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LL COOL J Returns with New Single “Saturday Night Special” Featuring Rick Ross and Fat Joe

LL COOL J Returns with New Single “Saturday Night Special” Featuring Rick Ross and Fat Joe

Rock & Roll Hall of Fame inductee and two-time Grammy® Award-winning hip-hop icon LL COOL J triumphantly returns to music with his new single “Saturday Night Special” featuring Rick Ross and Fat Joe. Released via Def Jam Recordings and Virgin Music Group, the track marks LL’s comeback after a decade-long hiatus.

The new single, produced by Rock & Roll Hall of Fame inductee Q-Tip, kicks off with an innovative sonic approach. LL COOL J, Rick Ross, and Fat Joe navigate the track with lyrical finesse, depicting life’s harsh realities and intricate dynamics and the code of ethics that governs it. Named after the revolver class “Saturday Night Special,” the song explores key players in the hustle, such as the “greedy killer” who reacts violently to disrespect and the “daredevil type” who seeks attention. Emphasizing self-preservation and strategic interaction, the song’s core message revolves around trust and reciprocity in the hustle.

The minimalist, black-and-white music video, directed by JakeTheShooter with creative direction from HiHat, brings the hustler anthem to life. Shot in Miami, Florida, the video features LL, Fat Joe, and Rick Ross performing together.

“‘Saturday Night Special’ is just the beginning,” LL said. “There’s a lot more where this came from, and I’m hype for y’all to hear this new record. We’re doing this for the fans and for Hip-Hop culture.”

The single is the first release from LL’s highly anticipated 14th studio album, The FORCE (Frequencies of Real Creative Energy), set for release this fall. Executive produced by Q-Tip of A Tribe Called Quest, the album celebrates the 40th anniversary of Def Jam Recordings, the label that first launched LL’s career.

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LL Cool J Announces New Single “Saturday Night Special,” Album Set for Fall

LL Cool J Announces New Single "Saturday Night Special"

LL Cool J has his new album locked in and ready to go. In an online clip, LL announced his new single, “Saturday Night Special,” which will arrive this Friday, June 14.

“In case you missed it, here’s a new single, ‘Saturday Night Special,’” LL Cool J said. “It’s coming June 14. Go to the link in the bio. Sign up to the pre-save it. Ya know what I mean?”

Making fans even happier is the announcement of his album for this fall. “It’s the real deal, baby. It’s go time. ‘Saturday Night Special’ is the first single. I’ll let you know about the features. Couple of days … Hit the link in the bio, you’ll be able to find out a little sooner. Tracklisting for the album is coming. Album will be out in the fall. Yo, it’s on, baby.”

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Today In Hip Hop History: LL Cool J Released Third LP ‘Walking With A Panther’ 35 Years Ago

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On this day in Hip Hop history, LL Cool J released his third studio LP Walking with a Panther on Def Jam Recordings in 1989.

Peaking at #1 on the Billboard R&B/Hip Hop chart and #6 on the Billboard 200, this album continued LL’s streak of commercially successful albums as well as served as one of Hip Hop’s early crossover projects.

During that era, Def Jam was working to bring Hip Hop to the forefront of the mainstream, and this album was geared to reinvent LL Cool J’s sound while retaining its Hip Hop integrity. Although it may have been publicly successful at achieving its goal, some critics have said this project may have brought LL’s street credibility into question.

Regardless of critical opinion, the appeal of this album outshines anything negative that could be said about it. The most impressive and respectable feat of this project is LL’s introduction as a self-produced MC. Throughout Walking with a Panther he proved that not only was he capable of knocking out hit after hit but was also a proficient beat maker. The original production team used to create the majority of LL’s better-known songs prior to this album, L.A. Posse, decided to part ways with Def Jam following a contractual disagreement. This altercation left only one member of the team, Dwanye Simon, left to work with LL Cool J in producing the entirety of the LP.

This project also toted some of LL Cool J’s biggest hit singles including: “Going Back to Cali” and “Jingling Baby.” Both of these singles are hallmarks of LL Cool J’s career and in their own way describe his career as a whole. LL’s appeal was from the beginning catered toward the female demographic while still retaining his “cool guy” demeanor in a way that it wasn’t awkward for males to also be in huge support of his music and style. Much like a proto-Drake, LL Cool J through this album was able to deliver enough to keep the streets happy all while maintaining the attention of his female fan base.

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Today in Hip-Hop History: LL Cool J Dropped His ‘Bigger and Deffer'(B.A.D.) LP 37 Years Ago

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On this date in 1987, LL’s Bigger And Deffer album was released via Def Jam/Columbia/CBS Records. As his second release, the critics expected the “sophomore jinx”, but received the exact opposite. In fact, B.A.D. was the album that catapulted Cool J to superstar status immediately following his cameo appearance as a crate carrying, up and coming “LL Kool J” in Krush Groove. At the time, LL also had two DJs; DJ Cut Creator and West Coast super-producer DJ Bobcat.

Recorded at the legendary Chung King Studios and produced by DJ Pooh and L.A. Posse, Bigger And Deffer contained two of LL’s biggest singles to date; “I’m Bad” and the feminine driven “I Need Love”. This was the first successful Hip Hop love song, however, it set the precedent for many more to follow.

The album made our Top 100 Best Rap Albums list while selling over 3 million copies here in the U.S. Salute to Uncle L, DJs Cut Creator and Bobcat, E Love, and the whole Def Jam team for this classic!

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Top 23 of 2023: Hip-Hop Celebrates 50th Anniversary

Essence Fest Hip-Hop Pioneers

Hip-Hop’s 50th anniversary took center stage in 2023, marking a year of celebratory events honoring the birth of the influential genre. From LL Cool J’s Rock The Bells Festival to the iconic ESSENCE Festival, the prominence of the 50th year of Hip-Hop was evident, alongside it being featured at culture’s biggest award shows such as the 65th Annual Grammy Awards and the MTV VMAs

3. Happy 50th Anniversary, Hip-Hop!

ESSENCE Festival Honors Hip-Hop’s 50th Anniversary

The ESSENCE Festival, held in July 2023, served as a platform to pay homage to several hip-hop icons and celebrate Hip-Hop’s 50th anniversary. The festival featured an unforgettable performance by Lauryn Hill, who headlined the event alongside other pioneering figures of the genre. 

Hennessy & Sprite Partnerships Reflect the Milestone Year

Rapper Nas embraced the spirit of Hip-Hop’s 50th anniversary through various brand collaborations. One notable partnership was with renowned liquor brand Hennessy, presenting a special edition release celebrating the milestone. 

Additionally, Nas joined forces with Sprite for a collaboration that involved fellow artists Rakim, Latto, and GloRilla, further emphasizing the significance of the genre’s 50-year legacy.

5. Queen Bey’s ‘Renaissance Era

In the vibrant landscape of 2023, where the essence of Black culture thrived, Beyoncé claimed the top position with her monumental “Renaissance” era. As we delve into the top 23 highlights of the year, Hip-Hop’s 50th anniversary stands out as a pivotal moment that shaped the cultural landscape and showcased the genre’s enduring impact.

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Top 23 of 2023: Hip-Hop Dominates The 2023 Grammys & VMAs

2023 VMAs

In a year filled with memorable moments and groundbreaking achievements, the 2023 Grammys and VMAs were ultimately saved by hip-hop. From record-breaking wins to captivating performances, the genre left an indelible mark on both award shows, leaving this moment to become the Top 10. 

10. The Award Shows of 2023 

The Grammys

The 65th Annual Grammy Awards witnessed an extraordinary celebration of hip-hop’s 50th anniversary. Iconic artists like LL Cool J, Run DMC, Salt-N-Pepa, and Ice-T took the stage alongside the new generation of rappers, including Lil Baby and Lil Uzi Vert

However, the night truly belonged to Beyoncé, as she made Grammy history with 32 wins, solidifying her status as the most-awarded artist in Grammy history.

The singer garnered nine nominations, the highest for any artist that year, and became the first Black woman to win the Grammy for “Best Dance/Electronic Recording” with her album Renaissance. Quavo paid tribute to the late Takeoff, who unfortunately passed in November 2022, from a fatal shooting. 

The VMAs

The 2023 VMAs faced criticism as controversies overshadowed the event. Fans were disappointed by the lackluster celebration of hip-hop’s 50th anniversary, which included repetitive performances. Rising stars Victoria Monét and Coi Leray were left out, stirring backlash. 

Victoria Monét’s skyrocketing solo career contradicted MTV’s claim that it was “too early in her story” to perform, as she charted with her hit single “On My Mama” during the VMAs. Coi Leray expressed her gratitude towards BET for recognizing her achievements while feeling snubbed by the VMAs. Taylor Swift‘s domination in major categories also drew scrutiny. 

However, the VMAs did recognize artists like SZA, who won “Best R&B Artist,” and Nicki Minaj, who claimed the title of “Best Hip-Hop Artist” and hosted the show, captivating the audience with a performance from her anticipated album, Pink Friday 2.

11. Ice Spice’s Reign

As the Grammys and the VMAs showcased the influence of hip-hop in 2023, one artist who emerged as a force to be reckoned with was Ice Spice. With her unstoppable rise in the music industry, the “Munch (Feelin’ U)” rapper proved her critics wrong and solidified her position as a rising star to watch in the coming years.

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LL COOL J and The Roots Reimagine “Mama Said Knock You Out” for NBA In-Season Tournament

LL COOL J and The Roots Reimagine "Mama Said Knock You Out" for NBA In-Season Tournament

The National Basketball Association (NBA) has unveiled a thrilling collaboration between Grammy Award-winning hip-hop legend LL COOL J and the four-time Grammy Award-winning group The Roots. Together, they have reimagined the iconic song “Mama Said Knock You Out” to serve as the official anthem for the inaugural NBA In-Season Tournament.

This bespoke anthem blends LL COOL J’s Grammy-winning hit “Mama Said Knock You Out” with the lively hook from The Roots’ popular track “Here I Come.” The result is a dynamic musical backdrop that will accompany the various stages of the In-Season Tournament, starting with Group Play involving all 30 NBA teams and culminating in the Championship.

The anthem spot pays homage to the original VMA Award-winning music video while injecting a modern twist. LL COOL J’s presence transitions from the boxing ring to the hardwood of the In-Season Tournament stage, complete with a tribute to the tournament’s coveted trophy, the NBA Cup, and a live performance by The Roots.

“I’ve been a fan of the NBA ever since I can remember, and it’s a real honor to have my record serving as the anthem for this monumental moment,” said LL COOL J. “I’m excited to see the energy of the song translate to the play on the court during the NBA In-Season Tournament.”

You can see the tournament anthem video below.

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Today In Hip Hop History: Hip Hop Cult Classic Flick ‘Krush Groove’ Released In Theaters 38 Years Ago

TodayinHip HopHistory:Hip HopCultClassic'KrushGroove'ReleasedInTheatersYearsAgo

On this date in 1985, Hip-Hop bigwig Russell Simmons along with film producer Michael Schultz unveiled the Hip-Hop glory days fairy tale about the early days of Def Jam in the Warner Brothers distributed Krush Groove.

This cinematic, quasi-musical was told in a very unique manner, with almost all of the artists playing themselves as the story is being told; The Fat Boys, Run-D.M.C., Kurtis Blow, Jeckyl and Hyde, the Beastie Boys and Sheila E. all starred as themselves, while being managed by Russell(ironically, played by Blair Underwood) and a young Rick Rubin before they became the icons that they are recognized as today. The flick even gives a quick peek into how Def Jam’s rookie and first solo artist L.L. Cool J was recruited in Def Jam’s NYU dorm “office”.

The movie’s soundtrack boasts more than a few hits, such as The Fat Boys’ “All You Can Eat”. LL’s “I Can’t Live Without My Radio”, the original “If I Ruled The World” by Kurtis Blow, which was famously remixed by Nas and Lauryn Hill a decade after the movie’s release and the title track by The Krush Groove All Stars.

Shout out to all of the legends who were quarterbacked by Hip-Hop’s Barack Russell Simmons in making this Def Jam biopic forever a Hip Hop classic!

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LL Cool J Announces The F.O.R.C.E Live Tour With Hip-Hop Legends

LL Cool J is returning triumphantly to the stage with The F.O.R.C.E. Live Tour, featuring an all-star lineup of music’s greatest legends. This marks the hip-hop icon’s first headlining venture in 30 years and coincides with the 50th anniversary of hip-hop. With a rotating cast, Queen Latifah, Rakim, Common, and many more, fans can expect […]

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LL Cool J & Ice T Unveil New Hip-Hop Series “Hip Hop Treasures”

LL Cool J & Ice T

LL Cool J and Ice T are teaming up for an exciting new venture as they unveil the upcoming series Hip Hop Treasures. Set to premiere on Saturday, August 12th, 2023, at 10 PM ET on A&E Network; the show takes viewers on a captivating journey searching for lost hip-hop memorabilia. To showcase hip-hop’s cultural […]

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