LL Cool J took to his Instagram on Thursday to teach a lesson on respecting hip hop history makers. The rapper was responding to comments made by media personality DJ Akademiks, who referred to some of the pioneers of hip hop as "dusty" and asked if any of the older rappers were "really living good" while streaming live on Twitch.
Although he never referred to the DJ by name, LL -- a hip hop pioneer himself -- responded to the stream during an Instagram Live, calling the belief that someone not having money means they don't have any value is "a bad idea" and "misinformed."
"No one discusses Miles Davis' bank account," the 54-year-old said. "We don't talk about John Coltrane's bank account. We don't talk about a lot of even rock musicians ... a lot of great country artists, we don't talk about their bank accounts. This idea that you have to have money or else you don't have any value is a bad idea and it's a misinformed way of looking at the world and the culture."
The 2021 Rock & Roll Hall of Fame inductee pointed out that the business of hip hop in the '70s and '80s was very different compared to what it is today.
"When hip hop first started there were no managers, there were no accountants that believed in it. Record companies didn't even believe in it. Nobody believed in it," LL explained. "How can you make a 5-year plan or a 10-year plan on something that doesn't even exist yet?"
"So just because [hip hop pioneers] didn't get rich, just because they weren't able to pile up millions or billions of dollars, does not mean that they didn't make a contribution to this culture. They created an industry that we all ate off of. They created an industry that you eat off of," the 2017 Kennedy Center Honors recipient added. "When you go monetize your brand, when you go negotiate your deals and negotiate your checks and talk tough, guess what? That food that you eating was created by those same people that you disrespecting. That industry was created by them same people that you calling, you know, foul words."
The rapper went on to state that he has always been about "getting paper" but warned that no one should ever confuse "being rich" with "making a contribution to our culture. Don't ever play yourself like that again."
LL concluded, "Approach this game with humility and be glad and be thankful that these pioneers helped create this culture. And let's show them love, let's elevate them, let's celebrate them ... There are people that started this thing, and I think that they deserve to be honored and respected."
See LL's full response below.