LL Cool J: A Career Timeline

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The Birth of Cool

 

At 16, James Todd Smith, better known as LL Cool J (aka Ladies Love Cool James) records a 12” demo of the single, “I Need A Beat,” in 1984 for Def Jam Records. The song goes on to sell 100,000 copies and leads to LL’s distribution deal with Def Jam and Columbia Records in 1985. (Photo: Def Jam Records)