|LL Cool J|
Are rappers really able to “freestyle” or improvise? That was a question from a friend last week. I answered most definitely, they can and they do. I gave him a few examples of some of the more well known rappers who broke into the business because of their ability to win “battle-rap contests. However, the rapper who came to mind first was LL Cool J. His rap career has spanned over twenty-five years with the end result being great success in hip-hop, television and movies. I wonder if he ever dreamed when he started that he would gain the notoriety he has attained. Nevertheless, LL Cool J is now a household name. As you can tell I have a great deal of respect for LL Cool J as an artist. But I didn’t always feel this way. In fact, when LL Cool J was ascending the hip hop ladder I was studying music in college. At that time most of my fellow classmates and fellow musicians dismissed rap music as a fluke that would never last. Once again my father, a jazz musician of many years, helped me to realize the art and poetry at work in rap music. My dad really did appreciate LL Cool J’s music greatly. At this stage of his career, because of many successful entertainment projects, in my family amazingly LL Cool J has three generations of fans. (My mother and daughter are big fans along with me) As with any successful twenty-five year musical career, awards follow stellar work. LL Cool J has accumulated many awards and in October 2011 he received BET’s “I am Hip Hop Award” for his contributions to hip hop culture. Yes, a sort of lifetime achievement award and I can’t think of a better performer to receive an award like that. Another memorable moment came last week at the Grammy nomination show. LL Cool J was selected as the host, but he also performed a special dedication to the hip hop song “The Message” along with Grandmaster Flash, Scorpio, Melle Mel, Common and Lupe Fiasco. As LL Cool J said, “it (The Message) launched a genre. LL Cool J truly is a multi-platinum recording artist worthy of all the accolades. It seems like he’s not slowing down at all. This week I included a video of my favorite LL Cool J song. Enjoy!