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L.L. COOL J, September 16, 2002

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While adding to his list of credits in films such as "Any Given Sunday," "Deep Blue Sea" and "Rollerball," L.L. Cool J strayed away from the music scene, with no concerts and just one album to speak of in the past four years. But all that is about to change. L.L. returned to the road in June and started getting to know his audio audience again in preparation of the Oct. 15 release of his new album, Ten. As always, the styles will be diverse, but L.L. isn't jumping on the latest trends just to debut at No. 1 (although his 2000 album, The Greatest Of All Time, did just that anyway). His goal is longevity. And his film career isn't going away, either. Next year, L.L. stars alongside Gabrielle Union in "Deliver Us From Eva" and with Val Kilmer and Christian Slater in "Mindhunters." The 411 Online caught up with L.L. during a stop close to home.

So what's going on with you?

"Everything is beautiful. I'm in New York at a hotel right now."

How did getting back out on the road treat you?

"It was lovely... beautiful, man. Had a good time... a lot of good vibes... got to go all over the country. I had a ball."

What do you have in store for us on the new record?

"It's just a real feel-good record, you know? A lot of party records. A lot of romantic records. It's got a clean vibe, very complimentary of the young ladies. Overall, it's a record that has a lot of good energy on it."

How has the first single, "Luv U Better," been received so far?

"It's doing very well."

You've been around hip-hop for a long time and you've grown with it. How do you think it's changed the most?

"There's just more opportunity to get in, but it's harder to be seen and be noticed because there's more competition. I mean, there used to be a time when people were excited to hear their records in the daytime, but now whole stations are based on the music."

What do you credit the most for your longevity?

"That's just the mercy of God. That's just like him parting the Red Sea and just letting me get through. I mean, lightning strikes, you know? How do you become Warren Buffett? I don't know. It just happens."

You've launched or prolonged the careers of several artists by putting them on your records or even by battling them. Is there anyone that you haven't worked with that you still want to?

"No one comes to mind, but that's not to say that there isn't anyone. I mean, I let the moment hit me when the moment hits me. I leave that open. I just want to be as creative as possible and work with people that I really get along with and work with people that I can have a lot of fun with. That's what I do."

Nowadays when you throw in a CD, do you stay current or do you dig in the crates for something?

"For my personal enjoyment? It's a combination. I'll be listening to Jimi Hendrix and P.O.D. or Linkin Park and then flip it and listen to Eminem's album or Will Smith's album or a Mobb Deep album. I go a lot of different directions with my musical tastes. I enjoy all kinds of music."

Of your 10 albums, what's your favorite?

"My favorite three would be Mama Said Knock You Out, Mr. Smith and this new one coming out."

What else can you tell me about Ten? Do you have some guest artists on it?

"As far as guest appearances, there's only three. That's Amerie, Dru Hill and P. Diddy. That's it."

What are you most proud of -- your long, successful music career, or the fact that you've made a name for yourself in Hollywood as an actor?

"I'm proud of both. They're both a tremendous accomplishment. Neither one is easy. I'm proud of both. I enjoy both equally. I love the music and I love the films and it's very enjoyable. I just love what I'm doing as an entertainer in general."

A lot of MCs have their beefs and move on, dismissing the conflict as just good business later on. Let me take you back to one of the originals: If you saw Kool Moe Dee on the street today, what would it be like?

"Honestly, I don't even have a comment for that."

Okay. Let me ask you this: What's left for you to accomplish?

"Success is a journey, not a destination. There's always something more to accomplish. A lot of times, people have the tendency to think that once you achieve a goal, that's it. Almost like winning one game, but life is a season. It's like a football season or a basketball season and there are a lot of games in that season and a lot of chances to win and a lot of chances to lose and a lot of chances to win again. There's always more goals to set. It isn't about having something left to accomplish, like I've done it all. There's an infinite amount of stuff left for me to do. There's an unbelievable amount of stuff to do."

 

-- J Rough, The 411 Online


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