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The Kennedy Center

LL COOL J



Biography

LL COOL J is an entertainment icon who has found great success crossing into multiple mediums.

A Kennedy Center Honoree, two-time Grammy® Award winner, recording artist, actor, author, NAACP Image Award winner, entrepreneur and philanthropist, LL continues to display his wide range of talents with every project.

“I never could have predicted that I’d still be out here rocking it more than two decades after my debut, but here I am,” LL COOL J says with his trademark smile. Here he is indeed. 30 years since he first burst onto the scene, LL COOL J continues his vibrant, trailblazing career. LL COOL J began in the nascent, burgeoning rap and hip hop scene of the 80’s, which developed into the musical and cultural phenomenon that is today’s hip hop. All the while, LL COOL J has remained a musical and cultural force, a living icon and a significant, relevant artist still churning out the hits.

First introduced to the world in 1984 as a Def Jam Records flagship artist, LL is the first rap artist to amass ten consecutive platinum-plus selling albums, in addition to 2004’s “THE DEFINITION” and 2006’s “TODD SMITH” which both went Gold. The multi-platinum artist and two-time Rock and Roll Hall of Fame nominee is currently tied for third place for most Billboard chart debuts by a rapper. In 2008, LL released his critically acclaimed album “EXIT 13,” his appropriately titled 13th and last album for the only label he has called home - Def Jam Recordings. USA Today put it best when they said, “He may be hitting the Exit, but he is not easing up on the gas.” Continuing his musical expedition three decades after he first released music, LL most recently released his critically-acclaimed 14th studio album, AUTHENTIC. With this album, the multi-platinum artist returned to the studio and kicked the volume up to create a powerful album that came from his true passion for music and would speak to his fans. LL scored his 13th Top-10 Album on the Billboard R&B/Hip-Hop Chart with AUTHENTIC.

In December 2017, LL became the first rapper to earn the prestigious Kennedy Center Honor, which is America’s highest achievement for any performer and received his star on the legendary Hollywood Walk of Fame on January 21, 2016 for his achievement in music.

As an actor, LL COOL J has successfully transitioned to one of the consistently highest rated shows on television. He currently stars in the CBS hit primetime drama series, “NCIS: LOS ANGELES,” which premiered its ninth season on Sunday, Oct 1. Lauded as one of the most successful show launches ever, becoming syndicated after only seven episodes, his performance on the show has garnered him a NAACP Image Award four years in a row, from 2011 – 2014, and nominations in both 2015 and 2016, for his role of ‘Special Agent Sam Hanna.’ The show can now be seen in more than 200 countries.

He previously won an NAACP Image Award for “Outstanding Male Artist” in 2003 and hosted the show in 2007.

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’.

Over the years, LL has appeared in more than 30 films and starred opposite acclaimed actors such as Samuel L. Jackson and Colin Farrell in Sony Pictures blockbuster “S.W.A.T.;” Al Pacino, Jamie Foxx and Cameron Diaz in Oliver Stone’s “Any Given Sunday;” and Gabrielle Union in Focus Features’ “Deliver Us from Eva.” Other film credits include “Rollerball,” “Charlie’s Angels,” “Kingdom Come,” “In Too Deep,” “Toys,” “Slow Burn” with Ray Liotta and “Eddison” with Morgan Freeman.

He also received a Blockbuster Award for best comedic performance as the ‘Chef’ in Renny Harlin's blockbuster action film “Deep Blue Sea.” He also starred in Paramount Pictures’ “Last Holiday,” opposite Queen Latifah, which was lauded by fans and critics alike and proved to be a box office draw. He was most recently seen staring opposite Academy Award-winner Robert De Niro in “Grudge Match.”
LL can currently be seen hosting and producing the Jimmy Fallon-executive produced show Lip Sync Battle on Spike TV, which premiered April 2, 2015 as Spike TV’s most-watched original program ever. The series, which will premiere its 4th season in 2018, has amassed over half a billion video streams since its launch. In 2017, the show earned its second Emmy® nomination in the category of “Outstanding Structured Reality Program.”
In November 2017, LL announced that he will launch his own classic hip-hop channel on SiriusXM, “Rock the Bells Radio.” The channel, expected to launch in early 2018, will feature a wide range of classic hip-hop content, music, interviews and in-depth retrospectives curated and presented by LL.

LL hosted the GRAMMY® Awards for an unprecedented five years in a row, for which he earned rave reviews. He hosted and produced the GRAMMY® Nominations Concert Live Special for seven years and has also been a presenter at the Emmy®, Golden Globe®, and SAG Awards.

Also an author, LL released LL COOL J’s Platinum 360 Diet and Lifestyle in May 2010, the follow up to his New York Times Bestseller LL COOL J’s Platinum Workout, which detailed the evolution of his workout philosophy as well as secrets that have helped him achieve his greatest goals not only in the gym, but as an actor, businessman, and multi-platinum musician. In 2002 he released a children’s book, And the Winner Is, as part of Scholastics series of books and CDs by today’s hottest rap stars called ‘Hip Kid Hop’. And the Winner Is tells the story of a young basketball player who learns the importance of winning and losing gracefully. He also penned a 1997 autobiography, I Make My Own Rules.

Expanding into the digital world, LL has also founded Boomdizzle Networks,which integrates patented collaborative technology with innovative digital marketing to change how music is recorded, distributed, and shared all over the world. LL also recently partnered with Rouse Social, a social media aggregate app that brings all your favorites in music, entertainment and sports to one place.

LL has always been an avid philanthropist involved in numerous causes including literacy for kids as well as music and arts programs in schools. Celebrating its 13th Anniversary this year, LL’s charity “Jump & Ball” – which takes place every August in his hometown of Queens, New York – aims to give back to his local community by offering a five-week athletic and team building program dedicated to bringing wholesome fun to young people.

LL COOL J, his wife, and family currently reside in both New York and Los Angeles.
LL Cool J