Today, Jan. 14, is the 51st birthday of LL Cool J, a legendary Queens, NY-bred rapper who undeniably has one of the most storied careers in hip-hop history.

Born in James Todd Smith in 1968 on Long Island, New York, Ladies Love Cool James burst on the rap scene in the mid-1980s. His first album, Radio, released in 1985 through Def Jam, went platinum and was instrumental in the label's rise to prominence.

A few years after he mader history by becoming the first rapper to appear on American Banstand LL enjoyed his greatest single success with 1991's "Mama Said Knock You Out" from the album of the same name, and he didn't stop there. His music career continued to thrive with more platinum records, two Grammy awards and countless other accolades. As if having one of the best music careers ever wasn't enough, Mr. Smith went on to conquer the worlds of acting, fashion, books and the internet. You may know LL as the recurring host of The Grammys and the host of Spike's Lip Sync Battle.

LL shocked many when he said he was retiring from the rap world in early 2016, but then promptly took back the claim and said he was actually planning to drop a new album.

Most recently, the "Hey Lover" MC was nominated for the 2019 Rock & Roll Hall of Fame class and is reportedly teaming up with fellow legend Ice Cube in hopes to get involved in the sports media world. Apparently, the two are partnering with a group of investors looking to place a bid on 22 regional sports channels

With over 20 years in the game and still going strong, LL's career proves that hip-hop definitely isn't just a young man's sport.

Happy Birthday, LL Cool J!

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