LL has lost all his cool. Sitting in his New York City hotel room last Tuesday, the rap legend was laughing hysterically because somebody made the mistake of asking the author of "I'm Bad" if he had butterflies about releasing his next LP, Ten.
"Nah, I don't have any butterflies about putting this record out," he said, chuckles still lingering under his breath. "It is what it is. I'm more excited ... The last album I felt this good about was Mr. Smith. Before that was Mama Said Knock You Out" (see "LL Cool J Hoping For Duet With Fellow Stud Muffin Usher").
LL is understandably confident. His first single from the new album, "Luv U Better," has gotten rave reviews, and he just released the video to further fan the flames.
"I think it's a nice hip-hop moment," he said about the clip. "The song was inspired by the personal relationships in my life and the video was more inspired by 'Pretty Woman' and some of the stuff I've been doing in film lately. It's sort of a marriage of both of my lives, my music and my films coming together as one. The video is kind of like a tribute to 'Pretty Woman' and treating the ladies special and making them feel good, celebrating their love and giving them a little extra love. I think it's necessary and it's a beautiful thing."
A major aspect of the song's success is the rich-sounding hook that is sung by industry journeyman Marc Dorsey. Uncle L said he didn't have any problems going with the forgotten crooner instead of using an A-list name.
"He just sounded good, he can sing," LL explained about the collaboration with Dorsey, who sang on soundtracks for various Spike Lee joints and released his only album, Crave, in 1999. "I'm not about doing all this stunt stuff. If I do a song with somebody famous, I feel like they're right for the song. It's nice to have events, but talent speaks for itself and he's talented. It was the right sound for the record."
The sound of screaming fans on his recent tour was all the fuel that Cool J needed to determine he wanted to go out on a second leg in the near future. But if you have any plans of coming to an LL concert, the mic king wants you to come in peace. While performing at 100.3 the Beat's Summer Jam concert in Los Angeles recently, he witnessed a brawl and said he wants no part of violence.
"It was a big riot out there, it was just unfortunate," he said. "I hated to see black men make fools of themselves. It really disturbed me, it was very embarrassing to see these young men, who obviously need love and need fathers and need guidance, making fools of themselves, making fools out of me and everybody else. I think we can all take it to another level, I don't mean to judge, I just think that it's a better way to accomplish what we want to accomplish other than going to a concert and fighting."