I put that love and that female, that vibe in there that gives dudes a lane,” he continued. “People compare me to Drake all the time, but we’re very different artists because I have a lot of hard records. I’m very diverse, but in that aspect of my career, it paved the way for guys like that, who I’m happy for.”
Further into the interview, LL Cool J recalled some advice late pop icon Michael Jackson once shared with him after the two ended up on a plane together.
“He was like, ‘Let me tell you something, LL. No matter what you do, never limit yourself. I never forgot that,” he shared.
Listen to the rest of the interview to hear how LL Cool J was inspired by Jackson’s Bad album.
(Photo: Neilson Barnard/Getty Images for SiriusXM)