“I made an album for LL Cool J fans, I didn’t make an album for four-year-olds.” [Scroll down to listen.]
*Even if you don’t watch “NCIS: Los Angeles,” or know anyone who does, old school heads have to be happy for its star LL Cool J.
The 44-year-old from St. Albans Queens was a skinny teen in a bright red Kangol when he first ignited hip hop in 1985 with his single “I Need a Beat.”
The entertainer, born James Todd Smith, is still considered one of the genre’s most durable MCs – and because of his numerous film roles and current TV gig, his demographic has expanded from Generation X rap fans to people of all ages and races who make up NCIS Nation (the viewership that keeps his show and the original “NCIS” atop the Nielsen ratings list each week).
In the series, LL plays Senior Field Agent Sam Hanna, an ex-Navy SEAL who works in the LA-based Office of Special Projects, headed by Chris O’Donnell’s character G. Callen. OSP is an elite division of the Naval Criminal Investigative Service that specializes in undercover assignments.
LL, who is currently in production on season 4, told us exclusively that fans are headed for a roller coaster of emotions following the Sept. 25 premiere.
“Oh it’s crazy,” he said. “One key character is retiring; people are not going to be happy about that one. The dynamics between two other characters takes a turn for the worse in a really strange way, and that’s going to be much more complicated. But, through it all, there’s still banter and fun and humor. It’s wild. It’s interesting.”
Even though LL has his two feet firmly planted in Hollywood, the rapper continues to hang his Kangol in hip hop. Below, he tells us what he’s been up to on the music side, and if he feels pressure to compete with rap’s youngins who currently dominate the airwaves.
Below, vintage LL.