LL Cool J is honoring the legacy of celebrated actor Chadwick Boseman, who died at the age of 43 after a four-year battle with cancer.
“He inspired Black people all around the world… he inspired people in general, the rapper said in a new interview with STROMBO on Apple Music Hits. “I think in a short period of time he became a true-to-life hero in his ability to kinda fight through what he was dealing with unbeknownst to the world is just unbelievable, man.”
“Playing that character in Black Panther and changing the perception of how movies with Black leads can be treated worldwide, he proved that this whole idea that Blacks couldn’t sell internationally was a complete and absolute myth,” LL Cool J said of the impact Boseman’s work had on the film industry. “I mean, he debunked that myth on every level. It proved that it was just part of some sort of systemic bias that had kinda been baked in to society.”
“These racist thoughts really have no true merit. They’re just rules that people were living by that really were only true because they were being enforced. I think for lack of a better word he broke the ‘4 minute mile.’ People just thought no one could do that, and he just proved what could be done,” he added.
LL Cool J also took a moment to look back on his own career, bringing up his now 30-year-old album and song Mama Said Knock You Out.
“‘Mama Said Knock You Out,’ for example, as much as we loved that record and it’s a global kind of iconic song and all that, the record didn’t get that much support on the radio,” he said of the early ’90s single. “It wasn’t being played at that time. It got some play on MTV but not that much. I’ve never really had music or projects that had full blown support until NCIS Los Angeles.”
LL Cool J looked back fondly at the time period of recording it, recalling that “the vibe was great.”
“I just remember driving around,” he said. “I remember riding around feeling the vibe. I remember going to the little stores at the gas station, getting the wine coolers, driving upstate with Molly in the BMW, running around, getting food. Marley be in the studio sparking up and smoking, the incense burning, the music is playing. It was just a great, great natural vibe. We were locked in. We were in the zone and I was focused.”
But Mama Said Knock You Out, as he explained, was not a planned project: “We went in the studio and we were working and then one thing lead to another and he was like, ‘Yo let me do the album,’ I was like why not? I saw the response of the ‘Jingling Baby’ remix and we just kept working on the project.”
Speaking of projects, the rapper’s got something in the works with Q-Tip.
“I think even my day-one fans will be pleasantly surprised by what it sounds like sonically,” he pointed out, “because it’s very difficult to envision what a new thing for me would sound like because you’re only listening to my old stuff, and it’s been so many years, so I think this will be really exciting for people.”
Tune in to STROMBO on Apple Music Hits to hear the full interview. The show airs at 5 p.m. ET/2 p.m. PT from Monday to Thursday.