LL COOL J FACTS
Hometown: Bay Shore, N.Y.
Albums: Radio (1985), Bigger & Deffer (1987), Walking with a Panther (1989), Mama Said Knock You Out (1990), 14 Shots to the Dome (1993), Mr. Smith (1995), Phenomenon (1997), G.O.A.T. Featuring James T. Smith: The Greatest of All Time (2000), 10 (2002), The DEFinition (2004), Todd Smith (2006), Exit 13 (2008) and Authentic (2013).
Awards: 2 Grammy Awards, 2 MTV Video Music Awards, 10 Soul Train Music Awards, 15 New York Music Awards, 1 Billboard Award.
Hits: "Mama Said Knock You Out," "You'll Rock," "I Can't Live Without My Radio," "Big Ole Butt," "One Shot At Love," "Jingling Baby," "How I'm Comin'," "Stand By Your Man," "Hey Lover."
Other: LL Cool J's real name is James Todd Smith and he began rapping when he was only 9 years old.
LL Cool J has been one of hip-hop's shining stars ever since he dropped his first hit at the age of 16. The rapper was born in Long Island, N.Y., but was raised by his grandparents in the borough of Queens, where he quickly began to showcase his musical acumen. After making a series of mixtapes in his basement, he sent them off to record companies like Def Jam, who signed him rather quickly. LL Cool J's first hit single, "I Need A Beat," was the company's first release and sold 100,000 copies.
From the outset, it appeared that LL Cool J's career was on an astonishing upward arc. The albums Radio, Bigger and Deffer and Walking With A Panther were huge commercial successes and yielded the hits "I Can't Live Without My Radio," "I Need Love" and "I'm Bad." In 1990, LL Cool J came back swinging with what many consider to be his best work, Mama Said Knock You Out. The album won a Grammy for Best Rap Performance and is the artist's highest-selling record to date.
LL Cool J has also made a name for himself on the big screen, starring in a number of movies over the years, including "Any Given Sunday" and "Deep Blue Sea," as well as being a series regular on CBS's "NCIS: Los Angeles." However, his first love has always been music, and LL Cool J released a number of albums over the course of the 1990s and 2000s. After a five-year hiatus, fans are gearing up for the release of Authentic, the artist's first studio album since 2008.