The news that hard rock guitar virtuoso Eddie Van Halen was collaborating with rapper LL Cool J admittedly left some fans scratching their heads. But now the genre-crossing rocker is speaking out about the two new tracks, calling the experience "a breath of fresh air."

The guitarist raised the eyebrows of many longtime Van Halen fans by tweeting a photo of himself seated at the board of a recording studio with the rapper, with a single cryptic line of text that read, “Authentic 4.30.13.” Of course, it turned out he was teasing their collaboration on LL Cool J's new album 'Authentic,' which is slated for release on April 30. The guitarist admits that he, too, was skeptical at first when the rapper invited him to be a part of the recording sessions.

"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," Van Halen says in a press release. "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."

Van Halen performed not only on that track -- which also features Blink 182 drummer Travis Barker -- he played the guitar solo on 'Not Leaving You Tonight,' which features Fitz and the Tantrums.

"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," the legendary guitarist says. "I feel blessed to not only have had the opportunity to work with LL but also to call him a great friend."

Hear Eddie Van Halen on LL Cool J's 'We're the Greatest'