I mean, the college course is only four years! LL’s ability to intuitively combine rap and pop is his strong point, but at the same time it has cost him the respect of many rap fans who claimed he has a sold out.
ll cool j – LLCOOLJ. (@llcoolj) On Twitter
Over his 30-year-long career, LL Cool J (nee James Todd Smith) put Def Jam on his back and helped define what a rapper looks like – both in personality and longevity in the rap game. At the top of March, LL performed on American Bandstand, which raised his crossover potential even more. Dick Clark declared on the show that Radio had gone Gold a full six weeks before it was announced by the RIAA. Add to the mix, three weeks later when LL appeared on Soul Train. It took over three months for the man known as Ladies Love Cool James to finally get a TV spot after his album had been steadily selling in stores. Despite how long it took for him to get in front of Don Cornelius, Radio continued to gain steam throughout Spring 1986.
LL’s ability to intuitively combine rap and pop is his strong point, but at the same time it has cost him the respect of many rap fans who claimed he has a sold out. The successful single, “Goin’ Back to Cali,” appeared on the Less Than Zero soundtrack in 1988, further boosting his crossover popularity. In 1990 LL struck again with Mama Said Knock You Out, which marked him as a rap super-guru and pop deity. After this ascension, he starred in two movies and appeared and performed at the MTV Inaugural Ball in honor of President Clinton. He released 14 Shots to the Dome in 1993. LL returned to the studio to record the double platinum album Mr. Smith in 1995.
There’s just so many heroic people and heroic parts of people’s lives. I look at John D. Rockefeller and what Michael Jordon was able to accomplish in his life. I look at Bruce Lee and Moses, OK? I think Muhammad Ali and Cornelius Vanderbilt are great heroes. There’s a lot of great people.
LL Cool J is also known as one of the forefathers of pop rap. He has released 13 studio albums and two greatest hits compilations. His twelfth album Exit 13 (2008), was his last for his long-tenured deal with Def Jam Recordings. His latest album, Authentic, was released in April 2013. In 2010, VH1 considered him to be in their “100 Greatest Artists Of All Time” list.
James Todd Smith LL Cool J” was born in Long Island, New York on the 14th of January, 1968. He is the son of James and Ondrea Smith. Smith has a very tough childhood and at the young age of four, he witnessed his mother and grandfather getting shot by his own father.
In the VH1 documentary Planet Rock: The Story of Hip Hop and the Crack Generation, LL Cool J revealed that he initially wanted to call himself J-Ski but did not want to associate his stage name with the cocaine culture (the rappers who use “Ski” or “Blow” as part of their stage name, e.g., Kurtis Blow and Joeski Love, were associated with the rise of the cocaine culture, as depicted in the 1983 remake of Scarface ).
As his own career proves, the space for rappers to become major influencers has only widened as the years have gone by. LL executive producing this MSNBC series is an indicator of how much control and leverage rappers-turned-moguls have, and recent comments from Diddy regarding Black people in executive positions in the entertainment world resonated because Black creativity often fuels industries that are guided by non-Black interests and perspectives.
LL Cool J: Anything Ken Burns does is amazing. His documentary on jazz was unbelievable. His documentary on prohibition, and Unforgivable Blackness” (about champion boxer Jack Johnson) were great. I even like some of the docudrama things like The Men Who Built America.” The documentary on Rockefeller’s life, which is a really old A&E Biography, I think, is really cool, really well done. That actually inspired me to read the book. I’ve watched everything from Colonel Sanders to, I don’t know, you name it, the Heinz family, the Du Ponts. It’s just kind of my thing.
Rap star and actor James Todd Smith changed his name to LL Cool J (short for Ladies Love Cool James”) at sixteen, when he released his first single, I Need a Beat.” In the late 1980s, the success of his recordings helped make Def Jam a major label: his broad popular appeal and nine consecutive multiplatinum albums were significant in transforming rap from an underground genre to a mainstream cultural force.
LL Cool J (short for Ladies Love Cool James), is an American rapper and actor from Queens, New York. He is known for such hip hop hits as “I Can’t Live Without My Radio”, “I’m Bad”, “The Boomin’ System”, “Rock The Bells” and “Mama Said Knock You Out”, as well as romantic ballads such as “Doin’ It”, “I Need Love”, “Around the Way Girl” and “Hey Lover”.
Fast forward to 2015, where LL Cool J is still a household name around the world. He is internationally known like Rob Base and is universally loved as a Zulu should be. Everyone from small children to grandmothers recognize LL Cool J today, but back in 1985 he was just a 17-year-old high school dropout who took a giant leap of faith. When LL began his recording career, rap wasn’t even considered a legitimate genre of music by people within the music industry. To this date, Radio is one of the seminal classic bodies of work that continues to be listened to and studied by heavy students of the game 30 years after the fact. This album not only began LL Cool J’s career, it launched Rick Rubin’s career as a sought after producer of classic albums while simultaneously kickstarting Def Jam’s run as the most successful label in the 36-plus year history of Hip-Hop culture.
The April 8 judgment effectively ends litigation brought by LL Cool J, whose real name is James Todd Smith, in 2018. Smith alleged that Guerilla held a series of concerts featuring hip hop artists under the Rock the Bells mark.
The onset of the 1990s saw Cool J explore the media of film and television, both as a musician and as an actor. On the big screen, he turned in an impressive performance as an undercover cop in the drama The Hard Way in 1991, which led to a part in director Barry Levinson’s 1992 film Toys. For MTV, Cool J took part in two groundbreaking specials, both in 1991. In May, he performed acoustic versions of songs such as “Mama Said Knock You Out” and “Jingling Baby” for the popular series Unplugged, and was the first rap artist to do so. Shortly thereafter, he appeared in the music network’s History of Rap documentary, discussing classic rap acts like Afrika Bambaata and The Sugarhill Gang, as rap began to get the recognition it deserved as a cultural phenomenon. In addition, Cool J took a leading support role on the television series, In The House, first shown on the NBC network in 1995, then switched to the UPN network, where it ran until 1999.
James Todd Smith, the lip-licking Queens native also known as LL Cool J—whose moniker means Ladies Love Cool James—was the first act signed to the record company, whose humble beginnings were shaped in Rubin’s New York University dorm room in the early 1980s.
He may not be rock but he does play with a live band, and he literally “rocks” at his shows and in all of his albums. How many artists are able to make it 23 years without embarrassing themselves? Not too many, LL is one of them. He had 14 Top 40 hits, and many of his albums (earlier) are liked my rocker people (he’s real rap). Sevendust covered Going Back to Cali, even. I think he should get in and I would love it when he does get in.
Compared to conflicts with Moe Dee, M.C. Shan, Ice-T, and later, Tupac, the brief sparring with Hammer has largely been forgotten by time. On Instagram, promoting Rock The Bells radio , Uncle L responded to an IG user’s question.
The only thing perhaps as mesmerizing as LL’s wide-ranging career is the coolness with which his family seems to handle it all. Born in Bay Shore but raised in Queens, LL Cool J’s official music career began when he was 16, with the release of 1985’s single I Need A Beat,” on Def Jam Recordings, and has continued to evolve in the decades since. He went on to become rap music’s first-ever mainstream icon and sex symbol.
While it’s understandable for people to misinterpret a few words here and there, he notes that literally nobody had a handle on the intro to the song (which was the lead-single for The DEFinition LP).
As Rick Rubin and Russell Simmons placed all their trust in a young 16, going on 17-year-old kid from Queens, LL Cool J was the hope for Def Jam and Hip-Hop culture, who needed a charismatic new breakout superstar to bring the nascent genre to a new plateau. Today marks the 30th anniversary of LL Cool J’s Radio album, now a recognized rap classic, whereon LL Cool J’s brash and confident lyrics, coupled with his effortless delivery belied talent that rarely belonged to an adult. LL Cool J wasn’t satisfied with just hanging back and letting things happen. After getting himself into the door at Def Jam, he got a bigger role in what would become the unofficial Def Jam biopic, Krush Groove. Russell Simmons previously turned down roles with the films Beat Street or Rappin’ to instead team with George Jackson, Doug McHenry and director Michael Schultz to highlight his Rush Artist Management roster.
He has been on Def Jam Records longer than any other artists from its start in 1985 to the present. James Todd Smith, better known by his stage name LL Cool J, is an American hip-hop artist who is most celebrated for popularizing hip-hop music all across the world.
On his second album “B.A.D.” (Bigger And Deffer), his single “I’m Bad” sampled the main theme of the 70’s TV show S.W.A.T. (1975) and, years later, he co-starred in the movie adaptation of that show. In 1985, at the age of 16, the hunky Kangol wearing lyricist released his debut opus Radio,” which went launched the Rock The Bells” rapper’s career.
In 2017, he became the first hip-hop artist to be feted by the Kennedy Center Honors. LL should get in to me.I dont have a problem with good hip-hop and ll is good ‘s been in the game forever releasing hit after hit and staying consistent.
Growing up in Queens, Smith, who would become known to the world as LL Cool J started rapping at age 9. Speaking to the New York Times , LL Cool J looked back on his early start and said, In this neighborhood, the kids grow up in rap. It’s like speaking Spanish if you grow up in an all-Spanish house.” At age 11, his jazz saxophonist grandfather spent $2,000 on a turntable set up, which allowed him to practice DJing in his attic and make demo tapes. Not long after that, LL was discovered by another Queens hip hop artist Jay Philpot, aka DJ Cut Creator, who was impressed by the young emcee and invited him to perform with him.
Hip-hop, in particular, is oftentimes painted as a uniquely ageist genre : rappers over 40 can sometimes be scoffed at, there’s a sense that trends come and go at breakneck speed and the image is undeniably youth-driven. Much has been made about the generation gap between Gen X boom bappers and millennial trap fans, but LL says that time decides what’s great and that everyone has to let it all flourish.
Releasing his first hit, “I Can’t Live Without My Radio,” in 1985 when he was just 17 years old, LL initially was a hard-hitting, streetwise b-boy with spare beats and ballistic rhymes. He quickly developed an alternate style, a romantic lover’s rap epitomized by his mainstream breakthrough single, “I Need Love.” LL’s first two albums, Radio and Bigger and Deffer, made him a star, and in 1990 he shot to the top of the charts with Mama Said Knock You Out, which established him as a genuine musical superstar. By the mid-’90s, he had starred in his own television sitcom, appeared in several films, and racked up two of his biggest singles with “Hey Lover” and “Doin’ It.” In short, he had proven that rappers could have long-term careers.
In December 2017, LL became the first rapper to earn the prestigious Kennedy Center Honor, which is America’s highest achievement for any performer and received his star on the legendary Hollywood Walk of Fame on January 21, 2016 for his achievement in music.