LL Cool J paid a visit to the set of Jimmy Kimmel Live Tuesday (Apr. 17). The hip-hop legend discussed his most recent endeavor: launching his own radio station on SiriusXM, entitled LL Cool J’s Rock the Bells Radio, named after one of the founder’s biggest hits. The station, which airs on SiriusXM channel 43, provides hip-hop junkies with some of the deepest cuts that pioneered the genre, dating back to the 1970s.
“For so many years artists had to water their music down, including myself on certain levels, and just hope and pray and cross our fingers that some program director would play our music,” LL recalled to Kimmel. “This is a radio station that’s about the culture. It’s about the classic hip-hop for real.”
LL explained that while familiar namestays such as Run-D.M.C. and Beastie Boys can be heard on the channel — as well as his own music — he chooses to focus primarily on the underground artists who laid the groundwork and inspired future generations of the genre.
“You gotta understand where it comes from,” LL said. “And you can understand ‘OK, what is Kendrick [Lamar] doing? What is Drake doing? Ok, how does that compare to where it came from? What does it mean?'”
LL also discussed receiving a Kennedy Center Honor last December. He was the first rapper to be given the honor, which is dedicated to celebrating artists who contribute to American culture.
Watch LL’s interview with Kimmel below.