The Queens, New York legend joined Way Up With Angela Yee, where he explained that he actually recorded about 30 to 40 songs with Dre, but felt something wasn’t right and changed course creatively.
“So, the real story is that I did about 30 to 40 songs with Dr. Dre, and in doing those songs I felt like — the music was amazing what Dre was bringing to the table was super dope — but I felt like the writing, what I was bringing to these songs didn’t feel strong enough to me,” he explained.
“I didn’t feel like I was expressing, I was getting out of me, what I was feeling. In my mind, I didn’t feel like it was written properly.”
“So, I took a pause. Me and Dre just kinda paused for a minute. And I ended up having a dream, and in this dream Phife Dawg from A Tribe Called Quest came to me,” he added. “When he came in my dream he was like ‘Yo, that album you gonna do with Dre is gonna be dope.’ And I’m looking at him and he’s smirking a little bit.
“He had a funny look on his face. And then when I woke up, I just felt like Q-Tip was on my spirit. So I just called him. He picked up and I told him that I wanted to do an album. We went and did the record and the rest is history.”
The as-yet-untitled project will serve as LL COOL J’s first album in a decade and is expected to arrive later this year to coincide with Hip Hop’s 50th anniversary.
While LL would probably prefer not to call it a “comeback,” he’s calling on yet more big names to help him make his return, with Eminem, Nas, Rick Ross, Fat Joe and Saweetie reportedly set to feature on the project.
During a chat with E! News at the 2023 Grammy Awards — where he participated in the star-studded “Hip Hop 50” tribute performance — earlier this year, the self-proclaimed G.O.A.T. fueled excitement for his album by praising Q-Tip’s “unbelievable” skills behind the boards.
“The album I think is really, really special,” he said. “I think it’s something it’s modern without chasing. It’s a whole new thing. I can’t wait for the people to see it.
“I think honestly and sincerely that Q-Tip as a producer is unbelievable and what he did on this record for me, I think is amazing. So the world will decide.”
While further details remain scarce, LL kickstarted the rollout for the project earlier this month by premiering the first single, “The Force,” on Rock the Bells Radio.
Produced by Q-Tip, the hard-hitting track borrows sonic elements from Tip’s 1999 Amplified cut “End of Time” and lists the late, great Michael Jackson as a co-songwriter.
It also shares the same name as LL COOL J’s upcoming arena tour with The Roots, DJ Jazzy Jeff and DJ Z-Trip. Billed as the “ultimate Hip Hop mash-up tour,” the collective will be joined by a slew of special guests in select cities, from Big Boi and Bone Thugs-n-Harmony to Rick Ross and Rakim.