LL Cool J. biography
Born James Todd Smith on January 14, 1968, in New York, LL Cool J (Ladies Love Cool James) was first discovered as a teen and was immediately signed to Def Jam records in 1984. After dropping out of school at an early age, LL Cool J released his debut album Radio (1985), which sold over one million copies on behalf of the two well-received singles "Rocks the Bells" and "I Can't Live Without My Radio." He then made his first film cameo in the music drama Krush Groove (1985) and his debut film role in the sport comedy Wildcats (1986).
Showing off his sensitive side through lyrics, LL dropped his follow-up album Bigger and Deffer (1987) alongside the hit single "I Need Love." The album debuted at the top of the pop and rap charts, followed by his next album Walking with a Panther (1989), which had similar chart success.
LL officially became a rap sensation when he released his fourth album Mama Said Knock You Out (1990), grabbing the attention of critics and fans of all ages with his street-like mentality behind his ballads. The lead single off the album, "Mama Said Knock You Out," resulted in LL's first Grammy Award for Best Rap Solo Performance.
In 1995, LL utilized his sex appeal in his follow-up album Mr. Smith and garnished even more popularity with the slow-jam single "Hey Lover" for which he won a Grammy for Best Rap Solo Performance.
During this time, LL began focusing more on his acting career with an appearance in the comedy B.A.P.S (1997) alongside Halle Berry, a supporting role in the horror film Halloween H20: 20 Years Later (1998) with Jamie Lee Curtis and the sci-fi thriller Deep Blue Sea (1999). Critics finally recognized LL as a legit actor when he landed a more substantial role in the sport drama Any Given Sunday (1999) amidst some of Hollywood's most prominent actors, including Al Pacino, Cameron Diaz, Dennis Quaid and Jamie Foxx.
LL then returned to music with the release of G.O.A.T. (2000), which reached No. 1 on the Billboard chart, before returning to the big screen alongside Jada Pinkett Smith in the family drama Kingdom Come (2001) and with Chris Klein in the action sci-fi film Rollerball (2002). Despite having a busy acting schedule, LL found time to release his next album 10 (2003) and later dropped The DEFinition in 2004.
Also during this time, LL landed a role opposite Gabrielle Union in the romantic comedy Deliver Us From Eva (2003) prior to starring in the blockbuster hit S.W.A.T. (2003) alongside Colin Farrell and Samuel L. Jackson. A string of films soon followed, including the crime thriller Mindhunters (2005) and the romantic comedy Last Holiday (2006) opposite Queen Latifah, before landing a lead role in the crime drama series NCIS: Los Angeles (2009) alongside Chris O'Donnell.
Aside from music and acting, LL authored his autobiography I Make My Own Rules (1997), the children's book And The Winner Is (2002) and the fitness book LL Cool J's Platinum Workout: Sculpt Your Best Body Ever with Hollywood's Fittest Star (2006). He also created the clothing line FUBU in 1996, and was signed by Sears to design and distribute an inexpensive clothing line for the average family.