LL Cool J Has Been Nominated For The Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame
A foundational figure in Hip-Hop history is eligible for nomination into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, a milestone reached in past years by Beastie Boys, Grandmaster Flash and The Furious Five, N.W.A., Public Enemy, Run-D.M.C. and Tupac Shakur. This year, LL Cool J is among the list of nominees for the class of 2019. Only 15 names were put forth by the nomination committee and Uncle L is notably the only Rap artist in the class, a fact exemplary of his standalone achievements in music history.
With 1985’s Radio, the Queens, New York-bred MC launched into a string of Platinum- (or better) selling LPs. Ladies Love Cool James is a two-time Grammy Award-winner, taking home Best Rap Solo Performance gold for “Mama Said Knock You Out” in 1992 and “Hey Lover” in 1997. Beyond award shows, LL’s contributions to changing the trajectory of what Rap would become is indelible. He is, by and large, considered to be the first superstar rapper. The original G.O.A.T. started making waves in his career as a teenager, when he demanded the attention of Def Jam Records co-founders Rick Rubin and Russell Simmons in a studio session. It resulted in 1984’s “I Need a Beat” and LL went on to sell half-a-million albums within the first few months of Radio‘s release. 1987’s Bigger and Deffer, home to “I’m Bad” and “I Need Love”—arguably the earliest example of a hardcore rapper topping charts by showing off a romantic, vulnerable side—outsold its predecessor and further cemented James Todd Smith’s place in recording history.
Walking with a Panther closed out the 1980s and, with 1990’s Mama Said Knock You Out, LL Cool J forged success for another decade. He also used this era to tackle MCs in battles, famously taking on Kool Moe Dee, Ice-T and Canibus. He showcased his willingness to adapt to different musical trends, using 1995’s double-platinum Mr. Smith to collab with R&B artists. By the time he released 1997’s platinum-selling Phenomenon, he had successfully launched a Hollywood career that continues through today. In addition to the 13 solo albums under his belt, he’s an Emmy-nominated actor and the winner of several NAACP Image Awards. In January 2018, he reached yet another milestone: he turned 50.
This is not the first time LL Cool J has been nominated for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. He was previously nominated for the classes of 2010, 2011, 2014 and 2018. Fans have the opportunity to make this year the one that sticks, by voting for him. Other nominees in his class include Janet Jackson, Kraftwerk, Rage Against The Machine, Rufus featuring Chaka Khan and more.