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LL Cool J Prepping For His First Arena Tour In 30 Years! All You Need To Know About Him and His Net Worth

LL COOL J is in the news for taking the helm as host for the "Rock the Bells" festival right in his hometown of Queens, New York.
Cover Image Source: Paras Griffin/Getty Images
Cover Image Source: Paras Griffin/Getty Images

James Todd Smith, the American rapper, songwriter, record producer, and actor, who goes by the stage name LL Cool J (Ladies Love Cool James) is among the early rappers who made it big in the industry, sharing the spotlight with other new school hip-hop acts like Beastie Boys and Run-DMC.

LL COOL J is in the news for taking the helm as host for the "Rock the Bells" festival right in his hometown of Queens, New York. This festival is set to showcase a lineup of iconic hip-hop artists, featuring big names like Queen Latifah, Run DMC, Ludacris, Redman, Method Man, De La Soul, and more.

He is also gearing up for his first arena tour in 30 years, according to CBS News. Speaking to CBS Mornings, LL COOL J shared that for him, hip-hop symbolizes empowerment. He said, "It carried a message of 'I am somebody,' and that was truly empowering."


The rapper and actor has a net worth of $120 million, and he is recognized as one of the pioneers of hip-hop to successfully transition into the mainstream according to Celebrity Net Worth.

Image Source: Emma McIntyre/Getty Images
Image Source: Emma McIntyre/Getty Images

LL Cool J, born James Todd Smith on January 14, 1968 in Bay Shore, New York, had a troubled childhood. When he was just four-year-old, he witnessed the sight of his mother and grandmother being shot at by his father during a dispute related to their divorce. His mother's subsequent partner, Roscoe Granger, also abused Cool frequently. Despite these times, LL Cool J found solace in music, performing in his church choir and starting to rap at age nine.

Encouraged by his grandfather, a jazz saxophonist, he received his first mixing table at 16 and a Korg drum machine, thanks to his mother's support.

Image Source:  Emma McIntyre/Getty Images
Image Source: Emma McIntyre/Getty Images

Smith started his songwriting journey by sending demos to record labels. Def Jam Recordings loved his work and released his first record as L L Cool J. His hit "I Need a Beat" sold 100,000 copies in 1984, leading him to leave high school for his debut album.

"Radio" achieved platinum status with 1,500,000 sales, reshaping rap for a wider audience. He followed up with "Bigger and Deffer" in 1987, introducing pop-rap with "I Need Love." "Walking with a Panther" also reached platinum in 1989, coinciding with West Coast hip-hop. In 1990, "Mama Said Knock You Out" embraced a grittier style.

With "Mr. Smith" (1995), he earned a Grammy and the album sold 2 million copies. "Phenomenon" and "G.O.A.T" (2000) went platinum, topping the Billboard charts. LL Cool J hosted the Grammys from 2012-2016. In 2019, he returned to Def Jam for new music.

Image Source:  Jon Kopaloff/Getty Images
Image Source: Jon Kopaloff/Getty Images

In addition to his thriving music career, LL Cool J has made his mark in the world of acting. He began with a minor role in the high school football film "Wildcats" and later portrayed Captain Patric Zevo in "Toys" (1992). His acting prowess extended to television, where he headlined his own sitcom "In the House" (1995-1998), playing a former football star turned landlord.

LL Cool J's acting journey continued with appearances in films like "Halloween H20" (1998), "Deliver Us from Eva," "S.W.A.T," and "Mindhunters." Since 2009, he's taken on a prominent role as NCIS Special Agent Sam Hanna in the CBS series "NCIS: Los Angeles." Broadening his hosting skills, LL Cool J has been at the helm of the popular celebrity competition "Lip Sync Battle" since April 2015. 

Image Source: Kevin Winter/Getty Images
Image Source: Kevin Winter/Getty Images

He made $350,000 per episode. The show has finally ended after a long run for 14 years.

James Todd Smith holds a deep connection to his hometown of New York. Recently, he graced an open house event at 120 West 127th St., a skillfully refurbished Harlem brownstone with a listing price of $3.99 million. Accompanying him was his daughter Italia Smith, who works as a broker at Judy Etman Realty, according to the NY Post.

Spanning an impressive 4,250 square feet, this brownstone is divided into two distinct sections: a duplex unit and a triplex. The duplex section boasts two bedrooms, elegant Brazilian cherry wood flooring, a private backyard retreat, and even a wine cellar.