LL Cool J was born to James and Ondrea Smith in Long Island, New York, and was christened as James Todd Smith. Todd’s interest in hip-hop music began when he was just nine. Two years later, he was already composing songs on a DJ system his grandfather had gifted him.
In 1984, at the age of 16, Todd met Rick Rubin, a student of New York University. Rubin was impressed by Todd’s music and both of them created a single, ‘I Need a Beat’.
In 1991, LL Cool J won an ‘MTV Video Music Award’ for his hit track ‘Mama Said Knock You Out’ in the category ‘Best Rap Video’.
LL Cool J won his first Grammy award in the category ‘Best Rap Solo Performance’ in 1992 for his song ‘Mama Said Knock You Out’.
LL Cool J married Simone Smith in 1995 and fathered four children with her. Simone was diagnosed with bone cancer in 2004, but eventually recovered.
In 1997, he won his second Grammy, again in the same category of ‘Best Rap Solo Performance’ for the song ‘Hey Lover’ from the album ‘Mr. Smith’.