LL Cool J has never been shy about proclaiming his own greatness. After all, he even titled his 2000 album ‘G.O.A.T. (Greatest of All Time).’ With millions of albums sold, dozens of hits, and a pair of Grammys to his name, there’s no denying that he’s often had a right to boast.

Although he’s been focusing on his acting career lately, the veteran rapper is scheduled to be honored with a lifetime achievement award at the BET Hip-Hop Awards next week, and it’s got him thinking about the state of the genre — as well as how influential he’s been.

“It’s pretty obvious that what Dr. Dre and N.W.A did for gangsta rap music, I did for romantic music and music with females,” LL told MTV on the black carpet for the awards ceremony. I basically started a section of a genre and created it and put it out there, and now lots of people are doing it. I think it’s great. The more, the better. It’s better than downing them and telling [women] they ain’t nothing.”

It takes a fair amount of chutzpah to take that kind of credit, but in LL Cool J’s case, it’s hard to argue against his point — his 1987 hit ‘I Need Love’ really did make it possible for rappers to show their softer side, and he continued to play up his smooth Lothario persona on subsequent hits such as ‘I’m That Type of Guy’ and ‘Hey Lover.’

Among hip-hop’s current crop of MCs, LL doesn’t see a lot worth writing home about, but he did admit to being impressed with Drake‘s female-focused string of hits. “I’m happy for him,” LL told MTV, “and I’m glad he decided to go that lane, and I wish everybody the best.”

Watch LL Cool J’s interview with MTV


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