Def Jam legend and hip hop icon LL Cool J has an entertainment career that many artists envy. He stepped into the music scene back in the 1980s when he was just a teenager looking to use his talents to impress the ladies, and decades later, the happily married father is a hip hop entrepreneur with career longevity that millions admire.
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LL Cool J gave a quarantined, social distancing interview with Complex recently and spoke about his journey in the industry and what it was like to help pave the way for many artists that we love today. In 1987, LL released his sophomore album Bigger and Deffer, and with the project came one of his beloved classics, “I Need Love.” It was one of the first hip hop songs where a rapper dropped bars over a smooth R&B beat and spit lyrics about romance. That seems like the norm now, but back then, it was a breakthrough in hip hop.
“I put that love and that female..that vibe in there that gives dudes a lane,” LL Cool J to Complex. “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, which I’m happy for. I like a lot of his music too.”
This isn’t the first time that LL has made a statement like that. Back in 2011, LL Cool J spoke with MTV News on the red carpet for the BET Awards where he said something similar. “It’s pretty obvious that what Dr. Dre and N.W.A did for gangsta rap music, I did for romantic music and music with females,” the rapper said prior to receiving the I Am Hip Hop Lifetime-Achievement Award that year.
“I basically started a section of a genre and created it and put it out there, and now lots of people are doing it. I think it’s great,” he said back then. “The more, the better. It’s better than downing them and telling [women] they ain’t nothing… So I’m happy for [Drake] and I’m glad he decided to go that lane, and I wish everybody the best.” Watch LL Cool J’s interview with Complex below to see what else the hip hop icon had to say about meeting 50 Cent before the fame and holding onto advice he received from Michael Jackson.