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LL COOL J can look back over his music career and feel gratified to have contributed some of the biggest and most memorable hits in rap history. That includes “I’m Bad,” “Mama Said Knock You Out,” “I’m That Type of Guy,” “Hey Lover” (featuring backing vocals by Boyz II Men), “Jingling Baby,” “Going Back to Cali” and “Love U Better.”
He also has the distinction of having recorded rap’s first love ballad hit, “I Need Love,” that reached No. 1 in the summer of 1987.
By age 16, LL was producing demos and diligently sending them to any record companies that he thought might be interested in what he had to offer. His rap skills combined with his energy and enthusiasm caught the attention of Def Jam Records. The company released a single titled “I Need a Beat” that became a hit, setting the stage for greater things to come.
Among the other albums LL scored with in addition to the ones cited are “Mr. Smith,” “Mama Said Knock You Out,” “G.O.A.T.” (an acronym for “Greatest Of All Time”), “10,” “Todd Smith” and “Exit 13.”
AS MUCH AS he loved rapping in the recording studio and on stage for his legion of fans, LL Cool J found himself increasingly attracted to acting, both on television and the big screen.
TV viewers enjoyed him for several seasons on the sitcom “In the House.” The show, which ran from 1995 to 1999, also featured Kim Wayans, Debbie Allen and Alfonso Ribeiro.
His film credits, for which he has received much praise, include “Deep Blue Sea,” “Any Given Sunday,” “Deliver Us From Eva” and “S.W.A.T.”
He said, “I know there are people watching me who know nothing about my music…I achieved basically all of the goals that I wanted to in music. My focus now is on acting. That’s where I’m putting the majority of my energy.”
LL has also written four books.
“I Make My Own Rules” was an autobiography. The second was aimed at children, titled “And the Winner Is…” Known for his well-taken-care-of body, LL then ventured into the fitness world with “LL Cool J’s Platinum Workout.” The fourth book was “LL Cool J (Hip-Hop Stars)” for which one of his collaborators was Chuck D from the socially conscious rap group Public Enemy.
In addition, he has a record label and social networking website called Boomdizzle.com.
The key to achieving so much already with so much more to come?
There are actually several keys, but one of them involves facing fear.
“When you move past your fear and go after your dreams wholeheartedly, you become free,” he said.
That freedom includes putting to use every God-given talent, of which LL Cool J has become a master.
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