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Monday's Connector: LL Cool J

June 3rd, 2010
04:41 PM ET

American LL Cool J has been one of the most successful artists that has been able to straddle both the music landscape as well as Hollywood.

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caption="LL Cool J is your Connector of the Day."]

The 42-year-old rapper whose real name is James Todd Smith is today known solely as LL Cool J - which stands for ladies love cool James.

LL Cool J grew up in Queens, New York and began rapping from the age of nine and sang with his church choir even earlier.

At the age of 16, LL Cool J purchased a mixing table and began producing and recording his own series of rap songs.

After he sent you a number of his songs to recording companies, LL Cool J signed a deal with Def Jam records soon after.

His first single sold over 100,000 copies.

Nearly 25 years later, LL Cool J has recorded over ten albums, many of which have gone platinum.

But, while LL Cool J has achieved fame because of his music career, he has also been able to carve a successful career for himself in film and television.

LL Cool J has been in a number of Hollywood blockbusters including "Swat," "Charlie's Angels," and "Rollerball." He also has a recurring role in the television series, "NCIS: Los Angeles."

Currently, LL Cool J is out with a new fitness book called "Platinum 360 Diet and Lifestyle."

soundoff (23 Responses)
  1. Jurgen R. Brul

    Hello James Todd Smith and CNN friends,

    I would like an answer from James Todd Smith on the following questions:
    – How will you inspire Ladies to Love Cool Men (LL Cool M) in 2010?
    – Why is your latest book called "Platinum 360 Diet and Lifestyle"?
    – What is your opinion on the Failed New York Car Bomb Attack in Times Square?
    – What can we expect from you in 2010?
    – How are you inspiring people all over the world to make our world a Better Healthier and Beautiful Place?

    I am awaiting James Todd Smith’s replies.

    Greetings,
    Jurgen R. Brul
    Hometown: Paramaribo
    Country: Suriname
    Latin-American

    June 3, 2010 at 5:22 pm | Reply
  2. Keira

    A very simple question: Yankees or Mets? 🙂

    If you had your druthers, who would be the one actor and actress that you'd like to collaborate with?

    Thanks,

    Keira
    NY

    June 3, 2010 at 8:37 pm | Reply
  3. Damian

    Hi there,

    How would you feel about a recurring role on 30 Rock? Did you enjoy working with that cast?

    Thanks,
    Damian; Baltimore, MD.

    June 4, 2010 at 11:39 am | Reply
  4. My name is IFEDIASO

    Hi,

    I have been a great admirer and a stunch ally of Mr LL Cool J, He is a great American artiste, whose work has transcended across all border and regions of the world.

    I like his cool mien as a gentle rapper and his gut to do things in his own special way.

    Thanks
    Mr Ifediaso Kizito Ekenedilichukwu.

    June 4, 2010 at 11:54 am | Reply
  5. MamaBoats

    LLCoolJ,

    To be honest I have not seen any of the movies listed in the article but I have seen "The Last Holiday" which shows you as a sweet, gentle man and you and Queen Latifah were awesome together as a couple. Any chances that you will get back together again for another film? My husband and I both enjoy your acting and would prefer to see you without violence. You have a great face!!

    June 4, 2010 at 12:20 pm | Reply
  6. Charly

    I have one question: are you Going Back to Cali anytime soon?

    Charly

    Zurich, Switzerland

    June 4, 2010 at 12:29 pm | Reply
  7. Joice

    What programs and/or charities are you involved with? How do you give back? and what do you do to help young people?

    Lima Ohio

    June 4, 2010 at 1:08 pm | Reply
  8. Neal Kelley

    Hello LL,

    I want to tell you how much you are an inspiration to those left behind. I used to see you all the time in rochdale village, and to see where you came from to where you are now it tells me that anything is possible.. and not waste your life. I just wish that more people would put community centers and programs back into those areas. The kids today really need direction. Just wanted to give you Big Ups on your success. Keep going and never ever stop.

    Thanks
    Neal Kelley

    June 4, 2010 at 1:12 pm | Reply
  9. James

    Just got into watching NCIS LA, excellent show! I hear season 2 is on the cards but is there any talk of additional seasons after, or is it too early to tell? could you see yourself staying with the show if it was to run for a couple more seasons?

    James,
    France

    June 4, 2010 at 1:28 pm | Reply
  10. Misja Prins

    In your opinion what are the best 3 songs you have recorded over the years?

    Thanks
    Misja

    Amsterdam, Holland

    June 4, 2010 at 1:35 pm | Reply
  11. Miranda van Engelen

    Dear Mallika, my favorite 🙂

    Not really have a question .. or wanna party in Holland ??

    then let us know 😀

    can't talk about "i need love" .... to much memories 😛

    Greetings from Holland ... *big kiss* and regards to your family 🙂

    June 4, 2010 at 2:31 pm | Reply
  12. doctorsinn

    Can "true" rap music ever come back? like fashion will we see it again? will you be leading the way?

    June 4, 2010 at 3:02 pm | Reply
  13. ZeM

    I heard the prank interview with Eminem a couple years back & you guys said you'd make a track together.
    This would be phenomenal as both of you are 2 of the greatest of all time!

    Still both your albums dropped & there was no collaboration so I want to know if that will ever happen?

    June 4, 2010 at 3:17 pm | Reply
  14. Claire

    I was very impressed when you received the VMA MJ Video Vanguard Award and you had sheets of names of MCs to acknowledge. Whom would you say was your biggest inspiration or influence starting out?

    Also, any chance of a SWAT sequel? With Samel L, Colin and Michelle, you guys are a great crew!

    Thanks for great work on wax and onscreen since The Hard Way.

    Cheers!

    June 4, 2010 at 3:24 pm | Reply
  15. Kristen

    Hi LL Cool J,

    I'm a huge fan of your music and NCIS LA. You are a naturally smooth actor and seem like a cool guy to hang out with. My questions are simply:

    1. The chemistry with the cast of NCIS LA really seems to work well, is that the case in real life?

    2. There is no doubt that you have greatly influenced the rap music genre, what do you think of rap today? (Personally, I think it's not that great and find myself listening to my cds from the early 1990s).

    3. What is your favorite vacation spot in the world?

    Wishing you continued success in the future! 😀

    Kristen
    San Francisco, CA

    June 4, 2010 at 3:34 pm | Reply
  16. David

    LL,

    How old were you when you found out that the L's L'd you?

    – David
    Washington D.C.

    June 4, 2010 at 3:49 pm | Reply
  17. Nestor

    Hi cool j,i am from cameroon and a very big fan of ur music.do u have any plans 4 africa?

    -
    Sent on a phone using T9space.com

    June 4, 2010 at 9:13 pm | Reply
  18. ERICA-IRAQ

    HELLO LL COOL J,

    1. WHEN DID U FIRST REALIZE THAT U LOVED HIP HOP?
    2. HOW DO U FEEL THAT HIP HOP HAS CHANGED OVER THE YEARS?
    3. HOW HAVE U BEEN ABLE TO KEEP SUCH A HEALTHY MARRIAGE WITH ALL THE SUCCESS THAT U HAVE ACHEIVED OVER THE YEARS?

    June 7, 2010 at 6:08 am | Reply
  19. Thompson Gumbe

    Hi there,

    Any thoughts of bringing back the show "In the House" ?

    Thompson – Zimbabwean in South Africa

    June 7, 2010 at 6:13 am | Reply
  20. Lasbrey Okpo

    what is the connection between a musician and an author? i mean why did he leave music to writing?

    June 7, 2010 at 9:05 am | Reply
  21. Shalewa Bada

    Hello, I admire your versatility, how have you been able to make a successful cross over from music to acting, judging by the number of artistes who are not able to achieve success through both media?

    June 7, 2010 at 7:18 pm | Reply
  22. David Begum

    i like the voice of queen latifah, it has a mellow sounding stuff in it. "."

    September 14, 2010 at 7:15 am | Reply
  23. Bar Fridge

    i just thought that queen latifah is one of the best comedians out there, she is really funny .,`

    December 21, 2010 at 5:01 pm | Reply

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