A Dive Into Hip Hop: Starting with Hip Hop’s Pretty Boy

LL Cool J, better known as Ladies Love Cool J, also known as James Todd Smith is a pioneer of Hip Hop. Born in New York in 1968, he signed to Def Jam Records in 1984 and debuted with his single, “I Need A Beat” (pictured below)

Was He The First Rapper in Hip Hop ?

Though debuting as one of the youngest leaders of Hip Hop, Cool J wasn’t the first rapper in Hip Hop. Many can say that his influences were from the great emcee’s and deejay’s before him. His largest influence was The Treacherous Three. Cool J claims to have remember hearing them for the first time at the age of 10, just 6 years before his first debut.

His Impact : Hottest Hits

Some of his greatest hits consist of songs that sample past genres like jazz, funk, and rock.

The first song, featured to the right, is his infamous single Mama Said Knock You Out (1990).This song samples from James Brown’s “Fun,ky Drummer”. 

The second song (top left) is my personal favorite, and called “I Need Love”(1987) This true hip hop ballad truly embodied the rhythm and blues influences before it.

The third song (top right) “Around the Way Girl” (1990) has such a heavy jazz and funk intro to portray the funky rifts and cadences of Cool J’s flow. 

The fourth song (bottom left) Rock The Bells (1985) is such an iconic song: he literally is singing over beats made from bells. It features heavy drum beats and polyrhythmic sounds. 

The fifth song (bottom right) “I’m Bad” (1987) is one of his biggest hits and it features rock and funk beats. 

Styles of Cool J: What, or Who, He Represented

LL Cool J was a leader of style in the 80’s. His most known look was a bucket hat, chain, and a baggy jacket or pant to complete his style. Many of the artists during this time, (80’s-90’s) centered around this street wear look with baggy clothing and athleisure shoes. He represented the artists and unique styles of the times : starter jackets, adidas shell toe shoes, dookie rope chains, and bucket hats. 

How Did He Continue the Legacy of Hip Hop?

LL Cool J was influenced by the pioneers before him, like DJ Cool Herc, Grandmaster Flash, and Run DMC, but he also opened the doors for many influential rappers after him. Take Queen Latifah, Eminem, Jay Z: all of these artist credit LL Cool J as an inspiration to their raps and swag. 

What's your password?

Login to your account

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website.