LL Cool J has a lot on his mind.
After releasing his latest album, Exit 13, the living legend sat down with the Associated Press to discuss working with 50 Cent, Nas and Jay-Z departing Def Jam.
On 50: Working with 50 was inspiring. You have to realize I had no reason to be hungry. When you're the best at something for a long time, and you make albums in a couple months and they're still going gold or selling a million records ... and you're making a living in films and stuff, it affects the music. But watching 50 crouch over that notebook and seeing him bounce back and forth in the studio, that inspired me and made me hungry again.
On Jay-Z impacting Exit 13: As far as him leaving, it's not really relevant because I was already working on my record anyway. It was nothing he would have been able to do to stop it. It would have been what it was going to be either way. And I don't think he would have wanted to stop it.
On 25 years in the rap game: I don't have a rap artist in front of me to look at to say, "OK, what do you do when you're in your 25th year of your rap career?" Because most of the guys that are my age, they've only been out for 12 years, or 13 or 14 years max. The guys that people call veterans in hip-hop are like new guys to me. Let's take a guy like Nas. I love Nas; I respect Nas. He's from Queens and I love him, but Nas is like a new cat to me. You know what I'm saying? It's incredible to me, but I respect him as a legend and I respect him as a man. ... I just to make hot records; I want to give people hot music, and I just have to lead the way.