LL Cool J Welcomes 50 Cent, Richie Sambora on New Album, Declares It a "Summer Blockbuster"

June 30, 2008 5:41 PM ET

LL Cool J would totally buy his new record Exit 13, which comes out August 5th. His last few? Maybe not. "This is a record that I actually, honestly believe from the deepest part of my soul, I would buy — every record you make is not like that," says the vet rapper, who hasn't had a platinum album since 1997's Phenomenon. LL chalks recent lackluster efforts up to distractions. "With all my television and film projects, the quality level of my recent albums has suffered," says the MC, who has starred in movies like S.W.A.T. and Last Holiday and made a memorable guest appearance as a rapper named Ridikolus on an episode of 30 Rock. LL says that during the Hollywood writers' strike, he had some time on his hands and wound up recording and tossing most tracks from two full albums before coming up with material for Exit 13. "This new album isn't gonna be what people are used to hearing from me the last couple of records," he says. "This thing is gonna be a whole other level of dedication, commitment, creativity — this isn't the little independent movie, this is the big summer blockbuster."

The street single "I Cry," a bittersweet love song with a hook by Lil' Mo, and the raunchy official single "Baby," featuring The-Dream, are both getting spins at radio. LL promises that the rest of the album is full of surprises. "Heartbeat," featuring 50 Cent is about role-playing in the bedroom, while "Rockin' With the G.O.A.T.," produced by DJ Scratch, is a bass-heavy boast track. The album also features appearances by Wyclef Jean, Lil' Kim, Jim Jones, KRS-One, Method Man, and a remix of "Baby" with Bon Jovi guitarist Richie Sambora. "It's really a departure," LL says of the record. "Rick Rubin would be proud of me."

The album title refers to the fact that this is LL's 13th album on Def Jam and the last on his contract. It's been a rocky relationship, with LL questioning some of Jay-Z's managerial decisions and claiming the label didn't properly promote some of his albums, but he says things are better now. "We're back on the same page, it feels great," says the MC, who has said he's glad that Jay-Z is no longer running the label. "It's my last record on the contract, but that doesn't mean that our relationship is over."

To read the new issue of Rolling Stone online, plus the entire RS archive: Click Here

Music Main Next
Around the Web
Powered By ZergNet
Daily Newsletter

Get the latest RS news in your inbox.

Sign up to receive the Rolling Stone newsletter and special offers from RS and its
marketing partners.


We may use your e-mail address to send you the newsletter and offers that may interest you, on behalf of Rolling Stone and its partners. For more information please read our Privacy Policy.

Song Stories


The Commodores | 1984

The year after soul legends Marvin Gaye and Jackie Wilson died, songwriter Dennis Lambert asked members of the Commodores to give him a tape of ideas. "And the one from Walter Orange has this wonderful bass line," said co-writer Franne Golde. "Plus the lyric, 'Marvin, he was a friend of mine' ... Within 10 minutes, we had decided it should be something like a modern R&B version of 'Rock 'n' Roll Heaven,' and I just said, 'Nightshift.'" This tribute to the recently deceased musicians was the band's only hit without Lionel Richie, who had left for a solo career.

More Song Stories entries »