Today LL Cool J celebrates his 51st birthday!
James Todd Smith, known to the world as LL Cool J, is a hip-hop icon. His career has spanned three decades and produced over a dozen albums. The native of Hollis, Queens has been nominated for nine Grammys and won two and has numerous chart-topping songs to his credit.
Hip-Hop has a short memory, so it’s easy to forget just how much an artist has given us over time. So here are 15 LL Cool J songs everyone should hear in no particular order.
15. Hey Lover f/ Boyz II Men (1995)
The first single from his studio album “Mr. Smith,” “Hey Lover” won LL a Grammy for Best Rap Solo Performance. The track samples Michael Jackson’s “Lady of My Life” and was produced by the Trackmasters. LL offered up another rap ballad that would take over the charts and continue his image as the ladies man in Hip-Hop. There is no denying the influence he would have on hearts everywhere putting Boyz II Men as a feature. That’s just playing dirty LL.
14. Fatty Girl f/ Ludacris and Keith Murray (remix) (2001)
LL Cool J got together in with Ludacris and Keith Murray to make one of the most popular Hip-Hop/Dance tracks of 2001. This single was featured on FUBU’s The Good Life compilation album and the Fat Albert inspired funk from The Trackmasters helped immortalize the word “badonkadonk” in hip-hop’s lexicon.
13. Doin It f/ LeShaun (1996)
The second single from LL’s “Mr Smith” is still one of his most memorable songs. It was the first time we’d heard LL go back-and-forth with a woman on record and Brooklyn MC LeShaun matched him blow-for…um..blow. The chants of “Go Brooklyn” sprinkled over pieces of Grace Jones’s “My Jamaican Guy” and with a mix like that, LL was doin it well with this hit.