LL Cool J: Cool Facts About The Legendary Rapper


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LL Cool J is one of the most popular and successful rappers in history. Throughout his career, LL Cool J has released several successful albums and appeared in several movies as well.

Here Are Some Cool Facts About LL Cool J

LL Cool J’s real name is not so cool

The rapper’s real name is James Todd Smith. The future musician was born on January 14, 1968, in the suburbs of New York. The boy’s father was a violent drunk and once almost shot his wife, after which the mother took her 4-year-old son and moved to her parents in Queens, where James spent his childhood.

LL Cool J is from a musical family

LL Cool J with his mother

LL Cool J grew up in a musical family: his mother played the accordion, his grandfather was a saxophonist. In addition, all the boys in Queens were into hip-hop, and LL Cool J decided to keep up: from the age of 10, he read rap and sang in the church choir. When the teenager was 16, his grandfather and mother gave him a DJ set, after which LL Cool J began creating demo tapes and sending them to record labels in New York.

LL Cool J got his pseudonym in the mid-80s

The aspiring rapper was offered his first contract by Def Jam Recordings in the mid-80s. Then James came up with the pseudonym LL Cool J, which translates as “ladies love cool James,” and recorded his debut track, which he performed in public for the first time at Manhattan Center High School.

LL Cool J’s first concert was a massive success

The concert turned out to be triumphant: fans screamed with delight and asked LL Cool J for autographs, after which James was finally convinced that he wanted to connect his professional biography with show business. The young man dropped out of school and focused on recording his debut album with the proceeds from the sale of his first hit.

LL Cool J’s debut album was a superhit

LL Cool J opened his discography with the collection Radio, which created a sensation: the album stayed at the top of the hip-hop charts for 47 weeks, received gold and then platinum status, and sold one and a half million copies within a year. James’s new songs were included in the second collection Bigger and Deffer, which became even more successful: it received multi-platinum status, was at number one on Billboard’s top R&B albums for 11 weeks, and the artist himself was nominated for an American Music Award.

LL Cool J received a Grammy Award for his fourth album

LL Cool J’s third album, Walking with a Panther, earned the rapper a Grammy nomination, although it was criticized for its commercial bias. James decided to rehabilitate himself before music experts and fans in the next collection Mama Said Knock You Out, making it more social and tougher than the previous one. The rapper received a Grammy for the album’s title track of the same name, and the entire collection became the best-selling album of LL Cool J’s career and cemented the musician’s status as a hip-hop icon.

Ll Cool J was very successful in the 90s

In the mid-90s, LL Cool J released three more successful albums, which were recognized as gold, platinum, and multi-platinum, received his second Grammy statuette, and began collaborating with other show business stars. So, LL Cool J recorded a joint video with rapper Dr. Dre and mentioned artists DMX and Canibus in the tracks. In 2000, LL Cool J released the collection GOAT, which critics dubbed “the greatest of all time.” Two years later, the album “10” appeared, the most famous hit of which was the duet with Jennifer Lopez “All I Have.”

LL Cool J’s next album, The DEFinition, was produced by Timbaland and R. Kelly. His next album was produced by Pharrell Williams, among others. The first single of this record was another collaboration with Jennifer Lopez, Control Myself, for which the musicians shot a joint video.

LL Cool J received a star on the Hollywood Walk Of Fame

LL Cool J’s star on the Hollywood Walk Of Fame

Since the mid-2000s, LL Cool J has continued to record albums, tour with other stars like Janet Jackson, and appear on television shows. In 2016, James received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, and two years later he was nominated to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

LL Cool J is a successful actor as well

LL Cool J made his screen debut in the mid-80s, portraying himself in the musical Crash Grove. In 1991, the rapper starred in the action movie “Ahead,” for which LL Cool J’s hit “Mama Said Knock You Out” was chosen as the soundtrack. Since then, in parallel with the creation of singles and videos for them, LL Cool J regularly appeared in films and TV series.

In his youth, the musician received the main role in the sitcom “In the House,” for which he was first nominated for a film award. In 2000, James was recognized as Best Supporting Actor by the Blockbuster Entertainment Award for his role in the horror film Deep Blue Sea.

Another memorable work of the American actor was filming in the sports drama Any Given Sunday. LL Cool J got into the role so much that he got into a fight with Jamie Foxx on set. The conflict ended with the arrival of the police, however, the artists themselves did not hold a grudge against each other, but, on the contrary, became friends.

Later, LL Cool J appeared in the comedy Charlie’s Angels, the thriller Mindhunters, and other feature films, and also periodically starred in top-rated TV series. For example, the actor can be seen in the multi-part projects “ Dr. House ” and “NCIS”; for his work in the latter, James was nominated for several television awards.

LL Cool J struggled with his marriage

The artist’s wife was Simone Johnson, his teenage love. The girl gave birth to the rapper’s first child when he was 19, but parental responsibilities drove James crazy. After numerous scandals and fights, the young people separated, then made peace and had another baby, but separated again.

LL Cool J with his wife Simone Smith

Finally, in 1995, the lovers reconciled and tied the knot in their personal lives. Later they had two more children, and the musician realized how important it is to care for loved ones. Now the large LL Cool J family lives in the village of Manhasset in New York state.

LL Cool J is a member of the Rock and Roll Hall Of Fame

In 2021, LL Cool J’s musical prowess was celebrated with induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. The rapper also presented his next album, From LL, With Love, which included six tracks.

LL Cool J has an award named after his song

In October 2021, at the BET Hip-Hop Awards, the musician presented a new award named after his 1985 track Rock the Bells. LL Cool J published a photo with a statuette for cultural influence on rap and hip-hop on his own Instagram account.


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