Eddie Van Halen is featured on two songs on hip hop legend LL Cool J's upcoming album, "Authentic", which is being released today (Tuesday, April 30).
According to the Van Halen News Desk, the guitarist can be heard on the tracks "We're The Greatest" and "Not Leaving You Tonight". Both songs can now be streamed below (solo in "We’re The Greatest" starts at 2:48; solo in "Not Leaving Here Tonight" starts at 2:52).
Asked why he chose to reach out to the iconic guitarist, LL Cool J told GuitarWorld.com: "This album was born out of my true love for music and I knew Eddie shared that same vision for authentic music. I approached this song with the utmost respect for Eddie and his fans, and became friends with him through the process. I was humbled to watch a genius at work and collaborate with such a legendary and visionary artist as Eddie Van Halen, and to bring our two worlds together was an exciting opportunity. I am thrilled he was up for the ride."
Commenting on his involvement with the project, Eddie Van Halen said: "The thought of me playing guitar to hip hop was definitely left of center, but I was intrigued and I agreed to meet and listen to what he had. I was not only inspired by the songs I heard, but LL's enthusiasm, his down-to-earth personality, the freedom he gave me to co-create and his willingness to, for the very first time, sing the chorus on 'We're The Greatest'. It was like a breath of fresh air that I needed as an artist and an individual."
He added: "The diversity of the songs on this album and the other artists he has collaborated with is outstanding, appealing to multiple genres of music and maybe even creating a few of our own. I feel blessed to not only have had the opportunity to work with LL, but also to call him a great friend."
"Authentic" is LL's 13th studio album and first in five years.
Among other guests appearing on the CD is RAGE AGAINST THE MACHINE guitarist Tom Morello, who can be heard on the song "Whaddup".
Eddie Van Halen famously made a guest appearance on Michael Jackson's masterpiece album, "Thriller". He was a surprise guest on "Beat It", the LP's third single. According to CNN, his blazing guitar solo lasted all of 20 seconds and took half an hour to record. He did it for free, as a favor to producer Quincy Jones, while the rest of his VAN HALEN bandmates were out of town.
"I said to myself, 'Who is going to know that I played on this kid's record, right? Nobody's going to find out.' Wrong!" Eddie recalled in a 2012 interview with CNN. "Big-time wrong. It ended up being Record Of The Year."
VAN HALEN will close out the annual Rock USA festival, scheduled for July 17 through July 20 in Oshkosh, Wisconsin.