LL Cool J Says It Hasn’t Been ‘Hard’ Saying Goodbye to ‘NCIS: LA’ (Exclusive)
LL Cool J is opening up about saying goodbye to NCIS: LA.
The star of the outgoing CBS procedural spoke with ET’s Kevin Frazier and Nischelle Turner on the GRAMMYs carpet on Sunday about closing one chapter of his career. On Jan. 20, CBS announced that the current 14th season would be NCIS: LA’s last.
“Well, I gotta tell you it’s not hard at all,” LL Cool J told ET about wrapping up the show. “CBS did an amazing thing with us; it’s been an amazing run. We talking about 14 years. We not talking about two-and-a-half, three years and ‘Oh it was fun while it lasted.’ This was 14 years.”
“So, I think that the show has done tremendous numbers. I mean, our last [NCIS] crossover did tremendous numbers,” he said, referencing the Jan. 9 three-show crossover between NCIS, NCIS: LA and NCIS: Hawaii. “I couldn’t complain, I have nothing. All I could say is, ‘Wow, what a ride,’ you know what I’m saying?”
When LL Cool J was told that NCIS: Hawaii leading lady Vanessa Lachey extended a standing invite for him to come on her show, the 55-year-old entertained the thought.
“I’ll definitely keep that invitation in mind, Vanessa, and you never know. We’ll see what happens. Maybe I’ll come play a little bit, we’ll see,” he teased. “Anything is possible.”
Though he may be saying goodbye to his NCIS: LA family, he is working on his upcoming album, which is executive produced by rapper-producer Q-Tip.
“It’s really solid. It’s my first album I’m putting out through Def Jam, through Universal. I haven’t done that in many, many years. I think Q-Tip did a phenomenal job. I’m not going to talk about my vocals or the songwriting and all that, I have to let the world judge that, but… objectively the work that Q-Tip did on the record and the music is crazy,” LL Cool J credited, hinting that there are “a lot of collabs on there.”
No street date has been set yet, but he promised it will arrive “this year.” “It’s definitely ’23… it’s coming,” he said.
LL Cool J, who walked the carpet with wife Simone Smith and daughter Samaria Smith, is set to present the Global Impact Award to “a very special artist” during the GRAMMYs telecast before introducing the the Hip-Hop 50 tribute performance honoring five decades of hip-hop, curated by Questlove.
“I think it’s about all generations. I think it’s multigenerational. We’re talking about a whole 50 years, we’re not saying 50 years but we stopped 20 years ago. It’s for everybody,” LL Cool J said of the star-studded segment, featuring performances by Ice-T, Missy Elliott, DJ Jazzy Jeff, Queen Latifah, Salt-N-Pepa, Method Man, Nelly and many more. “I think that this will be a way for people of all generations to kind of bond — mom, dad, grandma, grandkids, everybody will be able to learn about hip-hop tonight. Introduce you to some new people, maybe some people you know the songs but don’t know the artist. Maybe you know the artist but don’t know the song, but tonight I think it will be a lot of fun.”