“Ultimately I can’t defend the song, but I can clarify my intentions,” LL Cool J said on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, of Brad Paisley‘s controversial “Accidental Racist” and his contributing verse. The hip-hop pioneer went on to say that his lyrics (“If you don’t judge my gold chains / I’ll forget the iron chains”) weren’t meant to sound dismissive of U.S. history with slavery — they were meant to start a conversation, as civil as one centered around racial tension could be.
“If you gonna have a dialogue with someone, if I want to get along with someone who I don’t understand, I can’t walk into their living room with a baseball bat and start smashing their furniture and tell them what they owe me,” LL Cool J said to Leno. “That doesn’t work.”
LL Cool J went on to echo what Paisley said on The Tonight Show just 24 hours prior, plus what the country star said on Ellen. “The intention was to put something out there that causes people to have a conversation,” LL Cool J said. “The fact that we’re having so many conversations about this song is proof that the song did its job.”
Watch a snippet of LL Cool J’s explanation up top, then check out his full interview on The Tonight Show‘s website. (Skip to 17:00.)