Due to the popularity of LL Cool J, the label experienced major profits during it early years. They used this money to expand the roster of the label. By the 1990s, however, hard times hit the record label. Russell Simmons was faced with the decision of selling Def Jam or filing for bankruptcy. LL Cool J was among the owners of the label.
Simmons would sell his majority stake in the company to Universal and they brought in Irv Gotti. Through Gotti, many artists were added to the label. Jay-Z would go on to become the new flagship artist of the label and he was first signed by Irv Gotti. For a little while LL Cool J and Jay-Z were able to co-exist, but soon their egos got the best of them. It became clear LL Cool J and Jay-Z did not get along. Their rivalry reached a new height when LL Cool J was overlooked for the CEO role at Def Jam.
Jay-Z was chosen for the job and he decided to release a new album in 2006. LL Cool J had initially planned to release an album in 2005 and 2006. However, Jay-Z would not allow him to promote the album during the summer of 2005. Each single LL submitted to the label would be rejected by his new boss. It was not until early 2006 that Jay-Z approved one of his singles. Despite the lack of promotion on his behalf, the song still reached the top five in the Billboard Hot 100. LL Cool J had planned to release another album towards the end of 2006 and Jay-Z had given him permission to do so.
However, at the last minute, Jay-Z decided he wanted to release an album towards the end of 2006. With only so many albums to be released in one year, LL Cool J's album was pushed to the side. Later, a release date for the album was set for 2007. By 2007, there was no secret of LL disliking Jay-Z and he said he was going to leave Def Jam for his original label of Columbia Records after he released his album. When the 2007 release date for LL's album came, Jay-Z decided to release another album. But, in December, Jay-Z stepped down from his role as CEO and LL Cool J released a critically-acclaimed album in 2008.
After all of the frustration he went through to release his album, LL Cool J decided to name the album Exit 13 and make it his final album. Last summer, he landed the lead role in the CBS drama, "NCIS: Los Angeles" and the show has become an instant hit. Inspired by the actual NCIS, LL Cool J recorded a song last fall about the NCIS called "No Crew Is Superior." The song led to a series of rumors about a possible return to rap music from LL Cool J. Recently, LL Cool J said his lyrical side has been inspired and he finds himself writing raps on a frequent basis. While he is currently unsure, LL Cool J may release another album.
Due to his nonexistent relationship with Def Jam, it is unclear which label LL Cool J would release his album under.