Everyone from the 1980s and 90s will remember LL Cool J from his numerous radio hits that made him one of the greatest musicians of his time. With the full meaning of his name Ladies Love Cool James, the Queens-Rapper was able to sing about ladies with romantic songs like “I Need Love”, “Doin’ It” and “Hey Lover” and appeal to hardcore hip-hop fans with songs like “Rock The Bells” and “Going Back to Cali”.
Lately, LL Cool J could be better known as an actor and TV presenter. He played in numerous movies and TV series like “In Too Deep” (1999), “S.W.A.T.” (1999). (2003), “NCIS: Los Angeles” (2009 – today) and many others.
Read more about his biography, family, wife, children, wealth and sexual orientation.
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LL Cool J Biography
LL Cool J was born on 14 January 1968 in Long Island, New York as James Todd Smith to Ondrea Griffith and James Louis Smith, Jr. However, he was raised by his mother after she separated from her husband, who had shot her and her father during a confrontation.
A young LL Cool J. saw hip-hop as a way out of everything that was happening around him. He started rapping at the age of 9, and at 11 he was able to write down his lyrics. His grandfather, who was a jazz saxophonist, recognized his talents and bought him DJ equipment so he could create his own demo tapes.
He and his friends coined the name LL Cool J and began sending the demos to all the record companies in the city. The record came into the hands of Rick Rubin, who was still a student at New York University. Rubin loved what he heard and reached out to Cool J. The couple came into the studio and did “I Need a Beat”, which they sent to the then artist manager Russell Simmons. The song began with a series of events that led Rubin and Simmons to form Def Jam Recordings.
Def Jam signed LL Cool J among other great artists, mainly from the New York area, and released the song he created with Rubin as his debut track. The single was well-received throughout New York and sold more than 100,000 copies.
Cool J. dropped out of school almost immediately to concentrate on his music career. In 1985 he released his debut album “Radio” with great success. The album achieved mainstream success and made him one of the first hip-hop artists to do so. The album sold more than 1.5 million copies. In the same year, LL Cool J. made his acting debut in the film “Krush Groove”, which dealt with the beginnings of Def Jam Recordings.
In 1987 LL Cool J released his second album “Bigger and Deffer”. The album with the tracks “I’m Bad”, “I Need Love” and “Bristol Hotel” has eclipsed his previous work and proved to be his best-selling career album. The album sold more than 3 million copies and spent 11 weeks at the top of Billboard’s R&B charts.
After the success of his second album, especially the soft songs, LL Cool J decided to use this recipe for his third album “Walking with a Panther”. Although a commercial success, his fan base was obviously dissatisfied with the presence of too many “soft songs”.
He went back to his roots for his fourth album “Mama Said Knock You Out”, which was released in 1990. The title track earned him a Grammy Award for Best Rap Solo Performance for winning back his fans. Over two million copies of the album were sold. During this time, LL Cool J. continued his acting career, playing in the ABC sitcom “In the House” and the films “The Hard Way” (1991) and “Toys” (1992).
His next big musical success was his sixth album “Mr. Smith” with the single “Doin’ It” and “Hey Lover”. The latter earned him another Grammy Award in 1997 for the best rap solo performance. LL Cool J subsequently released seven more music projects, bringing the total to thirteen.
LL Cool J continues to appear in movies and TV series and has also had a good career as a TV presenter/host, hosting the Grammy Awards and the Lip Sync Battle show for several years.
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LL Cool J Net Worth
LL Cool J is estimated to have a net worth of approximately $100 million. He raised his fortune by selling album and concert tickets as well as salaries from his numerous hosting gigs and film/TV appearances. He is reported to receive $150,000 per episode for his work on NCIS: Los Angeles, which he joined in 2009.
Cool J. is also a self-employed entrepreneur. He created the popular 90’s clothing line FUBU and had a deal with Sears to create affordable clothing for families.
Family – Wife (Simone Smith), Kids
LL Cool J married his wife Simone Smith (née Johnson) in 1995. The couple has been together since their teens after they were introduced by their cousin, a friend of Cool J.. They now have four children: a son, Najee Laurent Todd Eugene Smith, and three daughters, Italia Anita Maria Smith, Nina Simone Smith, and Samaria Leah Wisdom Smith.
Simone is a jewelry designer, entrepreneur, and philanthropist. She was diagnosed with bone cancer in 2004 but has since recovered.
Is LL Cool J Gay?
LL Cool J is definitely not gay. However, he has been friendly about homosexuals in the past and said that he has no problem with homosexuals and how they decide to live their lives. He went on to repeat that he is heterosexual and loves his wife.