LL Cool J

LL Cool J - Updated Mar 2023

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Updated On March 26, 2023

LL Cool J is a popular American rapper, singer, actor, and record producer. LL Cool J is known as a leading exponent of mid-1980s new-school rap and one of the few hip-hop stars of his era to sustain a successful recording career for more than a decade.

Early Life

On the 14th o January 1968, in Bay Shore, Islip, New York, the United States of America, LL Cool J was born. His birth name is James Todd Smith and he holds American nationality. As of 2022, he is 54 years old and believes in the Christian religion.

Similarly, he belongs to the African-American ethnicity and has a birth sign of Capricorn. He is the son of James Smith (father) and Ondrea (mother). He often shared that, he has very disturbed childhood days and at the age of four, he witnessed his mother and grandfather getting shot at by his father which led to his parent’s separation.

Moreover, his mother had a relationship with a physical therapist named ‘Roscoe.’ In his autobiography, he accused Roscoe of abusing him physically and psychologically. But, Roscoe has denied all the allegations.

LL Cool J

Caption: LL Cool J with his mother (Source: YouTube)


Coming toward his educational career, he completed his early education at Hillcrest High School (Queens). Later, he enrolled at Northeastern University but dropped out of his education to pursue a career in music.

Professional Career

From an age of 10 years old, LL Cool J started a rapper. His mother and his grandfather were also very supportive of his musical passion. In 1984, when he was age 16 years old, he met Rick Rubin, a student at New York University.

LL Cool J’s music impressed Rubin and both of them created a single, ‘I Need a Beat.’ The duo sent the single to an artist manager Russell Simmons who also liked it. Rubin and Simmons  established a record company– ‘Def Jam Recordings.’

Their record company launched LL Cool J’s first song, ‘I Need a Beat’, which sold more than 100,000 copies. Due to its success, he released his next album ‘Radio’ in the year 1985 which earned positive feedback for its powerful lyrics and sold more than 1.5 million copies.

In 1987, he released his next album ‘Bigger and Deffer’ and was a massive hit. It includes songs likes ‘I’m Bad,’ ‘I Need Love,’ and ‘Bristol Hotel.’ This album also reached the number 1 spot on Billboard’s R&B charts, spending 11 weeks on it and selling more than 3 million copies in the process.

In addition, his third album, ‘Walking with a Panther’ was released in 1989. Although the album was a commercial success, fans did not like the presence of so many ‘soft’ songs in the album.

In response to the fans’ criticism, he released his fourth studio album ‘Mama Said Knock You Out’ in 1990. This album had hard-hitting tracks, was high on energy, and is one of his biggest successes to date and sold over 2.7 million copies.

Other albums and songs

He establishes his own music label called ‘P.O.G.’, or ‘Power Of God’ in the year 1993. Moreover, he formed the music production company ‘Rock The Bells’ which worked with artists like ‘Amyth,’ ‘Smokeman,’ ‘Natice,’ etc.
In 1995, he released his sixth studio album ‘Mr. Smith,’ featuring the track ‘Hey Lover’ sold over 2 million copies. He released the album ‘All World: Greatest Hits,’ a collection of his best songs so far in the year 1996.
Similarly, he released his eighth studio album ‘G.O.A.T.’ in 2000 which debuted at number one on the Billboard album charts. Later, he released his next album ’10’ in 2002, which was his ninth studio (10th overall including his greatest hits compilation All World).
He did his last album with ‘Def Jam Recordings’ named ‘Exit 13’ (2008) which featured a host of other artists, such as ’50 Cent’, ‘Sheek Louch’, ‘Fat Joe’, ‘Ryan Leslie’ etc.
LL Cool J

Caption: LL Cool J performing in a concert (Source: Rolling Stone)

After the separation from ‘Def Jam Recordings’, he started a record label named; ‘Boomdizzl’ in 2008. In October 2012, he released a new single from Authentic Hip-Hop called ‘Ratchet.’ Later, he released his second single ‘Take It’ a collaboration with Joe and producers Trackmasters.
Later, he released his thirteenth studio album ‘Authentic’ in April 2013. In addition, he announced his retirement on social media in March 2016. He re-signed the Def Jam for future album releases in September 2019.
Recently, he canceled his performance at Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve With Ryan Seacrest 2022 after testing positive for COVID-19. Moreover, he hosted the 2022 iHeartRadio Music Awards on March 22, 2022.


Asides from his musical career, he is a well-known actor. He made his first appearance as a rapper in the movie Krush Groove. Halloween H20, In Too Deep, Any Given Sunday, Deep Blue Sea, S.W.A.T., Mindhunters, Last Holiday, and Edison are some of his other movie appearances.
Currently, he is playing  NCIS Special Agent Sam Hanna in the CBS crime drama television series NCIS: Los Angeles. In addition, he was also the host of Lip Sync Battle on Paramount Network.


LL Cool J

Caption: LL Cool J showing his Grammy Award (Source: GRAMMY.com)

As a singer and actor, he has collected a number of awards in his career. He has earned two Grammy Awards, two MTV Video Music Awards, four NAACP Image Awards, and three Soul Train Music Awards.
Moreover, he has been awarded a star on the Hollywood Walk Of Fame in 2016. He earned an Honorary Doctor of Arts, from Northeastern University, for his contributions to hip-hop culture. As an actor, he has been able to earn three NAACP Image Awards (2011, 2012, 2013, 2014), Blockbuster Entertainment Awards (2000), and Teen Choice Awards (2013).

LL Cool J – Net Worth 2023

Being an American hip-hop artist and giving several hit albums, he has earned a huge sum of money in his career. As of 2022, his net worth is estimated at around $120 million and his salary and income are still missing.

Relationship Status

Talking about his relationship status, LL Cool J married his wife Simone Smith in 1995. The couple met in 1987 and has four kids whose names are Najee Laurent Todd Eugene, Samaria Leah Wisdom, Nina Simone, and Italia Anita Maria Smith.

LL Cool J

Caption: LL Cool J with his wife (Source: Hollywood Life)

He has his own charitable foundation named ‘Jump & Ball’ which is based in his hometown of Queens, New York, and offers an athletic and team-building program for young people. In addition, he is involved in many charitable causes for literacy, music, and arts programs for kids and schools.

LL Cool J – Body Measurements

Coming towards his body stats, he stands 6 feet 2 inches tall and weighs around 96 kg. Moreover, he has black eyes with black hair color, and his body measurement measures 42-16-32 inches.  Similarly, he wears a shoe size of 11 US.

Social Media

On his Instagram page ‘@llcoolj’ there are 3 million followers. Likewise, there are over 7.2 million followers on his Facebook page and over 5 million followers on his Twitter page ‘@llcoolj.’ Similarly, there are over 628k subscribers on his self-titled Youtube channel.