LL Cool J Tickets for Sale

Hip-hop is notorious for short-lived careers, but LL Cool J is the inevitable exception that proves the rule. Releasing his first hit, "I Can't Live Without My Radio," in 1985 when he was just 17 years old, LL initially was a hard-hitting, street-wise b-boy with spare beats and ballistic rhymes. He quickly developed an alternate style, a romantic -- and occasionally sappy -- lover's rap epitomized by his mainstream breakthrough single, "I Need Love." LL's first two albums, Radio and Bigger and Deffer, made him a star, but he strived for pop stardom a little too much on 1989's Walking With a Panther. By 1990, his audience had declined somewhat, since his ballads and party raps were the opposite of the chaotic, edgy political hip-hop of Public Enemy or the gangsta rap of N.W.A., but he shot back to the top of the charts with Mama Said Knock You Out, which established him as one of hip-hop's genuine superstars. By the mid-'90s, he had starred in his own television sitcom, In the House, appeared in several films, and had racked up two of his biggest singles with "Hey Lover" and "Doin' It." In short, he had proven that rappers could have long-term careers.

James Todd Smith (born January 14, 1968) is an American hip hop artist better known by his stage name, LL Cool J (an abbreviation of "Ladies Love Cool James"). He is best known for romantic ballads like "I Need Love" as well as hardcore rap like "I Can't Live Without My Radio". He has also appeared in several films.

LL Cool J was born and grew up in Queens, New York City. He signed to Def Jam in 1984 and released the underground hit "I Need a Beat" (see 1984 in music). The song was the first hit record for Def Jam, and its success persuaded him to drop out of school to record Radio (1985 in music). The album was released to critical acclaim, as LL Cool J 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 successful and helped the album go platinum. In 1987, he released Bigger and Deffer (see 1987 in music). The ballad "I Need Love" was one of the first pop-rap songs to be a hit. Critics scoffed at his new direction, though, and by the release of Walking with a Panther (1989 in music), he was booed offstage at the Apollo Theater.
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Eager to regain his hardcore audience, he released Mama Said Knock You Out, easily the hardest record he had made, which re-established his reputation in the hip hop community. After acting in The Hard Way and Toys, he released 14 Shots to the Dome to muted sales and mixed reviews. He starred in In the House, an NBC sitcom, before releasing Mr. Smith (1995 in music), a double platinum hit. Its singles, "Doin' It" and "Loungin", were two of the biggest songs in 1996 and both songs' music videos were hugely successful on MTV. Another of the album's singles, "Hey Lover", featured Boyz II Men singing the chorus and eventually became one the first rap music videos to air on American VH1. In 1996, LL also helped to launch a clothing line named FUBU; the name is an acronym for "For Us, By Us", meaning that the clothes were made for and marketed to black people by a black person.

His next album was 10 from 2002 (2002 in music). It included the popular singles "Paradise" (featuring Amerie), "Luv U Better", and the massive 2003 Jennifer Lopez duet, "All I Have".

With the help of producer Timbaland he unleashed the tough DEFinition album in 2004 as his James Todd Smith clothing line was hitting the malls. His biggest hit so far from the album is the song "Headsprung".

With all this success, L.L. still remains a family man, living with his wife Simone and four children in New York and Los Angeles. He is a rap ambassador, humanitarian (he created Camp Cool J Foundation for underprivileged children), entrepreneur (he founded his own label, Rock the Bells), and established artist (his list of awards includes the prestigious MTV Video Vanguard, which honors lifetime achievement).

With his own line of footwear called Najee hitting stores, another record label on the way, and his new album X making waves with the first single, "Luv U Better," L.L. Cool J has evolved from a 16-year-old rapper who got a lucky break to a full-fledged icon.
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