James Todd Smith (born January 14, 1968) is an American hip hop artist better known by his stage name, LL Cool J (“Ladies Love Cool James”).
Born in Bay Shore, New York, and raised between St. Albans, New York and Hollis, New York in the borough of Queens. The only child of Ondrea (née Griffith) and James Smith, Jr. Smith is of both African American and Native American descent. He spent his youth singing in the church choir, participating in the Boy Scouts and delivering newspapers.
He is known for romantic ballads such as PlayI Need Love and PlayHey Lover as well as pioneering hip-hop such as PlayI Can’t Live Without My Radio, PlayI’m Bad, PlayThe Boomin’ System, PlayMama Said Knock You Out, and 4, 3, 2, 1. L has also appeared in several films. LL Cool J is one of a few hip-hop stars of his era to sustain a successful recording career for more than two decades. He has released 12 albums and a greatest hits compilation so far, with his next album, Exit 13, set to be released in September, 2008. The album will be the last for LL’s record deal with Def Jam Recordings, a deal which has lasted for over twenty two years, making it the longest single hip hop deal to date. He now resides in Manhasset, NY with his wife and four children.