TheRoot.com, By Karu F, Daniels, Posted October 11th 2019
Are they having some kind of old-timers’ reunion at Def Jam Records?
LL Cool J and DMX—two of hip-hop’s biggest superstars—are reportedly returning the storied rap label, which is in the midst of celebrating its 35th anniversary.
According to AllHipHop.com, two-time Grammy Award and NAACP Award winner LL Cool J has re-signed to the iconic record company he helped build. A source at the Rick Rubin and Russell Simmons-founded label confirmed the signing with the leading hip-hop site but weren’t able to offer up any details on new music.
James Todd Smith, the lip-licking Queens native also known as LL Cool J—whose moniker means Ladies Love Cool James—was the first act signed to the record company, whose humble beginnings were shaped in Rubin’s New York University dorm room in the early 1980s.
In 1985, at the age of 16, the hunky Kangol wearing lyricist released his debut opus “Radio,” which went launched the “Rock The Bells” rapper’s career.
A platinum-plated recording career with a lengthy stream of hits, including classics like “I’m Bad,” “ I Need Love,” “Jingling Baby” and “Around The Way Girl,” catapulted Cool J to legend status. And while the fickle music business subsequently acted like it didn’t want anything to do with him, the self-proclaimed G.O.A.T. sustained an enviable career as an actor in films and television. (The tenth season of the CBS procedural drama NCIS: Los Angeles, which he’s the star of, premieres Sept. 29.)
In 2017, he became the first hip-hop artist to be feted by the Kennedy Center Honors.
In 2008, LL Cool J released his final album, aptly titled Exit 13, on Def Jam Records, in the midst of criticizing how his hip-hop peer Jay-Z was running the label as its president.
On Sept. 22, as the news started to spread about LL’s return, Def Jam purportedly confirmed the news on social media—with a simple message: “Big Elly” accompanied by a classic photo of the “Headsprung” hitmaker in his FILA track suit-wearing glory.
DMX is also reportedly coming back home to the label he made history with.
The recently-released-from-jail rap icon’s longtime producer Swizz Beatz confirmed that he has new music coming out on Def Jam.
“It’s going to be a good year for him, god willing,” the veteran producer said. “I just want it to happen so he can go to where he been supposed to have went.”