Early Years, Biography, and Personal Life
LL Cool J was born James Todd Smith on January 14, 1968 in Bay Shore, New York. Ondrea Griffith was his mother’s name, and James Louis Smith Jr, also known as James Nunya, was his father’s real name. James’ father shot and nearly killed both his grandfather and mother. LL Cool found our parents when he was four years old, but there was blood everywhere.
In the episode Finding Your Roots, he learns that Eugene Griffith and Ellen Hightower adopted his mother. Mr. Smith began singing when he was ten years old, influenced by the Treacherous Three’s hip-hop group. In March 1984, at the age of 16, he attempted to create demo tapes in his grandparents’ home.
His jazz saxophonist grandfather gave him $2,000 in equipment, including an audio mixer, two turntables, and an amplifier. His mother, on the other hand, backed his musician wisdom. By giving him a Korg drum machine with her tax refund.
Smith stated in the interview that he was already a rapper when he received musical equipment from relatives. His neighborhood kids enjoy and learn from his rap skills.Furthermore, if you were raised in a Spanish-speaking home, he learned to speak Spanish.
Sister- Nina Simone, Samaria Leah, and Italia Anita
|Parents||Father – James Nunya
Mother – Ondrea Smith
|Profession:||Rapper, Record Producer, Actor|
Najee Laurent Todd Eugene Smith.
Samaria Leah Wisdom Smith, Nina Simone Smith, Italia Anita Maria Smith.
|Wife/Girlfriend||Simone Johnson (m. 1995)|
|Last Updated:||July 2022|
LL Cool J Career
When LL Cool J met Rick Rubin at the age of 16, he launched his musical career. Rubin was impressed by his music, and the two collaborated on a single, ‘I Need a Beat.’ They later sent the single to artist manager Russell Simmons, who also liked it. Simmon and Rubin founded Def Jam Recordings the same year.
Smith began recording his own songs and submitting them to various record labels. His demo ended up in the hands of the people at Def Jam Recordings. Def Jam liked the demo and released his debut album. The song was released under his new stage name, L L Cool J (Ladies Love Cool James). Cool J was popular in the rap industry and throughout America, because his 1984 single “I Need a Beat” sold over 100,000 copies. As a result, he dropped out of high school to record his first album.
His debut album, “Radio,” was a huge success, selling 1,500,000 copies and earning him a platinum certification. Beyond financial success, it was also a critical success, with Cool J introducing conventional song structure, which made rap more approachable to the average listener. He’d follow it up with “Bigger and Deffer” in 1987. One of the first pop-rap songs was “I Need Love.”
He received widespread critical and commercial acclaim, with the album going 2X platinum. He would return in 1989 with another platinum-selling album, Walking with a Panther. During this period, the western hip-hop scene began to emerge.
The hip-hop community’s themes began to include more gangster themes. “Mama Said Knock You Out” was released in 1990. The album had a rougher edge, which appealed to hip-new hop’s face… It was regarded as yet another triumph.
Unfortunately, his follow-up album, released in 1993, was a flop with critics and audiences alike. He took two years off and started acting. He appeared in the films “The Hard Way” and “Toys” during this time period. In addition, he appeared on the NBC sitcom “In The House.” Mr. Smith, his debut album, was released in 1995.
The album included collaborations with Boys II Men and even a cover of Michael Jackson’s “The Lady in My Life.” The music video would go on to become one of the first hip-hop videos to air on VH1, earning LL a Grammy. More than 2 million copies of this album were sold. Following Phenomenon, LL Cool J released G.O.A.T, which went platinum and debuted at number one on the Billboard album charts.
Career in Acting
LL Cool J has an impressive resume of recognizable acting roles in addition to his successful music career. His first acting role was in Wildcats, a high school football film. In 1992, he played Captain Patric Zevo in Toys. From 1995 to 1998, LL Cool J had his own TV sitcom, In the House.
He played a famous ex-football player who runs into financial difficulties and is forced to rent out a portion of his home to a single mother and her two children. He had a small part in Halloween H20 in 1998. Over the next few years, he appeared in films such as Deliver Us from Eva, S.W.A.T., and Mindhunters.
He has played a leading role in NCIS: Los Angeles, a CBS police procedural, since 2009. Sam Hanna, an NCIS Special Agent and ex-Navy SEAL, is played by LL Cool J. He has hosted the popular celebrity competition game show Lip Sync Battle since April 2015.
Best moments from LL Cool J’s career:
- Radio (Album, 1985)
- I Need Love (Song, 1987)
- Doin It (Song, 1995)
- G.O.A.T (Album, 2000)
- Headsprung (Song, 2004)
- Kennedy Center Honors (2017) – Won
LL Cool J’s Awards and Achievements
Here is a list of some of LL Cool J’s awards and accomplishments.
Year Nominated work Award Result 1989 “Going Back To Cali” Table Nominated 1992
“Mama Said Knock You Out”
“Stand By Your Man”
Best Rap Solo Performance Won
1997 Mr. Smith Best Rap Album Nominated 1998 “Ain’t Nobody” Best Rap Solo Performance Nominated 2004 “Luv U Better” Best Rap/Sung Collaboration Nominated 2005 The DEFinition Best Rap Album Nominated
LL Cool J has collaborated with the hip-hop sportswear label TROOP. He was also involved in the 1996 launch of a clothing line through FUBU. Todd Smith, his clothing line, produces popular urban wear. In 2008, LL signed a deal with Sears to design and sell a family-friendly clothing line. In 2009, he launched Boomdizzle.com, a record label and social networking site.
In November 2017, LL Cool J graduated from Harvard University’s Business of Entertainment, Media, and Sports program. LL Cool J has published four books: I Make My Own Rules (an autobiography) in 1998, And The Winner Is in 2002, The Platinum Workout in 2006 (written with his trainer), and LL Cool J in 2007. (Hip Hop Stars.)
LL Cool J Summary
LL Cool J is one of the world’s wealthiest rappers. He has been a well-known hip-hop icon since the 1980s, and he has worked with some of the world’s best producers and artists. The net worth of LL Cool J is estimated to be $120 million.
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