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LL initially was a hard-hitting, streetwise 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." Born on January 14, 1968, as James Todd Smith in Bay Shore, Long Island, New York LL Cool J did not have an easy childhood.
He and his best friends came up with his stage name, LL Cool J – Ladies Love Cool James.
In 1984, at the age of 16, LL released his first single “I Need a Beat” at Def Jam Recordings, a fledgling label run by New York University students Russell Simmons and Rick Rubin.
LL's knack for making hip-hop as accessible as pop was one of his greatest talents, yet it was also a weakness, since it opened him up to accusations of him being a sellout.
Taken from the Less Than Zero soundtrack, 1988's "Goin' Back to Cali" walked the line with ease, but 1989's Walking With a Panther was not greeted warmly by most hip-hop fans.
The single was as popular in middle America as it was in the urban environs of his youth.
O' Donnell and LL Cool J play Navy investigators out to solve military-related crimes.
Projecting a tougher, more "street" persona, LL Cool J won over new fans with the title track.
The single was as popular in middle America as it was in the urban environs of his youth. S., starring Halle Berry and directed by Robert Townsend, and the 1998 horror flick Halloween H2O, with Jamie Lee Curtis.
Todd found a way to escape from the abuse, through hip-hop music.
At the age of 11, he was already writing lyrics and producing demos with a mixing table purchased by his grandfather.