During the Long Beach Arena show on August 17, 1986, controversy broke out in the form of a gang fight which further thrusted LL’s name into the national spotlight. Moving to New York in 1982, she was drawn to the underground Hip Hop scene.
ll cool j kids – Trip, Ice Cube, Public Enemy, De La Soul
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. With the release of his second album in 1987, Bigger and Deffer, Cool J scored with audiences across the board, helping to broaden the barriers of rap listeners. The album’s single “I Need Love” became the first rap song to top Billboard magazine’s R&B chart, and proved that rap could embrace romantic modes, even while Spin magazine called Bigger and Deffer “arguably the heaviest rock’n’roll record ever released on a major label”. As the album joined Radio in platinum territory, Cool J’s track “Going Back To Cali” for the film Less Than Zero help push that movie’s soundtrack to gold sales.
In 1984, a time when rap music was only just gaining credibility with mass audiences, Def Jam was a gutsy venture to begin with. However, by releasing then 16 year old Cool J’s “I Need A Beat” as their maiden single, Rubin and Simmons were taking a true risk. Their conviction of Cool J’s talents were founded, and the single took off in popularity. A year later, Cool J recorded his debut album Radio for Def Jam, also their first long player, to wide acclaim. Called “the most engaging and original rap album of the year” by Village Voice music critic Robert Christgau, the album was a showcase of bass-driven favorites such as “Rock The Bells” as well as tender ballads, justifying his full moniker, Ladies Love Cool James. The album went platinum, as did many of Cool J’s full-length releases that followed.
In his follow-up album, 1987’s Bigger and Deffer, LL Cool J showed his softer side with the popular ballad, “I Need Love.” The song became a hit on both the rap and pop charts. Two years later, he was back on the charts with his album Walking with a Panther.
He later added acting to his C.V., appearing in the movies Deep Blue Sea and Halloween H20, among others, and he currently stars in NCIS: Los Angeles and hosts Lip Sync Battle. Additionally, he programs his own SiriusXM channel, Rock the Bells, and hosts its Influence of Hip Hop show. He’s won two Grammys (and hosted the Grammys five times), as well as MTV VMAs, NAACP Image Awards, and Soul Train Music Awards.
In 1984, a time when rap music was only just gaining credibility with mass audiences, Def Jam was a gutsy venture to begin with. However, by releasing then 16 year old Cool J’s I Need A Beat” as their maiden single, Rubin and Simmons were taking a true risk. Their conviction of Cool J’s talents were founded, and the single took off in popularity. A year later, Cool J recorded his debut album Radio for Def Jam, also their first long player, to the approval of many sectors. Called the most engaging and original rap album of the year” by Village Voice music critic Robert Christgau, the album was a showcase of bass-driven favorites such as Rock The Bells” as well as tender ballads, justifying his full moniker, Ladies Love Cool James. The album went platinum, as did all of Cool J’s full-length releases from that point on.
Last week, the recently-released-from-jail rap icon’s longtime producer Swizz Beatz confirmed that he has new music coming out on Def Jam. Radio received mostly positive reviews, and its release and widespread success is today recognized as a pivotal moment in hip hop history and a harbinger of new school hip hop.
Despite the palpable excitement of fans and other local celebrities (Long Island Medium Theresa Caputo was also in attendance, casting spells on auction items like Vanna White with taller hair) the evening seemed pretty run-of-the-mill for Manhasset’s hip-hop power couple. Smith conceded that their family’s lifestyle can seem pretty hectic, but she stressed that downtime is downtime for them.
Going on to focus on fitness, LL has always encouraged healthy living and an active lifestyle. Besides his music, his fitness books and pep talks regarding a healthier lifestyle have become somewhat of a success also. Going on to release the albums 10, The DEFinition , Todd Smith – which saw a musical reconciliation with Jamie Foxx on ‘Best Dress’ – and then his Def Jam bow out album Exit 13 , you’ll be hard pushed to find another artist with as much influence and success over such a substantial amount of time as LL Cool J. Having recently released his first non-Def Jam project, Authentic , these days he’s more an actor than a rapper. Playing the part of Sam Hanna, one of the lead roles in the highly successful TV series NCIS: Los Angeles, his commercially recognised celebrity status is justified for more than one reason.
Should a miracle occur and Public Enemy and N.W.A both make it first ballot, then this guy should be next. Hell, even if N.W.A doesn’t make it you could make an argument that he should be in before them. Amazing the hall would choose the Hollies and Darlene Love over him. Hope he still finds consideration as all these 90s rappers start to become eligible.
James Todd Smith (born January 14, 1968), known professionally as LL Cool J (short for Ladies Love Cool James), 1 is an American rapper, record producer, actor, author and entrepreneur from Queens, New York 2 With the breakthrough success of his hit single “I Need a Beat” and the Radio LP, LL Cool J became one of the first hip-hop acts to achieve mainstream success along with Kurtis Blow and Run-D.M.C.
Already a recording star, Cool J quickly proved to be a powerful live presence as well. He was invited to perform in the rap film Krush Groove, to deliver a version of his song “I Can’t Live Without My Radio.” Within the next several years, Cool J would figure prominently in several major rap tours under the Def Jam banner—the Raising Hell Tour of 1986, featuring Run DMC and the Beastie Boys , and the Def Jam Tour a year after, whose roster included Public Enemy , Eric B. and Rakim, and Whodini. “See L.L. live,” urged L.A. Times critic Robert Hilburn, “and it’s easy to understand why he is emerging as a legitimate culture hero. His confidence and way with rhymes suggest a young Mohammed Ali, but some of his stage antics are reminiscent of Prince,” he continued. With his low brimmed floppy cap and massive gold chains, Cool J’s image neatly summed up all that was “old school” rap.
on “S.W.A.T.” I loved “S.W.A.T.” In retrospect, I wish I could have had a bigger role in it, but I had a great time doing it, and it was a success. It was actually the coolest movie I’ve ever done, in terms of just a pure movie. It was the most entertaining and well done.
NCIS: Los Angeles star LL Cool J is a successful actor, musician, host, and businessman. From 2000 to 2008, in spite of having a promising acting career, LL Cool J continued to churn out albums which were moderate to big successes.
In December 2017, LL became the first rapper to be honored at the Kennedy Center — the highest achievement a performer can receive. Earlier this year, Sirius XM Radio announced LL would helm his own station — Rock the Bells Radio — curating classic hip-hop and deep cuts for fans of the genre.
Influenced by Grandmaster Flash, Afrika Bambaataa, funk legend Rick James, Kurtis Blow, and pioneers Run-DMC, LL started to create his own rap style. Born James Todd Smith, on January 14, 1968, in St. Alban’s, Queens, NY; married Simone, 1995; children: three.
Previously, LL had a dramatic and critically acclaimed performance on the second season premiere of FOX’s hit drama House.” He also guest starred on the NBC comedy 30 Rock” in a memorable performance as hip hop mogul ‘Ridiculous’.
Beginning in 1993, he included gangsta rap in his repertoire. He has also crossed over to acting, both in film (Toys, Halloween H20, Rollerball), and television (In the House, 30 Rock, House); currently, he is a regular in the series NCIS: Los Angeles.
Picking himself up, dusting off the commercial embarrassment, and then teaming up with super producer Marley Marl, the reinstatement of LL’s tough guy image on Mama Said Knock You Out helped in creating a pinnacle moment in Hip Hop history. Rapping, Don’t call it a comeback,” on the album’s title track, LL, with a score to settle, lyrically boxed his way through any doubters he may have had. With 1990 appearing to be the year of Uncle L, the double platinum masterpiece, which featured joints like ‘Around The Way Girl’ and ‘The Boomin’ System’, demonstrated the first real lyrical attack from LL on ‘To Da Break Of Dawn’. Going at Kool Moe Dee, Ice-T, and even MC Hammer, LL Cool J the battle emcee was born. Introducing rap’s first ever MTV Unplugged acoustic session, Mama Said Knock You Out is regarded as one of rap’s finest moments.
Having started out in the entertainment industry as a brash teenager, LL Cool J’s trajectory is one from youthful exuberance to maturity and he’s been open about so much of his life—from the abuse he suffered at the hands of his mother’s boyfriend, to a battle with sex addiction and squabbles with his former longtime label Def Jam. He’s not one for regrets or dissecting the man he once was, however—LL knows who LL was and who LL is. He sees it all as just part of the journey.
On his I Shot Ya (Remix)” LL Cool J reminded music fans that his victories included wins against Kool Moe Dee, Ice-T, and M.C. Hammer. Five years prior, on LL Cool J’s fourth album, Mama Said Knock You Ou t, he seemingly left the ring victorious with a TKO title track aimed at longtime foe Moe Dee. On that same 1990 Def Jam Records release, James Todd Smith threw shots at M.C. Hammer.
LL Cool J: I walked away from the case studies,” for lack of a better word, feeling like it’s still a moving target. I think that it really is up to the individual, it’s up to you, it’s up to your colleagues, it’s up to your family, it’s up to my colleagues, my family, to define what this cool” thing is. Because at the end of the day some people love Christian Louboutin and some people love Birkenstocks, you know what I mean? And it’s a very personal thing. Now, there is something, it seems, that is inherently cool about the idea of being an individual that can change the way the masses see things, or live, or move, or exist. I think that the question still remains. What is it? I think it’s really a case-by-case basis. It has some science, but it seems like it’s more art.
With his 2002 release, 10, LL reaffirms the strength of his position in the popular culture of music. I consider this disc to be a milestone in my life,” says LL Cool J. A tenth album for anybody is truly an amazing moment.” While the world of hip-hop has not, historically, provided much stability or staying power for the artists that shaped it, LL Cool J has managed to take a stand within it, combining rap and pop influences that appeal to both realms.
One of the best songs of the underappreciated Walking With A Panther album has LL spittin’ dope rhymes over a Bomb Squad produced track. It definitely get’s no rougher. His moniker is an acronym for Ladies Love Cool James.
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.
Also, check out the original Rock The Bells version which did not appear on the Radio album. This version has LL spittin’ rhymes over 7 minutes of hard-hitting, bells-infused beats. Pure excellence. Hip-hop is notorious for short-lived careers, but LL Cool J is the inevitable exception that proves the rule.
Not only did the streets provide Cool J with life lessons, they also became the medium in which he became engaged in rapping, at a very young age. Experimenting from age nine, Cool J was fronting local rap crews at 11 years old, and in less than two years was tinkering with recording equipment. After his grandfather bought him a two-track recorder in lieu of a dirtbike, the precocious Cool J cut his first demo tapes when only thirteen, and soon began mailing them out. When the tapes captured the attention of producers Rick Rubin and Russell Simmons , founders of the budding label Def Jam, Cool J was almost immediately locked on a track for stardom.
In early 2012, Public Enemy kicked off their 25th anniversary by staging a free concert in downtown Los Angeles’ notorious Skid Row. Just a few blocks away at the Grammy Museum, a special exhibit was being installed in their honor. No other group could possibly mark a career milestone quite like this. Every bit as compelling as their startling first single, Public Enemy #1,” when it was released in 1987, Public Enemy have never stopped urging to fight the power as their artistry meets with unwavering critical acclaim and legions of worldwide fans. Fans that drove their single, Harder Than You Think,” into the UK’s Top 5 last summer and prompted the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame to induct the group in 2013 – their first year of eligibility.
In 2008, LL Cool J released his final album, aptly titled Exit 13, on Def Jam Records, in the midst of criticizing how his hip-hop peer Jay-Z was running the label as its president. A B-boy’s love declaration to his boombox in particular and Hip Hop and the B-boy lifestyle in general. A timeless Hip Hop classic.