L. L. Cool J. (1968—)

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L. L. Cool J. (1968—)

Calling himself the "mic' dominator, best of all time," L. L. (Ladies Love) Cool J. strutted onto the hip-hop scene with his debut album Radio in 1985. He was the first artist released under Def Jam's landmark six-figure distribution deal with Columbia Records and rose to prominence when his track "I Can't Live Without My Radio" featured in the movie Krush Groove (1985). L. L. Cool J. (born James Todd Smith) is credited with creating rap's first ballad, "I Need Love," a slow, sexy love song to that one special girl. Since then he has released further albums that continued his lyrical braggadocio and rap egotism: Bigger and Deffer (1987), Walking With a Panther (1989), Mama Said Knock You Out (1990), 14 Shots to the Dome (1993), Mr. Smith (1995), and Phenomenon (1997).

—Nathan Abrams

Further Reading:

Fernando, S. H., Jr. The New Beats: Exploring the Music Culture and Attitudes of Hip-Hop. Edinburgh, Payback Press, 1995.

Nelson, Havelock, and Michael A. Gonzales. Bring the Noise: A Guide to Rap Music and Hip-Hop Culture. New York, Harmony Books, 1991.