LL Cool J Delivers Powerful Message About Racism: ‘You’re Gambling With My Life’ (Watch)

By A.D. Amorosi

Since 2009, LL Cool  — the Long Island, New York-born rapper and one of hip-hop’s beloved names since the early days of Def Jam – has been better known to CBS television network audiences as the stoic law enforcer on “NCIS” and “NCIS: Los Angeles.” When he’s not throwing bad guys out of planes or running toward explosions, he spent several years as CBS’ genial, go-to host for the annual Grammy Awards broadcast.

But the police murder of George Floyd in Minnesota has inspired LL to deliver a powerful message on Instagram. Staring down a laptop’s camera while wearing a “Black Lives Matter” hoodie and a woolen cap, LL raps hard and with  menace in his voice, invoking the new Martins, Marcuses and Malcom X who’ll speak in Black America’s name, and calling on the ghosts of Trayvon Martin, Breonna Taylor, Amadou Diallo and Eric Garner.

In quick succession, LL rhymes:

For 400 years, you had your knees on our necks
A garden of evil with no seeds of respect
In America’s mirror all she sees is regret
Revenge is a dish that is served on platelets
Transfusion confusion abusing our intellect
I can’t be bought with a $1200 check
Even though $1200 can make a meal stretch 
My mama wasn’t rich, but she earned my respect
She mad a little bit of money for a lot of blood, tears and sweat
Jumping up and down on police cars and vex
After Chauvin killed George Floyd we got next
Molotov cocktails anarchy on the set
The rich took the loot so now we loot s–t
Feeling like a caged tiger that’s whipped to do tricks
That’s why I started fires and yelled and threw bricks
They tried to run me over and arrest me and s–t
Tazed, pepper spray and a gaze with the kid

The starkest moment in the untitled rap comes when mustering the phrase: “Watching that man die slow left a hole/He cried for his mama as the murder unfold / If it wasn’t for the phone, Chauvin would be at home / Feeling justified cause of George skin tone… Americas’ a graveyard filled with black man’s bones.”

Before ending with a solemn phrase, “Black lives matter, forever,” LL yells out “We refuse to live in hell while you live in paradise. Being Black in America is like rolling a pair of dice. But the stakes are way higher, you’re gambling with my life.”

LL hasn’t released music since 2013’s “Authentic,” and while rap commentary surrounding the news of the day is not typical of his music’s themes, he had previously appeared on a duet with Brad Paisley called “Accidental Racist.”

Watch the performance below:

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