In 1984, LL Cool J was the first artist signed to Def Jam. For the next twenty-four years, LL Cool J released twelve successful albums on the label. LL Cool J served as the flagship artist for Def Jam, as the label expanded. By the 1990s, Def Jam had a new roster of talent, boasting Jay-Z and his roster of Roc-A-Fella, DMX, Ja Rule, and Irv Gotti’s Murder Inc.
The new influx of talent was initially praised. Though he never recorded with Jay-Z, LL Cool J maintained a positive relationship with him. Being label-mates with DMX and Ja Rule led to LL collaborating with both. Even with new talent and sub-labels, the management at Def Jam was basically the same, so LL Cool J was given the proper respect.
But, once new management took over the label, LL Cool J had trouble securing release dates on the label, leading to his disgust. Once his Exit 13 album was delayed for two years, LL Cool J made it clear he was leaving Def Jam. When he was offered a position with “NCIS: LA,” LL Cool J made it clear he was ending his career.
After a year, many began to speculate if LL Cool J had a new album in the works. LL Cool J expressed interest in making music again and fans grew excited. During a recent interview withXXL, LL Cool J confirmed he was in the studio preparing to release a new album.
Read an excerpt of LL Cool J’s XXL interview below:
“I’m going to be doing a little bit of the album on the [My Connect Studio], make sure that it is official,” he said. “And as a matter of fact I started on my album too. It’s authentic Hip Hop, it’s the business…it’s 2012, so it doesn’t sound like it would sound if it were 10 years ago or 20 years ago, but it’s definitely official. It’s a breath of fresh air. It doesn’t sound like anything that’s out right now. I think it’s crazy. It’s the business. It’s real.”