Thirty years after making himself rap’s sex symbol and the killing the Hip Hop game with hits like, “I’m Bad”, “Jinglin'” and “I Need Love,” LL Cool J will be the first Hip Hop artist to receive Kennedy Center Honors in its 40 year history.
The rapper turned actor joins a prestigious 2017 class that includes Lionel Richie and Gloria Estefan will be inducted on Sunday, Dec. 3 at the Kennedy Center Opera House in Washington, D.C.
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The father of four will be the youngest inductee at 49 years old after Stevie Wonder.
In his statement on the Kennedy Center honor, LL credits his grandmother — the same one who inspired his 1990 hit, “Mama Said Knock You Out” — for his success, while dedicating the award to the hip-hop pioneers who preceded and the generations who have since followed.
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“My late grandmother passed some wise advice to me: ‘If a task is once begun, never leave it ’til it’s done. Be thy labor great or small, do it well or not at all.’ That adage has guided everything I have ever done in my life and I couldn’t be more grateful because it has led me here,” he says. “To be the first rap artist honored by the Kennedy Center is beyond anything I could have imagined. I dedicate this honor to the hip-hop artists who came before me and those who came after me. This simply proves that dreams don’t have deadlines. God is great.”
LL Cool J though has been highly successful in film and television isn’t done with music yet. He’s been rumored to be back in the studio recording new music with none other than longtime producer and friend, Dr. Dre.
The Kennedy Center Honors airs on CBS, December 26th.
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