In an interview with HipHopDX on Tuesday, July 21, LL Cool J opens up about his viral Black Lives Matter rap, specifically the decision to go acapella.
On June 1, LL Cool J uploaded an acapella rap verse airing his grievances about George Floyd's death and the Black Lives Matter movement. The rapper explained to HipHopDx that the tipping point pushing him to make a public statement, instead of just privately grieving, was when he "started seeing people wondering where certain people stood." He said that he saw people curious and cynical about where celebrities stand on the issue.
"I just wanted to be very, very clear about where I was at," the "I Need Love" artist added.
He further explained that "you gotta step up, put it on the line and let people know what side of history you're on." He then recalled staying up all night thinking about the issue at hand. He got up, "just wrote something," and recorded it in his phone.
Regarding the lack of beat in his viral bars, the 52-year-old artists said that "It was about the inner rhythms." Cool J explained that his message wasn't about beats. It was him using his platform to "speak to the world."
"It wasn't about being polished or none of that. It was just about the truth," the hit producer said.
"A garden of evil with no seeds of respect"
On Monday, May 25, a viral clip showed a black man lying on the street as a white police officer knelt on his neck. The black man, later identified as George Floyd, can be heard pleading and calling for his mother as former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin kept his knee on the man's neck. George Floyd later died from the incident. Since then, the event has drawn criticism and has sparked nationwide protests.
A week later, LL Cool J posted a video on his Instagram TV page in response to the incident. "For 400 years, you had your knees on our necks," he opened. "A garden of evil with no seeds of respect." In his 2:39 video, the rapper lambasted the institutional racism black Americans experience.
One of the incidents LL Cool J mentioned in his verses was the incident dubbed as "BBQ Becky." Back in April 2018, a white woman called the cops over a group of black people using a charcoal grill in a reportedly restricted area.
LL Cool J also enumerated in his verse the names of black Americans who died at the hands of law enforcement. Returning to the Floyd incident, Cool J continued: "And watching that man die slow left a hole." He recalled how Floyd "cried for his Mama."
"Being Black in America is like rolling a pair of dice," his penultimate line went. "But the stakes are way higher, you gambling with my life."
As of this writing, LL Cool J's rap has more than 1.7 million views and more than 171,000 likes.