‘NCIS: Los Angeles’: The Story Behind LL Cool J’s ‘NCIS’ Theme Song

NCIS: Los Angeles star LL Cool J plays Senior Special Agent Sam Hanna on the hit CBS show. One thing you might not know is LL Cool J also wrote one of the theme songs for NCIS: Los Angeles. Here are his behind-the-scenes revelations about the making of that song.

LL Cool J was asked to write a theme song for ‘NCIS: Los Angeles’

LL Cool J with the NCIS cast | Monty Brinton/CBS via Getty Images
LL Cool J with the NCIS cast | Monty Brinton/CBS via Getty Images

The CBS team wanted LL Cool J to lend his musical talent. This resulted in him recording the song “No Crew Is Superior.” He teamed up with producer and songwriter Tricky Stewart for the song.

“I was asked to create some music for the show,” LL Cool J told CBS during a 2010 interview. “I went to my go-to guy, someone that I trust and believe in. A phenomenal producer, Ticky Stewart.” Stewart is known for producing Rihanna’s Umbrella, Mariah Carey’s Touch My Body, and Beyoncé’s Single Ladies.

Stewart told CBS that LL Cool J has been his idol for years. “He probably doesn’t know this, but he’s always been an idol of mine. So even beyond some of the records that I’ve done, this has been a tremendous honor for me.”

LL Cool J wrote the song on the ‘NCIS LA’ set

LL Cool J in 2019 | Roy Rochlin/Getty Images
LL Cool J in 2019 | Roy Rochlin/Getty Images

LL Cool J needed some inspiration for his song, so he decided to write the theme while he was working on the NCIS LA set. “We wanted to get together and create something for NCIS that was really cool but still true to what I do and true to what he does, and true to the music,” he said. “I wanted to write it while I was on set because I really wanted it to represent that energy and that feeling. I was in the character; I was in the zone.”

LL Cool J hides a few Easter eggs in the ‘NCIS LA’ theme song

LL Cool J and Chris O'Donnell |Robert Voets/CBS via Getty Images
LL Cool J and Chris O’Donnell |Robert Voets/CBS via Getty Images

LL Cool J made a point to insert elements from NCIS LA into the song. This resulted in some memorable lines. “You know my character drives a Dodge Challenger in the show. So, I said [in the song] ‘I’m a challenger dodging in a Kevlar vest,’” he told CBS. This song shows that LL Cool J can rap about anything. He even had a line about the software the characters use on the show.

“I talked about Lockheed Martin,” LL Cool J said in his CBS interview. “They brought in software created specifically for the show.” In that line of the song, LL Cool J says, “I swear I coulda been a engineer at Lockheed and Martin, but I was rockin’ the Garden when math class was startin’.”

This theme song sounds a lot different from theme songs you’re probably used to hearing. LL Cool J says he tried his best not to make the song sound like other TV songs. “I just really wanted to make sure that we made a real joint, you know, not trying to make some sort of hokey TV theme song that’s not real. I wanted to something that I love.”

Read more: ‘NCIS: Los Angeles’: What LL Cool J’s Co-Stars Call Him on Set

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