Doin' It with LL

For LL Cool J, or Ladies Love Cool James, the man who made the terry cloth fishing hat into de rigueur streetwear, the hits just kept a-coming. From his breakout single "I Can't Live Without My Radio" in 1985, the first for Def Jam Records, to the double-platinum Mr. Smith ten years later, LL Cool J proved that a rapper's career could actually last longer than the lease on his Merc. His second record, the Spinal Tappishly named Bigger and Deffer, cemented his stardom.

With the single "I Need Love" in 1987, LL Cool J took rap to the masses and the top of the pop charts, and also showed you could play ballads for presidents and still keep your street cred. Well, sort of. Hard-core b-boys were none too thrilled with the "sell-out" success of LL's Walking with a Panther and let him know with boos at a concert at the Apollo Theater.

LL Cool J responded with tough gangsta raps on his next release, Mama Said Knock You Out, followed by his starring role in the NBC sitcom In The House. You may also know him by his character Billy in the film The Hard Way, or as Patrick Zevo in Toys. But LL's the real deal onstage, still doin' it and doin' it and doin' it well.

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John Anderson