This article sheds its spotlight on LL Cool J, the American rapper, record producer, actor, author, and entrepreneur. We take a look at his LL Cool J net worth, career, personal life and other interesting facts about him.
James Todd Smith, known professionally as LL Cool J (Ladies Love Cool James) was born on January 14, 1968. He is an American rapper, record producer, actor, author, and entrepreneur, who came into limelight with his hit single ‘I Need a Beat’. He had since the release of the single in 1984 gone to release 13 studio albums as well as been featured in numerous movies and TV shows.
He is a multiple award winner both for his music and movie roles and LL Cool J net worth is approximately $120 million.
Early and Personal Life
James Todd Smith who was born on January 14, 1968 in Bay Shore, New York, was born to Ondrea Griffith (Mother) and James Louis Smith, Jr (Father). He has been recorded saying that his growing up was rough having grown up in a middle class and Catholic household in Queens. He grew up with his grandparents having witnessed his father shoot his mother and grandfather when he was four. He would later find out that his mother was adopted by Eugene Griffith and Ellen Hightower while he was related biologically to the hall of fame boxer John Henry Lewis.
He started rapping when he was 9 having been influenced by the rap group The Treacherous Three. When he was 16, he started making demo tapes from his grandfather’s basement. His grandfather who was a jazz saxophonist encouraged him by buying him equipment worth $2,000. His mother as well used her tax refund to get him a Korg drum machine. By using the equipment he got from his grandfather, Smith was able to mix his own music to send to record companies in New York City, including Def Jam which he later signed with.
He has been credited saying that he settled for the name LL Cool J because it was unique and he didn’t want to associate with the cocaine culture that was prevalent at that time. He was signed to the record label Def Jam under the stage name where he produced his first single ‘I Need a Beat’ in 1984. In that same year, he also made his first professional debut concert performance at Manhattan Center High School. He recalled the experience as exhilarating and that it sealed his career choice for him. His debut single sold over 100,000 copies and it established his status as a rapper and his record label (Def Jam) as a force to be reckoned with.
LL Cool J Career
November 18, 1985, saw the release of LL Cool J’s first studio LP, Radio under the umbrella of Def Jam Recordings in the United States. It was released to positive reviews and commercial success for the rap and the production. The album sold over 500,000 copies in its first 5 months of release eventually going platinum by 1988. The breakthrough success of the single and the LP made LL Cool J one of the earliest hip-hop acts to achieve mainstream success.
His second album, Bigger and Deffer, was released in 1987. The album is one of his biggest-selling career albums having gone double platinum in the US alone.
Walking with a Panther, his third studio album was released in 1989. Despite it being a commercial success, the album was criticized for being too focused on love ballads as well as being commercial and materialistic. This made his fan base to drop drastically.
In 1990, LL released his fourth studio album, Mama Said Knock You Out. This album marked a turning point in his career proving to his critics that he has the ability to stay relevant in hip-hop despite his penchant for love ballads. The album which was produced by Marley Marl went double platinum and was his best selling album at that time.
He also won a Grammy Award for Best Rap Solo Performance for the title track in 1992.
Ever since his first album release, LL Cool J had a continuous career as well as commercial success with his music. He has produced in total, 13 studio albums as well as two song compilations of his greatest hits. His albums have gone double platinum as well as peaked on Billboard Hot 100. A significant portion of LL Cool J net worth is from his successful music career.
Apart from music, LL Cool J has also featured on the big screen as well. LL Cool J net worth has also be greatly impacted by his acting career. His first movie appearance was in Wildcats, a high school movie. In 1995, he launched his own television sitcom, In the House, in which he also acted in till 1998. From 1998 till 2000, he appeared in movies such as Rollerball, Deliver Us from Eva, S.W.A.T. as well as Mindhunters.
Awards and Recognition
LL Cool J has been recognized in different ways for his immense contribution to the growth of hip-hop as well as his acting prowess. He has been nominated nine times for Grammy Awards and he has won two. He has also been nominated for 19 other music awards from which he won 13 which include the Quincy Jones Award, Michael Jackson Video Vanguard Award as well as been inducted in the Long Island Music Hall of Fame.
For his acting, he has received awards such as Outstanding Actor in a Drama Series (NAACP Image Awards) as well as Favorite Supporting Actor – Action (Blockbuster Entertainment Award).
He has hosted the Grammy Awards 5 times, enstooled as Kwasi Achi-Bru, a chieftain of the Akan people in Abidjan, Ivory Coast, received a star on the Hollywood Walk Of Fame as well as the first hip hop artist to receive a Kennedy Center Honor.
LL Cool J Relationships and Personal Life
Smith met his partner, Simone in the late 1980s and they got married in 1995. Together, they have four children, a boy, and three girls.
LL Cool J Net worth
As of 2020, LL Cool J net worth is estimated at $120 million. This was amassed from his work as an actor as well as a rapper.
His salary on the NCIS show has also greatly contributed to this amount as it is reputed that he receives $350,000 Per Episode