The track, which LL debuted on Rock The Bells Radio on Thursday (May 4), serves as the first preview of his upcoming 14th studio album, which will be produced entirely by the A Tribe Called Quest luminary.
“The Force” borrows sonic elements from Tip’s 1999 Amplified cut “End of Time” and lists the late, great Michael Jackson as a co-songwriter.
“THE FORCE,” LL COOL J wrote on Twitter after premiering the song. “This album is my contribution to the culture. watch it unfold.”
The track also shares the same name as LL’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.
“The Force” has yet to be released on streaming services, but a minute-long snippet can be heard below:
The new release is promising considering LL COOL J had to pump the brakes on his upcoming album over recording issues, which he detailed on Twitter back in February.
In a series of since-deleted tweets, the 55-year-old revealed that he’s still “trying to figure this album out” and followed that up with a post that read: “just not feeling like this album is worthy of being released [facepalm emoji] I tried.”
He also added: “not dropping it.”
However, LL returned just hours later to clarify that the project is still moving forward while tagging Q-Tip.
“Okay so everyone’s been asking me about the new record and my decision and I was considering not putting the album out because IT’S TOO FUCKING GOOD,” LL said. “Q-Tip you a genius baby this my favorite album I ever made. I can’t wait for y’all to hear this. Tracklist coming soon.”
LL COOL J’s last full-length project was Authentic, which dropped in 2013. It debuted at No. 23 on the Billboard 200 and sold 14,000 copies in its first week.
At the 2023 Grammy Awards earlier this year, LL spoke about his next project and said he was locked in on getting it out.
“I know all the tricks. I got this covered,” he said. “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.”
He added: “The album, I think, is really, really special. 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.”