Rapping is like food for kids who grew up in Queens, New York, they just can’t do without it. Most kids who are raised in the neighbourhood are likely to venture into the entertainment industry, especially music, and the rap genre to be precise. LL Cool J caught the bug at a very early stage in his life and today, he has established his credentials as an accomplished rapper, actor, author as well as in other business ventures.
The multitalented star was already rapping by the time he turned 9 and at the age of 16, he was creating demo tapes with the hip-hop group The Treacherous Three credited as his early inspiration. Currently, the rapper has 13 studio albums and two greatest hits compilations under his belt. VH1 named him on their “100 Greatest Artists Of All Time” in 2010.
Additionally, rapping is not his only forte as the acclaimed rapper has LL Cool J has appeared in films like In Too Deep, Any Given Sunday, S.W.A.T., Mindhunters, to mention a few. One of his remarkable current roles is as NCIS Special Agent Sam Hanna, on the CBS crime drama television series NCIS: Los Angeles.
Brief Bio, Age
The rapper was born as James Todd Smith on January 14, 1968, but later adopted his professional moniker – LL Cool J which stands for Ladies Love Cool James. While his place of birth was in Bay Shore, New York, when his parents – Ondrea Griffeth and James Louis Smith, Jr. divorced, he was raised by his grandparents in Queens where the rap genre is the order of the day.
When he showed interest in rapping at the age of 9, his grandfather encouraged him by buying instruments for him to work with down in their basement. In 1984, at 16, Cool J was already creating demo tapes at home. Thanks to his grandfather, Cool J had two turntables, an audio mixer and an amplifier at his disposal. Using the mixer, LL Cool J developed his own demos and sent them to record companies including Def Jam with the hope of landing a deal.
Consequently, he was signed by Def Jam after which his first official record, the 12-inch single I Need a Beat was released in 1984. The debut single was a commercial success at the time, selling more than 100,000 copies. Both Def Jam as a label and LL Cool J as a rapper benefited from its success. His next offering, Radio, released in 1985 was a bigger success with more than 1.5 million copies sold. The album entered top music charts and remained there for weeks, putting Cool J on the list of the first hip-hop artists to achieve mainstream success.
The rapper, once again, made history with his sophomore album Bigger and Deffer in 1987. The album ranks as his biggest-selling career album, having sold over three million copies just in the US. He continued to churn out more albums while dabbling into other ventures like acting. His albums to date include: 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. (2000) 10 (2002) The DEFinition (2004) Todd Smith (2006) Exit 13 (2008) Authentic (2013). LL Cool J left Def Records after his 2008 album and started a record label called Boomdizzle which doubled as a social networking site where budding artists can upload their music for users to rate.
Some of his film credits include Toys (1992), Any Given Sunday (1999), Charlie’s Angels (2000), S.W.A.T. (2003), Mindhunters, (2004) among others.
He has won various prestigious awards like MTV Video Music Award, Blockbuster Entertainment Award and Teen Choice Award for his musical and acting prowess respectively.
LL Cool J’s Family: Wife, Kids
Admittedly, LL Cool J is not just good at entertaining people but also holds his ground as a loving husband and a doting father. He has been married to Simone Smith since 1995 and they are blessed with four children – Nina Simone Smith, Samaria Leah Wisdom Smith, Najee Laurent Todd Eugene Smith and Italia Anita Maria Smith.
LL Cool J was devastated when in 2004, his wife was diagnosed with bone cancer. Fortunately, she recovered from it.
What’s LL Cool J’s Net Worth?
As successful as his Hollywood career, the rapper, actor, author and entrepreneur has a massive fortune to show for it. His last estimated net worth is a whopping $100 Million. The sum is likely to increase in the future considering that the rapper is still active in his career path.
LL Cool J: Height, Body Measurements
The entertainer has a strong body build with a height of 1.87 M. In 2012, he handed a burglar he caught at his house to the police after reportedly breaking his nose and jaw in a fight that ensued between them.