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LL Cool J Biography

Home > Music > L > LL Cool J > Biography

Birth Name: James Todd Smith
Born: 1968/01/14
Birth Place: St. Albans, Queens, New York, U.S.
Years Active: 1983–present
Genres: Hip Hop

James Todd Smith (born January 14, 1968), better known as LL Cool J, is an American rapper and actor. "LL Cool J" stands for "Ladies Love Cool James."

He is known for romantic ballads such as "I Need Love", "Around the Way Girl" and "Hey Lover" as well as pioneering hip-hop such as "I Can't Live Without My Radio", "I'm Bad", "The Boomin' System", and "Mama Said Knock You Out". He has also appeared in several films. He has released twelve studio albums and a greatest hits compilation, with his latest album being 2008's "Exit 13," the last for his record deal with Def Jam Recordings.

His 1985 debut album "Radio" was released to critical acclaim, as LL was one of the first rappers to use conventional song structure to make pop oriented rap. "I Can't Live Without My Radio" and "Rock the Bells" were singles that helped the album go platinum with 1,500,000 sales. In 1987, he released "Bigger and Deffer" which included "I Need Love". The song reached #1 on the R&B/Hip Hop charts, #14 on the Billboard Hot 100 charts, and #8 in the UK Singles Chart. The single won a Soul Train Music Award for Best Rap - Single in 1987. The album sold about 2,300,000 copies.

LL Cool J's third album was 1989's "Walking with a Panther." The album featured the singles "Going Back to Cali", "I'm That Type of Guy", "Jingling Baby", and "Big Ole Butt" and went platinum with 1,100,000 sales. After acting in "The Hard Way" and "Toys," he released "14 Shots to the Dome." The album went gold.

He released "Mr. Smith" in 1995, which went on to sell over two million copies. In 1997, he released the album platinum selling "Phenomenon." In 2000, he released the album "G.O.A.T.," which stood for the "greatest of all time." It debuted at number one on the Billboard album charts, and went platinum. LL Cool J's next album "10" from 2002, was his 9th studio release and again reached platinum status.

LL Cool J's 10th album "The DEFinition" was released on August 31, 2004. The album debuted at #4 on the Billboard charts. LL Cool J's 11th album, "Todd Smith," was released on April 11, 2006. The album premiered on the Billboard charts at #6 and has been certified gold by the RIAA. "Exit 13" is the 12th and final album on LL Cool J's record deal with Def Jam Recordings, a deal that had lasted for more than twenty years. It was released on September 9, 2008.