LL Cool J Tells The Full Story Of When He Knocked Out Jamie Foxx (Video)
Over the last couple of years, Drink Champs, hosted by N.O.R.E. and DJ EFN, has become one of the most popular podcasts, and with good reason. The show, fueled by the hosts’ familiarity and respect for their guests, along with a healthy amount of alcohol, often leads to some of the most revealing interviews one will see of celebrities who are often closed or tightly scripted with talking points. LL Cool J, who just yesterday (August 3) was named the first Hip-Hop artist to receive a Kennedy Center Honor, was the most recent guest, and his appearance on the show did not disappoint.
From the outset, LL made it clear he came to drop jewels. He began by pointing out the difficulties of the trail he blazed as one of Hip-Hop’s first sex symbols, at a time when rappers were supposed to be hard. “Hip-Hop is a complex thing. At the end of the day, if you’re a decent-looking fella, you gotta damn near kill yourself to be accepted by dudes. I mean look at Pac. He’s a handsome dude, but look what he had to do in order for guys to accept him,” he says (2:56). “You know if I made ‘One More Chance,’ they would have called it a love song, but from Biggie, it was something else” he continues, noting the double standard for men who rapped about love but weren’t considered attractive in the traditional sense. “It takes courage to do what you love and to do what you believe in. That was my thing. I just wanted to have girls. Most of my friends did too, so I figured I’d make some songs and try to get some,” he laughs. “The thing with Hip-Hop is that, if you’re not spitting gun bars and talking about packs, that G.O.A.T. title is going to be elusive for you. Most of the time the voting members, that’s what they really want. And, I do too, but I just decided that I was going to do what I wanted to do. I had the balls to just do what I wanted to do. So, I did hard records and love records and weird records and creative, artsy sh*t.”
Along those lines, LL also spoke at length later in the podcast about “Accidental Racist,” his 2013 collaboration with country singer Brad Paisley. At the time LL received harsh criticism about the song which was a conversation between a Black and White man having an honest conversation about their perceived stereotypes about one another and trying to come to a common understanding (25:10). “Everybody was mad at me, and I understand their point of view, but everybody was mad at me about that whole ‘Accidental Racist’ record. They thought ‘Oh, L’s aiding and abetting us forgetting slavery.’ Now, fast forward, and look at the shape the country’s in, and you think about what me and him was attempting to do. It was [idealistic], but look what shape the country’s in now. People at that point thought that I was out of my mind for comparing a do-rag to a Confederate flag, but now you’re seeing little brothers get show down every day because of their outfits. It may not be a do-rag, but maybe it’s a hoodie, like Trayvon [Martin]. Maybe it’s some sagging jeans. Maybe it was a brother outside an SUV getting shot down. That’s the thing I was talking about. I was trying to humanize us. I would never suggest that we forget our history. That’s absurd. It’s ludicrous.” LL also notes that the song’s message of compassion and forgiveness has also now been embraced in real life. “People was mad at me when I said ‘R.I.P. Robert E. Lee.’ They hated me. He was a general in the Confederate Army. Yeah, I understand how people feel. But, when that racist dude ran up in that [Charleston] church, and he shot up all of those people, in that Black church down South, and then those Black people got together and said ‘You know what? We’re praying for him, and we forgive him, and we want to send love to him, the country held them in high esteem because they were able to get beyond their emotions and see the bigger picture. That’s what I was trying to show people. But, it took four years, and all of these people dying by the hands of corrupt police–because not all police are corrupt–but dying by the hands of some of these corrupt policemen, and dying in the wrong way, for people to understand that what me and Brad were attempting to do was very real.”
On a lighter note, but still very real, LL also went deeply into the way he handles his business, a topic that he rarely discusses. While artists like JAY-Z, Puff Daddy and, L’s fellow Queens native 50 Cent, are often celebrated for their business acumen, LL was quietly making the behind the scenes power moves of his own. He revealed to N.O.R.E. and DJ EFN that while he was on Def Jam, he had actually held a stake in the label, which he then sold back to them. LL also disclosed that he now owns all the masters to his recordings, a feat not enjoyed by any of the aforementioned moguls (45:50). “See, I own my whole catalog. Ultimately, when I got to a certain position with Def Jam, I did a deal where I owned my catalog. Lyor [Cohen] is the one who did that deal. So I always have to respect Lyor for that because he didn’t have to do it. They were trying to figure out how to make a deal that was rich enough for me to want to stay [at Def Jam] and, at the same time, they wanted to come up to a certain number but not go beyond that so, I said, ‘Well, give me the catalog,’ and they said ‘Okay. We’ll work that out.’ So, Def Jam has a really small interest in my catalog. I own it. So when you hear my record in movies and on TV and stuff, I’ve licensed that.” In addition to his music moves, LL also has made major strides in the TV business. He tells the Drink Champs crew that he owns the format to the ultra popular show Lip Sync Battle, and the format has now been licensed for viewing in over 100 different countries around the world.
One of the songs that N.O.R.E. asks if LL owns is “Mama Said Knock You Out.” The 1990 song, and its corresponding album, re-defined LL’s career, as he showed that he still had plenty of fight left in him seven years into his music career.
At the 65-minute mark, a question from N.O.R.E’s nephew shows that LL sometimes took has mother’s advice literally. When asked about the infamous scuffle that he and Jamie Foxx had on the set of Oliver Stone’s film, Any Given Sunday, LL goes into great detail about the altercation. “The real story is that when we were doing the scene, Jamie, although he was experienced somewhat, he was still a little green. I wasn’t quite as green, but I was green too. When we were doing the scene, I was being aggressive with him, but this is character to character.” LL says the scene in question was when he and Foxx were on the sidelines, as part of their role as football players, having a heated conversation. “So, he got upset. He said, ‘Yo, stop being so rough with me.’ That didn’t compute. So, we did another take, and I was rough with him again. And, then, I don’t know why, but he thought it was a good idea to punch me in my face. This wasn’t scripted. I’ma keep it 100 with you. You want me to keep it 100; I’ma keep it 100. He punched me in my face. So, I look at him after he punched me in my face. I said ‘Why’d you do that?’…He said ‘Look,’ and he was turned to the side [in a fighting stance]. He had his helmet on, and he was turned to the side. He said, ‘I told you before. Don’t put your hands on me. Period!’ So…Yo, when he said that, my left hand grabbed the face mask and, as I was pulling his helmet off, my right hand was punching his chin. This was like ‘POW!’ And, then, he was laying there, and I though he was faking ’cause he was [in a sleeping position]. I thought he was faking,” LL says making it clear that Foxx was out cold. After that, a mob of people descended on them both to break it up. Foxx would later file charges. In an appearance with Howard Stern, he said he did so to memorialize the event and avoid any potential law suits.
LL and Foxx have long since made amends and become friends, even recording music together, but the story was a reminder of the fact that while LL was a lover, he was also very much a fighter.
The entire podcast is worth a listen, as LL drops knowledge and wisdom, throughout.