HITS Daily Double


LL COOL J has promised a new album in 2023. The Queens hip-hop legend, whose career spans nearly 40 years, tweeted the news on 1/14, writing: "I’m competing with myself on this new album. Wait til you hear this MF. This year B. It’s coming."

In 1984 LL COOL J (short for "Ladies Love Cool James") signed with Def Jam as its first artist and released his debut single, "I Need a Beat." It sold more than 10k copies. The song's success, along with that of the Beastie Boys' "Rock Hard," helped the company land a distribution deal with Columbia the following year.

J's debut album, Radio, arrived in 1985 and sold more than 500k copies in its first five months, earning Def Jam its first gold certification. The rapper went on to release 12 additional albums, including the double-platinum sets Bigger & Deffer (1987) and Mama Said Knock You Out (1990). Though he left Def Jam in 2006, he returned in 2019.

Over the years, LL COOL J pivoted to acting, appearing in both films and on television—a generation knows him from his starring role on the CBS crime drama NCIS: Los Angeles, which debuted in 2009. He became the first Kennedy Center hip-hop honoree in 2017 and was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2021. More recently, he's been focused on building his Rock the Bells media brand.

With hip-hop's 50th birthday (and Def Jam's 40th) upon us, LL COOL J is prepping for Rock the Bells' inaugural cruise (to the Bahamas) and the launch of his cannabis strain, Strictly OG. We expect that, as Mama said, it will knock you out.