Starting in rap as young as 13, James Todd Smith released demos with the financial support of his mother and as he became LL Cool J was quickly picked up by Def Jam. LL Cool J's success mirror that of the label as he sold 100,000 copies of I Need A Beat and quickly established himself with debut album Radio (1986) as well as his knockout live performances bare-chested and dripping with bling. His second album effort came in the form of 1987's conceptual Bigger And Deffer but 1989's Walking With Panther set alarm bells ringing that he had gone commercial. He clawed his reputation back with 1990's Mama Said Knock You Out, produced by Marley Marl, which earned him a Grammy Award and is his biggest selling album to date. With the hardcore-rap scene on the ascendancy, LL dabbled in gangster rap with 14 Shots To The Dome (1993), parodied himself in Mr Smith (1995), then surged back by collaborating with, strangely, Beavis and Butthead on UK Number 1 hit Ain't No Body - a version of the Chaka Khan tune. His resurgence was cemented with the UK top 10 single Phenomenon in 1997 from the album of the same name. Collaborations with hip hop's great and good followed including with Timbaland on 2004's The Definition and his final album on the Def Jam label 2008's Exit 13.

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Stations Featuring LL COOL J

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