LL COOL J is one of hip-hop’s most iconic figures. With a career spanning over 30 years, the Queens emcee has laid down the foundation for what we know today as the prototype for the hip-hop superstar. Last month, LL COOL J received the highest honor for his contributions to music and popular culture as he was officially inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, receiving the Musical Excellence Award for his role in pioneering hip-hop music.
As he received his flowers, the Queens emcee donated some personal historical items to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Museum in Cleveland, Ohio, in return. Included in the relics was the emcee’s cherry red Audi 5000, from his sophomore album, Bigger and Deffer, the crown he wore on the cover of True magazine in 1995, and some of his most iconic outfits seen in his music videos.
Perhaps one of the most interesting entries to his Hall of Fame exhibit is the original lyrics he hand-wrote for his hit 1987 single, “I’m Bad,” that he found in the basement of his grandmother’s Queens home.
“Those are the lyrics to ‘I’m Bad,’” he explained. “That’s when I originally wrote it. I found it in my grandma’s basement,” he said.
LL explained that he tried his hand in all the elements of hip-hop culture before finding his calling as an emcee. From graffiti to breakdancing, LL explained that he experimented with all things hip-hop before mastering his craft as a lyricist.
“Well, I started off doing graffiti. I tried to do breakdancing, that wasn’t working,” LL laughed. “Then I was DJing; I was okay. Then I started [rapping], and I was like, ‘oh, I think I got something.” he explained.
Watch the entire video of LL reacting to and telling the stories of some of his most iconic relics inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.