LL Cool J: Wikis


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LL Cool J

LL Cool J at the 5th Annual Hip-Hop Summit Action Network's Action Awards in New York City in February 2008.
Background information
Birth name James Todd Smith
Born January 14, 1968 (1968-01-14) (age 42)
Bay Shore, New York, U.S.
Origin St. Albans, Queens, New York, U.S.
Genres Hip hop
Occupations Rapper, actor, bodybuilder
Instruments Vocals
Years active 1983–present
Labels Violator, G-Unit Records, Def Jam Recordings
Website LLCoolJ.DefJam.com

James Todd Smith (born January 14, 1968), better known as LL Cool J, is an American rapper and actor. LL Cool J stands for "Ladies Love Cool James".[1] He is known for romantic ballads such as "I Need Love", "Around the Way Girl" and "Hey Lover" as well as pioneering hip-hop such as "I Can't Live Without My Radio", "I'm Bad", "The Boomin' System", and "Mama Said Knock You Out". He has also appeared in several films. He has released twelve studio albums and a greatest hits compilation, with his latest album being 2008's Exit 13, the last for his record deal with Def Jam Recordings. He now resides in Manhasset, New York with his wife and four children. [2]


Early life

LL Cool J grew up in Queens, New York. His parents divorced when he was at the age of four, consequently he was raised by his grandparents. He started rapping at the age of nine. In his youth, LL Cool J performed in the church choir, participated in the Boy Scouts, and delivered newspapers. At age 16, by using a mixing table purchased by his grandfather at Sears,[3] Smith produced and created demos and sent them to various record companies, including Def Jam Recordings.[4]

Under his new stage name, LL Cool J (Ladies Love Cool James)[5], Def Jam released his first record, the 12" single "I Need a Beat".[6] The single sold over 100,000 copies. The success of "I Need a Beat" helped lead to a distribution deal with Def Jam and Columbia Records in 1985.[7] Soon after, he dropped out of Andrew Jackson High School to record his debut album.[8]

Music career

Radio (1985)

Radio was released to critical acclaim, as LL Cool J was one of the first rappers to use conventional song structure to make pop oriented rap.[9] "I Can't Live Without My Radio" and "Rock the Bells" were singles that helped the album go platinum with 1,500,000 sales.

Bigger and Deffer (1987)

In 1987, he released Bigger and Deffer which included "I Need Love". Also featured on the album was "Go Cut Creator Go," which pays homage to the DJ. The album sold about 2,300,000 copies. In 1998, The Source Magazine named it as one of the top 100 albums ever.[citation needed]

"I Need Love" was the second single from LL Cool J's second album, Bigger and Deffer. The song, released in the fall of 1987, reached #1 on the R&B/Hip Hop charts, #14 on the Billboard Hot 100 charts, and #8 in the UK Singles Chart. The single won a Soul Train Music Award for Best Rap - Single in 1987.[1] The song was parodied in 2000 by Brooklyn rapper Necro in his song "I Need Drugs", which alters the lyrics to a narrative of a man's addiction to crack cocaine. [2] "I Need Love" was ranked #13 on the 100 Greatest Rap Songs.[3]

Walking with a Panther (1989)

LL Cool J's third album was 1989' Walking with a Panther. The album featured the singles "Going Back to Cali," "I'm That Type of Guy," "Jingling Baby," and "Big Ole Butt" and went platinum with 1,100,000 sales.

Mama Said Knock You Out (1990)

Following this, LL Cool J released Mama Said Knock You Out, which contained three singles, "The Boomin' System," "Around the Way Girl," and the title track, which he performed during an episode of MTV Unplugged. It was also featured in the film The Hard Way. The album on to sell over 2,700,000 copies.

14 Shots to the Dome (1993)

14 Shots to the Dome was LL Cool J's fifth album. The album had three singles ("How I'm Comin'", "Back Seat" and the strangely titled "Pink Cookies in a Plastic Bag Getting Crushed by Buildings") and guest-featured labelmates Lords of the Underground on "NFA-No Frontin' Allowed". The album went gold.

Mr. Smith (1995)

After acting in The Hard Way and Toys, LL Cool J released 14 Shots To The Dome (1993) which included "Back Seat of My Jeep." He starred in In the House, an NBC sitcom, before releasing Mr. Smith (1995), which went on to sell over two million copies. Its singles included "Doin' It" and "Loungin". Another of the album's singles, "Hey Lover", featured Boyz II Men sampling Michael Jackson's "The Lady in My Life," which eventually became one of the first hip hop music videos to air on American VH1.[citation needed] The song also earned him a Grammy Award. Yet another single from the album, "I Shot Ya Remix", included vocal work by Foxy Brown.

Phenomenon and beef with Canibus (1997)

In 1997, he released the album Phenomenon. The singles included "Phenomenon" and "Father". The official second single from Phenomenon was "4, 3, 2, 1," which featured Method Man, Redman & Master P and introduced DMX and Canibus.

G.O.A.T. (2000)

In 2000, LL Cool J released the album G.O.A.T., which stood for the "greatest of all time." It debuted at number one on the Billboard album charts,[10] and went platinum. LL Cool J thanked Canibus in the liner notes of the album, "for the inspiration".

10 (2002)

LL Cool J's next album 10 from 2002, was his 9th studio (10th overall including his greatest hits compilation All World), and included the singles "Paradise" (featuring Amerie), "Luv U Better," produced by The Neptunes and the 2003 Jennifer Lopez duet, "All I Have." The album reached platinum status.

The DEFinition (2004)

LL Cool J's 10th album The DEFinition was released on August 31, 2004. The album debuted at #4 on the Billboard charts. Production came from Timbaland, 7 Aurelius, R. Kelly, and others. The lead single was the Timbaland-produced "Headsprung," which peaked at #16 on the Billboard Hot 100.[11] The second single was the 7 Aurelius – produced, "Hush," which peaked at #26 on the Billboard Hot 100.[11]

Todd Smith (2006)

LL Cool J's 11th album, Todd Smith, was released on April 11, 2006. It includes collaborations with 112, Ginuwine, Juelz Santana, Teairra Mari and Freeway. The first single was the Jermaine Dupri produced "Control Myself" aka the "zzz song" which was with singer Jennifer "J-Lo" Lopez. They shot the video for "Control Myself" on January 2, 2006 at Sony Studios, New York. The second video, directed by Hype Williams, was "Freeze" featuring Lyfe Jennings.

Exit 13 (2008)

LL Cool J performing in Wilmington, Delaware in August 2008.
LL Cool J in concert at the Arizona State Fair in Phoenix, Arizona.

In July 2006, LL Cool J announced details about his final album with Def Jam recordings, the only label he has ever been signed to. The album is titled Exit 13. The album was originally scheduled to be executively produced by fellow Queens rapper 50 Cent.[12] Exit 13 was originally slated for a fall 2006 release, however, after a 2 year delay, it was released September 9, 2008 without 50 Cent as the executive producer. Tracks that the two worked on were leaked to the Internet and some of the tracks produced with 50 made it to Exit 13.

LL Cool J partnered with DJ Kay Slay to release a mixtape called "The Return of the G.O.A.T.". It was the first mixtape of his 24 year career and includes freestyling by LL Cool J in addition to other rappers giving their rendition of his songs. A track entitled "Hi Haterz" was leaked onto the internet on June 1, 2008. The song contains LL Cool J rapping over the instrumental to Maino's "Hi Hater". He toured with Janet Jackson on her Rock Witchu tour, only playing in Los Angeles, Chicago, Toronto, and Kansas City.

NCIS: No Crew Is Superior

In September 2009, LL Cool J released a song about the NCIS TV series. It is a single and is available on iTunes. The new track is based on his experiences playing special agent Sam Hanna. "This song is the musical interpretation of what I felt after meeting with NCIS agents, experienced Marines and Navy Seals," LL Cool J said. "It represents the collective energy in the room. I was so inspired I wrote the song on set." [13]

Acting career

LL Cool J's first acting part was a small role in a high school football movie called Wildcats. He continued to work in movies from then until 1995 when he landed his own television sitcom, In the House. He starred as an ex-Los Angeles Raiders running back who finds himself in financial difficulties and is forced to rent part of his home out to a single mother and her two children. He continued to appear on the big screen throughout the series' four year run.

In 1998 he had a role in the film Halloween H20. He followed up H2O with 1999's Deep Blue Sea, where he played the wise-cracking cook on a top-secret sea base besieged by genetically-enhanced sharks. Later that year he had a starring role in Any Given Sunday, in which he played Julian Washington, the talented but selfish running back on the dysfunctional Miami Sharks. Since then, LL Cool J has appeared in a variety of films, such as the 2002 remake of Rollerball, Deliver Us from Eva, and S.W.A.T..

In 2005, he returned to television in a guest starring role on the Fox medical drama House as a death row inmate felled by an unknown disease.

He also guest starred on 30 Rock in the episode "The Source Awards" as the hip hop producer Ridiculous, who Tracy Jordan fears is going to kill him.

LL Cool J appeared in Sesame Street's 39th season where he introduced the word of the day, "Unanimous", in episode 4169 (Sept. 22, 2008) and performing "The Addition Expedition" in episode 4172 (Sept. 30, 2008).

He was cast as a series regular in the CBS police procedural NCIS: Los Angeles, a spin-off of the NCIS. LL Cool J plays Special Agent Sam Hanna, an ex – Navy SEAL who is fluent in Arabic and an expert on West Asian culture. The series debuted in autumn of 2009, but the characters were introduced in an April 2009 crossover episode on the parent show.

Other works and ventures


LL Cool J worked behind the scenes with the mid-eighties Hip-Hop sportswear line TROOP.[14] In the mid 90's, he also helped to launch a clothing line named FUBU.

LL Cool J launched a clothing line (called Todd Smith).[15]


LL Cool J has written four books, including 1998's "I Make My Own Rules", an autobiography co-written with Karen Hunter. His second book was the children-oriented book called "And The Winner Is..." published in 2002. In 2006, LL Cool J and his personal trainer, Dave "Scooter" Honig wrote a fitness book, "The Platinum Workout". His fourth book "LL Cool J (Hip-Hop Stars)" was co-written in 2007 with hip-hop historian Dustin Shekell and Public Enemy's Chuck D.

Businessman and entrepreneur

LL Cool J at MyCokeFest at Centennial Olympic Park in Atlanta, Georgia.

LL Cool J started his own businesses in the music industry such as the music label in 1993 called P.O.G. (Power Of God) and formed the company Rock The Bells to produce music. With the Rock The Bells label, he had artists such as Amyth,[16] Smokeman, Natice, Chantel Jones and Simone Starks. Rock the Bells Records was also responsible for the Deep Blue Sea soundtrack for the 1999 movie of the same name. Rufus "Scola" Waller was also signed to the label, but was released when the label folded.[17]

LL Cool J founded and launched Boomdizzle.com, a record label / social networking site launched in September 2008. The website accepts music uploads from aspiring artists, primarily from the hip hop genre, and the site's users rate songs through contests, voting, and other community events.[18]



Year Title Role Notes
1985 Krush Groove Himself
1986 Wildcats Rapper
1991 The Hard Way Detective Billy, NYPD
1992 Toys Captain Patrick Zevo
1995 Out-of-Sync Jason St. Julian
1995-1999 In The House Marion Hill
1997 Touch Himself Cameo appearance
1998 Caught Up Roger
All That (TV) Himself Guest appearance
Oz (TV) Jiggy Walker Guest appearance
Woo Darryl
Caught Up Roger
Halloween H20: 20 Years Later Ronald "Ronny" Jones
1999 Deep Blue Sea Sherman "Preacher" Dudley
In Too Deep Dwayne Gittens/God
Any Given Sunday Julian Washington
2000 Charlie's Angels Mr. Jones Cameo appearance
2001 Kingdom Come Ray Bud Slocumb
2002 Rollerball Marcus Ridley
2003 Deliver Us from Eva Raymond "Ray" Adams
S.W.A.T. Officer Deacon "Deke" Kaye
2004 Mindhunters Gabe Jensen
2005 Edison Officer Rafe Deed
Slow Burn Luther Pinks
House (TV) Clarence Guest appearance
2006 Last Holiday Sean Williams
2007 The Man (TV) Manny Baxter
30 Rock (TV) Ridikulous Guest appearance
2008 The Deal Bobby Mason
2009 WWII in HD[19] (TV) Shelby Westbrook Voice
Navy NCIS: Naval Criminal Investigative Service (TV) Special Agent Sam Hanna[20] Guest appearance (2 episodes)
2009–present NCIS: Los Angeles (TV) Special Agent Sam Hanna[20] an NCIS spin-off television series


MTV Video Music Awards

NAACP Image Awards

  • 1996 - Best Rap Artist, for "Mr. Smith"
  • 1997 - Best Rap Artist, for "Mr. Smith"
  • 2001 - Outstanding Hip-Hop/Rap Artist, for "G.O.A.T."
  • 2003 - Outstanding Male Artist

Grammy Awards

Soul Train Music Awards

Blockbuster Entertainment Awards

The New York Music Awards

  • 15 New York Music Awards

Soul Train Awards

  • 10 Soul Train Awards

Billboard Awards

  • 1 Billboard Award

Rock The Vote Award

  • 1997 - "Patrick Lippert Award"

Source Awards

  • 2003 - Source Foundation Image Award, for "his community work"

Long Island Music Hall of Fame

  • 2007 - Inducted as part of the Inaugural Class of Inductees for his contribution to Long Island's rich musical heritage


  1. ^ CBS (2008-09-12). ""There's No Doubt 'Ladies Love Cool James'"". CBS News. http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2008/09/12/earlyshow/leisure/music/main4445125.shtml. Retrieved 2009-05-20. 
  2. ^ http://www.defjam.com/site/artist_home.php?artist_id=202 Official Site @ Def Jam
  3. ^ According to speech made by LL Cool J at Sears Headquarters in October 23, 2008 to promote his new clothing line,
  4. ^ "VideoETA....LL Cool J bio". VideoETA.com Inc.. http://videoeta.com/person/726. Retrieved 2008-06-24. 
  5. ^ "Acronyms and abbreviations by the Free Online Dictionary". Farlex, Inc.. http://acronyms.thefreedictionary.com/Ladies+Love+Cool+J+(rap+artist). Retrieved 2008-07-01. 
  6. ^ "MTV.com - LL Cool J Bio". MTV Networks.. http://www.mtv.com/music/artist/ll_cool_j/artist.jhtml#bio. Retrieved 2008-06-24. 
  7. ^ "Address Island / Def Jam Records ... Def Jam history". GoDaddy.com, Inc.. http://www.addressdefjam.com/. Retrieved 2008-06-24. 
  8. ^ "Biography.comRead.... LL Cool J Biography (1968–)". A&E Television Networks. http://www.biography.com/search/article.do?id=16450351. Retrieved 2008-06-24. 
  9. ^ Hirschberg, Lynn. "The Music Man", New York Times Magazine, September 2, 2007.
  10. ^ Billboard.com - Biography - LL Cool J
  11. ^ a b Billboard.com - Artist Chart History - LL Cool J
  12. ^ 50 Cent, LL Cool J Teaming Up For LP - News Story Music, Celebrity, Artist News | MTV News
  13. ^ Adam Bryant (15 September 2009). "VIDEO: Check out LL Cool J's New NCIS:LA-Inspired Song". TVGuide.com. http://www.tvguide.com/News/NCIS-Cool-J-1009723.aspx. Retrieved 2009-09-15. 
  14. ^ http://www.allhiphop.com/hiphopnews/?ID=4109
  15. ^ Todd Smith by LL Cool J
  16. ^ http://www.hiponline.com/artist/music/a/amyth/index.php
  17. ^ http://music.blackplanet.com/scola/
  18. ^ http://www.boomdizzle.com/bdlaunch_pr
  19. ^ http://shop.history.com/detail.php?p=108161&v=
  20. ^ a b Bierly, Mandi (2009-02-25). "'NCIS' spinoff officially lands LL Cool J". Entertainment Weekly. http://popwatch.ew.com/popwatch/2009/02/ncis-ll-cool-j.html. Retrieved 2009-02-25. 

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