LL Cool admits that his overreaction may be responsible for sparking one of the greatest hip-hop rivalries ever, himself vs. Canibus. But The Queens hip-hop pioneer also says he tried to impede the rhyme conflict before it spilled over to the public and got out of hand. Uncle L is this week's guest on "Drink Champs," and one of the highlights is L walking hosts N.O.R.E. and DJ EFN through his conflict with 'Bus.
"I'll tell you exactly what happened.," Cool J began to detail. "The real honest answer is one day I was on my way to the studio. And [Canibus] came up to me. My ego is a little taller than me. I ain't gonna front. My ego is a little taller than me. A little bit. He walked up to me and was like 'LL, your tattoo. I like your tattoo. I want to get one like it.' I said 'nah homie. You gotta get your own.' I didn't understand that. Mentally. I didn't understand that. 'Nah man. You gotta get your own joint.' I just didn't understand it. No disrespect, I was like 'you gotta get your own.' He was like 'nah, Im gonna get one like that.'"
Of course Canibus was a guest on Cool J's 1997 Phenomenon LP, via "4,3,2,1" which also featured DMX, Redman and Method Man.
LL said Bus' verse upset him.
"After we had that conversation, when I went in and heard his bars, he said 'is that a mic on your arm? Let me borrow that.' I just did not understand. I couldn't understand it. I blacked. That was it."
Rather than exclude 'Bus from the record (Canibus even appears in the video), LL Cool J took it on as a battle.
"I was too ignorant for that," LL laughed heartedly about whether he ever thought about not using Canibus's verse. "A smart guy, JAY-Z would have took him off the record. 'Let's do it smart.'
"I was a idiot," Cool J kept laughing. "Ignorance! 'Just leave him on the record.'"
Of course L's verse on the "4,3,2,1" drug Canibus through the mud, and he addressed him. Although he didn't mention Bus by name, the young rapper knew he was the object of LL's wrath.
"I went in, I heard what he said and I responded to the shit. Right there," Cool J told. What people don't know. Afterwards I saw him, Canibus. Before the battle. He was debating about putting a song ["Second Round K.O."] about me out. I said 'yo, ok, it happened on the record. First of all, nobody's gonna know if you don't make a record. That's the first thing.' I told him this. Before his reaction record came out, I met with him. I said 'don't put no record out, nobody's gonna know. Just leave it. I got a little hot-headed. It's between us.' He said if 'I don't put it out, it'll be politics.' And Wyclef's in the corner aiding and abetting. I love Clef, it's all good. But he put the record out."
"Second Round K.O." was released in the aftermath.
"So I'mma let the world know the truth./ You don't want me to shine," Canibus rapped. "You studied my rhyme, then you laid your vocals after mine./ That's a bitch move..."
LL came back with "The Ripper Strikes Back," rapping "Look at corny-bus, he can't walk down his own street./ better run and get the Fugees./ cause EAT, EAT, EAT MCs./ Devour they titles, cause I'm an idol slash icon./ And tell Wyclef don't even turn his fuckin mic on."
Ironically, before the quarreling boiled over, Cool J says he wanted to squash it and join forces with Canibus again.
"I told him 'let's do a record together," L continued. "I said 'let's do a record together' cause I didn't really want the drama. But it is what it is. And I just responded and that was it. We did what we did."
Cool J talks about his issues with Kool Moe Dee and more serious, life-threatening beef, confronting a home invader, and more - all in the next episode of "Drink Champs."
Season 2 of "Drink Champs" kicks off this Thursday at 10 PM, only on REVOLT TV.