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LL Cool J: Home

LL Cool J

Def Jam Records chose a teenager as their face when ushering in Hip-hop's second wave, and 17-year old LL Cool J made an unforgettable impression. He delivered both hardcore raps and sexy love songs with swagger still heard in hip-hop today.

Born James Todd Smith in Bay Shore, NY, LL Cool J has always had his sights set on rock & roll. LL was only 17 in 1985 when he recorded “Rock The Bells,” which included the following couplet: “It ain’t the glory days with Bruce Springsteen / I’m not a virgin so I know I’ll make Madonna scream.” A year earlier, LL had made his debut on Def Jam, which was also the debut of the label itself. His first two singles – “I Need A Beat” followed by “I Want You” – sketched out the two main gears of his career: testosterone-maddened battle raps and tender, sexy love songs. More at


LL Cool J lyric notebook       LL Cool J live photo      Press release on LL Cool J      Live photo LL Cool J

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YouTube Performances

Spotify Playlist

YouTube Interviews

Archival Resources

All archival materials related to LL Cool J can be found here.

Promo photo LL Cool J

LL Cool J promo photo

Promo photo LL Cool J
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Rock Hall Performances

Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum | Library and Archives
2809 Woodland Avenue | Cleveland, OH 44115 | 216.515.1956 |