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The Greatest of All Time – Part 5 of 5

Posted by ThatsMyJamRadio on August 1, 2008

LL Cool J is easily one of the most important rappers around because he’s been active since the early days of hip-hop’s commercial success. Read his thoughts on maturing in the game, what he says is his best work and the keys to his successful marriage.

THAT’S MY JAM: You got a prank call from Eminem on the radio a couple of weeks ago.
LL COOL J: Yeah.

Have you had a chance to get together and watch any of the NBA Finals yet?
Yeah, we’re going to link up and hook up. Em’s a great guy and I have a lot of respect for him, and we’re definitely going to link up.

OK. Are you guys going to collaborate on your new album or even on his new album?
Not sure. Don’t wanna put it on any work. If it happens, anything’s possible, but we’re just hanging, we’re just cool.

So, what’ll be your next move after Exit 13? Do you have any film roles in the works?
I have a drama with CBS. By the grace of God, after this project, I’ll be moving into this drama. I’m doing the deal with Les Moonves and Nina Tasler to do my own dramatic series, so after this project and this run I’ll hopefully just be moving into that.

OK. What’s the show going to be called?
Not sure yet. It was tentatively titled, but then the writer’s strike happened and we re-tooled the show, so we don’t have a title anymore.

OK. What’s the theme of the show?
It’ll be something in the undercover realm, but the key for me is to make sure it’s not predictable. That’s easier said than done, but it’s what I’m going for.

OK. Because you’ve definitely got a viewpoint that nobody else does, what’s your view on the current state of hip-hop music?

I think the South brought a lot of fun back to it. I think it was something that was missing and it’s obvious that the fans wanted it. At the same time, I think that music is a little different now because a lot of times people base the state of hip-hop on what they hear on the radio, but they ignore the fact that a lot of people listen to their music online and they’re choosing and selecting their music that they want to hear. The record that may be in heavy rotation in your iPod may never play on the radio, so I think the state of hip-hop is a little confusing because what they really mean is the state of hip-hop on the radio. That’s kind of how it comes off to me because personally, I’m a guy that loves the Internet and loves to go online. I’m very much a part of that culture and very much a guy that likes to surf, go to the blogs, stream music, listen to music, check out articles, see comments, so I think it’s very healthy. I think there’s a lot of passion out there for the music, I just think that radio is in the process of catching up with what the people are really wanting out there.

OK. Who have you found with your surfing that you’re feeling right now that isn’t getting that mainstream exposure?
Well, you know, I’ve been so focused on my project right now that I haven’t been searching for anyone in particular to discover. I’ve really been listening to my own project and focusing on making this record great. But I have been going out there, listening to some stuff, reading some stuff, checking some stuff out to just get a general feeling. But I’m not paying too much attention to too many other things right now, but not to sound stupid and that I don’t pay attention to the landscape that I’m creating music in, but right now I’m just focusing on my project.

Yeah, definitely. Now, because of your long career, and you’ve been with your wife for the majority of it, how have you guys been able to maintain your relationship in the hip-hop world?
[Laughs] Using some of that stuff I say on records, for real.

[Laughs] Keep it honest.
For real, man, other than that … [laughs]

[Laughs] ‘Nuff said. Alright, is there anything I haven’t asked you that you’d like to say about your record or anything else?
Nah, man, I think it’s great ― oh, I have a great venture that I did online. It’s called It’s a place for aspiring artists to go and upload their music, there’s an online studio, it’s an incredible thing. We didn’t do a beta yet, it’s still a homepage, but you can get a general idea for what it is and you can put your e-mail in and I’ll send you an invite when it’s time for the beta. But that’s going to be my next musical venture. That’s very exciting. I partnered with the people who started and we did this thing, so it’s very interesting and progressive.

Are you looking to discover the next big rapper?

I think that we will probably end up doing that because there’s just so much great music there and so many people are going to put their music there, and so many people are going to want to be a part of it. So it’s going to be hot.

OK. Would this signal an interest in being a producer in your next career life span?
Well, when you say producer, a lot of the records I’ve done I made a lot of the beats, and produced and arranged a lot of them, you know? A lot of them.

Check out LL’s article, “Doin’ It Well,” in the August issue of 944 magazine, available now in San Francisco, San Diego, Phoenix, Las Vegas, Orange County, Miami and Los Angeles.

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