LL Cool J is preparing for his upcoming album and recently revealed a major shift in his creative process. The 55-year-old said that Dr. Dre was the original producer, before a dream led him to call on Q-Tip.
The Queens, N.Y. rapper appeared on the May 22 episode of Way Up With Angela Yee and shared details on his extensive work with the Compton artist. “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,” LL said. “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 went on to discuss a dream where he was visited by the late Phife Dawg, which inspired him to collaborate with The Abstract. “I ended up having a dream, and in this dream, Phife Dawg from A Tribe Called Quest came to me,” the NCIS actor said. “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.”
Evidently, connecting with one member of A Tribe Called Quest led to another one being on his mind. “And then when I woke up, I just felt like Q-Tip was on my spirit,” LL Cool J said, continuing his story. “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.”
History has been on LL Cool J’s mind since early in 2023, as he took the stage at the GRAMMYs in February as part of the tribute performance for Hip-Hop’s 50th anniversary. The “Luv U Better” artist was joined by Black Thought, Grandmaster Flash and The Furious Five, Queen Latifah, The LOX, Lil Baby, and several other major acts spanning generations.