LL Cool J Puts Fans First In Decision To Tour

Rapper/actor touring before new LP drops, though label would prefer otherwise.

When it came to touring, LL Cool J took some important people's wishes into consideration — though they weren't exactly the folks at his label, Def Jam.

"[Def Jam] wanted me to go out after my next album came out, but I couldn't wait," LL said backstage at Tuesday's BET Awards (see "Ja Rule, Missy, B2K Win, Suge And Snoop Exchange Words At BET Awards"). "I really missed seeing people live. My fans have been supporting me for so long and I felt like I wasn't giving back to them."

LL, who hadn't toured in years until he kicked of the tour last week, plays next in Pittsburgh on June 28 and crosses the country and back before he wraps the outing August 17 in New York. (see "LL Cool J Going Back To Cali — And A Lot Of Other Places").

Once he returns home, the self-proclaimed greatest rapper of all time will put the finishing touches on his 10th album, Ten (see "LL Cool J Turns Focus Back To 'Ladies Love' On Ten").

The Neptunes and Track Masters are splitting the production duties on the record, according to LL, who said he "lets the producers produce."

"I take control [of my music], but at the same time I realize that there are a lot of smart people out there and you need to pay attention when they are in the room," Cool J said.

Ten, like 1990's Mama Said Knock You Out, will be without profanity. "It's a positive album with real good energy," LL said. "I put my heart and soul into it, but it's not corny or anything."