LL Cool J released the album 'Phenomenon' in 1997. The second single on the album is "4,3,2,1", which features DMX, Method Man, Redman, and Canibus. LL and Canibus clashed during the production of "4,3,2,1" over a reference Canibus made in the song about LL's microphone tattoo. Canibus: "Yo L is that a mic on your arm? Let me borrow that". LL felt the line was disrespectful and responded on the track: "The symbol on my arm is off limits to challengers, you hold the rusty swords I swing the excalibur" and: "Now let's get back to this mic on my arm - if it ever left my side it'd transform into a time bomb. You don't wanna borrow that, you wanna idolize.
And you don't wanna make me mad ***** you wanna socialize". Canibus ultimately agreed to remove his tattoo reference, but a rivalry had been born.
A short time later Canibus released 'Can-I-Bus?' which included the scorching LL Cool J diss "Second Round K.O." LL Cool J responded with an equally charged diss track called "The Ripper Strikes Back".