LL Cool J is urging his fellow hip-hop stars to stop marketing themselves as gangsters, in order to rid the genre of its violent image.

While the rap veteran is a fan of today's rap music, he believes it's lacking the positive messages it was once sent out to fans.

He says, "I think that the state of rap is good. On certain levels, I think that it's commercially viable. I think it's afforded a lot of people great lifestyles.

"I think that message wise it's lacking balance. I think that a lot of people get the wrong idea about what hip-hop is all about, because you really only get one side of it promoted continuously, which is the more aggressive, gangster end of it.

"So many people who are not really used to rap or don't know anything about it think that that's all there is. It's kinda like if there was a country artist who came out just singing about robbing gas stations all the time, you would think that's what country music was about if you've never heard anyone else.

"But I am a fan of the music today and I do love it. But there is a lack of balance."