Now we know why LL Cool J started bleaching his skin. The retired rapper was a swarthy sex symbol in the 1980s and ’90s. The ladies couldn’t get enough of his sexy lips.

LL was in Midtown NYC on Monday when he was asked if his famous lips ever got him a deal with Chapstick.

“No, they hated my black lips back then.” said LL Cool J. His name is an acronym that stands for “Ladies Love Cool J.”

The former rapper-turned-actor apparently took Chapstick’s rejection to heart.

There are reports that the NCIS: LA star began bleaching his skin as he approached middle age in his late 30s. LL appears to be 5 shades lighter now than he did in photos when he was at his peak as a rap superstar in the 1980s and ’90s.

The Blast reports that LL was also asked if he planned to record another rap album. The 51-year-old father-of-four replied, “yeah, I’m gonna do another album.”

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The New York native has released 13 studio albums and two greatest hits compilations. He is best known for his biggest hit single, rap ballad “I Need Love”, and hits “Radio” and “Luv U Better.”

Photos by John Wolfsohn/Getty Images, Carlo Allegri/Getty Images