LL Cool J On 'Accidental Racist' And Authenticity | WAMU 88.5 - American University Radio
Filed Under:

LL Cool J On 'Accidental Racist' And Authenticity

Play associated audio

LL Cool J has been making music for more than 25 years. Through it all, he says, he's tried his best to remain authentic.

"The last thing that I want to do is be a hack," says the rapper and actor, born James Todd Smith. "Someone who is adapting to whatever the current trend is, and manipulating the public into being on board with me even though, from an artistic standpoint, I'm not doing anything."

Authentic is the name of LL Cool J's new album. It's his first in five years, as well as his first since splitting from Def Jam, the label that launched his recording career.

Authentic bursts at the seams with guest artists, including Chuck D, Eddie Van Halen, and Earth, Wind and Fire. It also comes hot on the heels of his controversial collaboration with country singer Brad Paisley, "Accidental Racist."

"Music is like a Rorschach test: People hear what they want to hear," LL says. "With that being said, when it comes to that particular song, the only thing that really surprised me is that, me being in the public eye for so long, and people knowing my history and my background, for people to suggest that I was trivializing slavery," he says, chuckling hard enough to lose his breath for a moment. "That was pretty shocking."

LL Cool J spoke with weekends on All Things Considered host Arun Rath. To hear more of their conversation, including LL's story of hearing himself on the radio for the first time, click the audio link.

Copyright 2013 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

NPR

TLC's '19 Kids' Pulled For Sex-Abuse Scandal

Josh Duggar of TLC's 19 Kids and Counting admitted "wrongdoing" amid media reports that he allegedly fondled underage girls as a teenager. NPR's Scott Simon speaks with TV critic Eric Deggans.
NPR

Clean Your Grill, And Other Hot Holiday Tips From Alton Brown

Whether you're barbecuing OR grilling, a meat-eater or a vegetarian, here's how to keep your flavor from going up in smoke this Memorial Day weekend.
NPR

Senate Blocks Measures To Extend NSA Data Collection

The Senate worked late into the night but was not able to figure out what to do about expiring provisions in the Patriot Act that authorize the NSA's bulk collection of Americans' phone records.
NPR

The Future Of Cardiology Will Be Shown In 3-D

The Living Heart Project aims to create a detailed simulation of the human heart that doctors and engineers can use to test experimental treatments and interventions.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.