This week, LL Cool J's latest album, Authentic, is in stores. So obviously he's on a press run and doing interviews. Problem is, hardly anyone wants to talk about (or hear about) his new album as much as they want to keep discussing his incredibility misguided Brad Paisley collaboration, "Accidental Racist."
In an interview with Spin, LL continued to defend the song, although he admitted it wasn't perfect.
"People don't want to give up the anger over the past for peace today," said the Queens rapper. "If you think about it, that's the thing that has the whole entire world in war. It's very simple. 'I'm not gonna give up my anger over the past in order to have peace today.' That's all it boils down to."
He went on, defending some of the most controversial lines in the song.
"When I say, 'If you don't judge my gold chains, I'll forget the iron chains,' I’m not lessening the weight and severity," he said. "I’m not trying to trivialize slavery, that would be horrifying. I might as well be a serial killer. But what I am saying is that, okay, those things happened, but instead of me walking around being bitter about the past, my thing is this: Don't run up on me about being a crack dealer or pull me over and illegally search me just based on my appearance."
Hearing LL make this argument, he doesn't sound so bad.
Let's forgive the past and make it right in the present. Let's not let our anger divide us.
Who can't get with that?
But, hearing that song, it just didn't come across that way. Some of that certainly has to with the fact that race is the most divisive subject in America, one that permeates subjects that seemingly have nothing to do with it. It's a subject so intense it requires the kind of nuance great art can sometimes achieve.
That's the thing about creating art: Everyone's idea is genius when it's in their head. But bringing that idea to life takes true genius.
The saddest part about all this is LL was once an actual rhyme genius who could convey a message about racism and oppression and still make a great song on tracks like "Illegal Search."
But now, he makes songs like "Accidental Racist" which shows just how far he's fallen as an artist, even if he's matured as a person off the mic.
It's easy to forgive someone for making a bad decision. In this particular case, it's hard to forgive him for making such bad art.
Can't an old man make good music any more?