LL Cool J is an American rapper, record producer, actor, and Grammy-winning artist. He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2021 and he has made a name for himself in films. LL, whose real name is James Todd Smith, has had several hit songs over the years. It is not uncommon for rappers to have a stage name, however, LL’s name is particularly unique.
The name he chose and the reason he chose to keep it has a history.
What does LL stand for?
LL stands for “Ladies Love” LL Cool J. His friend Mikey D came up with the term. LL, however, did not want to go with this name initially. According to the outlet, the rapper wanted to call himself J-Ski before settling on LL Cool J. The rapper revealed more about the same in his VHS1 documentary Planet Rock: The Story of Hip Hop and the Crack Generation. LL stated he did not want to be associated with narcotics, where at the time the rappers were using the terms “ski” and “blow” to connect themselves with drugs.
Since he was very young, LL Cool J had been performing. However, it wasn’t until he was sixteen that he decided to use his stage name. He decided to go with the same as “Ladies Love” would have been too long.
How did he come up with the name?
When asked about how he came up with the name, he said that he was walking down the street one day with his friend and the rapper Playboy Mikey D. He just told his friend that he wanted a cool name. That’s when they came with “Ladies Love Cool J”. However, he decided to shorten it, since it would look ridiculous and too long on a vinyl record.
He has 2.7 million followers on Instagram and is quite active on social media. He regularly posts updates about his life to his followers on social media as well as responses to some of the posts. His current role is in New NCIS: LA and he has appeared in a number of shows before. When LL was 16, he started making mixtapes influenced by artists such as The Treacherous Three.
In 1984, he released his first single, I Need a Beat, under the Def Jam label. He was among the first hip-hop artists to achieve mainstream success, alongside Run DMC and Kurtis Blow. Over the years he has released 13 albums. VH1 named him one of the 100 greatest artists of all time in 2010.