Although combining rock and hip-hop music can't be described as revolutionary these days, the latest collaboration between LL Cool J and Eddie Van Halen did seem like an odd one at first.
The duo joined forces on LL's upcoming new release "Authentic," set for a release on April 30 via S-Bro Music Group. One of the new tracks, titled "We're the Greatest," was recently stream online, giving fans an insight of what they are to expect from LL Cool J workshop. Co-written and co-produced by LL and Van Halen, the track also features drummer Travis Baker of Blink 182.
Despite the rapper being confident that the collaboration is the winning ticket from the very start, it seems that the guitar icon had his share of doubts at first, but has changed his opinion completely upon meeting LL.
"The thought of me playing guitar to hip hop was definitely left of center, but I was intrigued and I agreed to meet and listen to what he had," Van Halen tells the Guitar World. "I was not only inspired by the songs I heard, but LL's enthusiasm, his down-to-earth personality, the freedom he gave me to co-create and his willingness to, for the very first time, sing the chorus on "We're the Greatest." It was like a breath of fresh air that I needed as an artist and an individual."
The guitarist went on to comment that the album's diversity is "outstanding," adding that he feels blessed for the opportunity he was given.
"The diversity of the songs on this album and the other artists he has collaborated with is outstanding, appealing to multiple genres of music and maybe even creating a few of our own. I feel blessed to not only have had the opportunity to work with LL but also to call him a great friend."
As for LL, the rapper has already stated that the reason behind contacting Van Halen is simply the fact that he "wanted the best." He has now added that he was "humbled to watch a genius at work," calling Van Halen a legendary and visionary artist.
"This album was born out of my true love for music and I knew Eddie shared that same vision for authentic music. I approached this song with the utmost respect for Eddie and his fans, and became friends with him through the process. I was humbled to watch a genius at work and collaborate with such a legendary and visionary artist as Eddie Van Halen, and to bring our two worlds together, was an exciting opportunity. I am thrilled he was up for the ride."
Another rock giant set to appear on "Authentic" is Rage Against the Machine's Tom Morello. The album itself will mark the 13th release in LL Cool J's catalogue, the first one since 2008's "Exit 13."