LL Cool J has had many monikers throughout his nearly 40-year career. In fact, Mr. Smith even coined the term “GOAT.” Despite taking on different personas, LL didn’t take kindly to being labeled a pop rapper.
There’s no doubt that LL Cool J was one of hip-hop’s first crossover acts. He laid the foundation for acts like Drake to dominate the airwaves with songs dedicated to women and the luxuries of life. But, Cool J is also from an era when being “pop”/“pop music” was a bad word. So, LL took to Twitter on Monday where he let it be known that he’s the furthest thing from a “pop rap” founding father.
“Me being called the forefather of pop rap is very confusing,” LL wrote. “What the fuck are you talking about??”
Let’s have a moment of honesty here. Forget about NCIS: Los Angeles and Freddie Gibbs’s hilarious trolls for a second, and realized that LL Cool J is hard as hell! The man-made lyrical titans like Kool Moe Dee and Canibus look like featherweights. It’s not his fault that he was also talented enough to rip through beats—as he did on “Murdergram”—as well as create smash R&B-inspired singles like “Doin’ It” and “I Need Love.” It actually made him one of rap’s first superstars, helping him amass nearly 14 million records sold worldwide.
Yet, LL Cool J’s accomplishments—and rejection of “pop music”—leads fans back to the age-old question: “Is it ‘Pop’ because it’s successful?” This moved them to flood the timeline with their take on the phrase “pop rap” while also giving LL his props.