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Still a Hard-Knock Life for LL Cool J

But seeks peace with Jay-Z.


LL Cool J ’s (né James Todd Smith) beef with his label, Def Jam, continues, but the rapper may be open to peace talks. “We need to meet and figure it out,” he said. “It’s tough. Let’s be real. You know, they have an artist”—Jay-Z—“running a label full of artists. Okay? That’s like Calvin Klein running a fashion label and Varvatos and everyone else is underneath him. What kind of sense does that make? This hierarchy? It doesn’t work for me.” So he’s plowing ahead with his Todd Smith clothing line, checking out the Baby Phat, Varvatos, and perhaps Marc Jacobs shows to get inspiration, and working on his new album, Exit 13: The Icon Versus the Wolf Pack, in which he’ll battle teenage rappers. “I’m going to approach [the meeting with Jay-Z] from a positive, optimistic viewpoint. Hopefully it will work.”

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