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LL Cool J

llcoolj_8LL Cool J was born James Todd Smith. The rap name apparently means “Ladies Love Cool James”.

He was only 16 when he released his first single, I Need A Beat. A year later he had the first hit on the fledgling Def Jam label.

The sound he and producer Rick Rubin found on hits such as I Can’t Live Without My RadioThat’s A Lie and Rock The Bells was harder and leaner than hip-hop had ever been before.