James Todd Smith was born in January, 1968 and is from Bay Shore, NY. He is better known by his professional name LL Cool J which is an abbreviation for Ladies Love Cool James.
His parents are Ondrea and James Smith. Cool J is married to Simone I. Johnson and they have four children. One is a son named Najee, and daughters Italia, Samaria, and Nina Simone.
He got hooked on Hip Hop Music and Rap at a young age. By 11 he was writing lyrics and attempting to record his own stuff with some DJ equipment his grandmother gave to him. There were two main influences on his work while he was attempting to create his own style of rap. They were Run-DMC and the legendary Rick James.
His album Radio was released in 1985 and went platinum with 1.5 million sales. One of my favorite songs on it is “I Can’t Live Without my Radio.” His second album Bigger and Deffer was released in 1987 and went platinum with 2.3 million copies. One of my favorite songs on it is “I Need Love.” During the course of his recording career he has released 12 albums over 23 years.
As if that isn’t enough, he did work for the Hip-Hop sportswear line TROOP in the mid 90s and launched a popular urban apparel line called Todd Smith Clothing in 2008.
LL Cool J has written four books one of which is an autobiography titled I Make My Own Rules.
He also stars as special agent Sam Hanna in the crime drama television series NCIS: Los Angeles. He also has appeared in Charlie Angels, Rollerball, House, 30 Rock and Sesame Street.
LL Cool J was the host of the 2012 Grammy Awards. He is one of the best hosts the show has ever had. Since Whitney Houston’s death came quite suddenly there was a discussion on ways to honor her passing.
One of the decisions was for LL Cool J to lead the audience in a prayer for Whitney at the beginning of the show. Neil Portnow president of the Recording Academy which stages the Grammy show gave this insight.
He said that in discussions with Cool J they gave him the option to address the singer’s death as he saw fit. He replied that what he would do if it was in his house would be to say a prayer. Portnow said “if that’s what you would do and that’s the words that would come out of your mouth, no need to write that, just do it from your Heart.”
And so this is the prayer Cool J developed from his thoughts which he put down on some note paper
“Heavenly Father, we thank you for sharing our sister Whitney with us. Today our thoughts are with her mother, her daughter and all of her loved ones. And although she is gone too soon, we remain truly blessed to have been touched by her beautiful spirit, and to have the legacy of her music to cherish and share forever. Amen.”
As he recited the prayer many in the audience had their heads lowered and there was silence and reverence in the room. When the show was over I thought to myself the best performance of the night was not any of the songs that were sung but rather it was Cool J’s reciting the Prayer with class and dignity in Whitney’s honor.