On October 6th, legendary guitarist Eddie Van Halen died at the age of 65 after a battle with cancer. Known for his revolutionary and virtuosic guitar-work, Van Halen’s memory was celebrated by fans and collaborators across social media. One such collaborator was a rather unexpected one, marking a rare foray into the world of hip-hop for the rockstar.
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On his 2013 album Authentic, LL Cool J invited Van Halen to work on a pair of songs — “Not Leaving You Tonight” and “We’re The Greatest.” Now, LL has taken a moment to praise the late Van Halen, speaking with Rock The Bells “I was always blown away by his ability to play the guitar. I thought it was so dope, so I wanted to work with him,” remembers LL. “I got in touch with him. He came by the studio, we talked, we kicked it. One thing led to another, and we made a couple of songs.”
“I think it’s some of my coolest and most interesting work,” he continues. “I think those songs that Eddie and I did together are really special. I think that one day, they will rise. They will get the recognition and the admiration that they deserve.” LL also thanks Van Halen for helping him find creative direction during a particularly uncertain time for the rapper. “That man came in the studio with me at a time when, creatively, I was trying to get my sea legs and trying to figure out what to do, and how I wanted to do it,” he explains. “It wasn’t like I was on the top of the Billboard charts, and he was looking for some kind of hot collaboration. It was just pure artistry, and I respected that about him.”
Rest in peace to Eddie Van Halen. Check out his work with LL Cool J below.