Read Dr. Dr. LL Cool J Rock Hall’s induction speech

Dr. Dre was 19 and had yet to join World Class Wreckin ‘Cru, let alone the NWA, when 16-year-old LL Cool J released his first single, the underground smash “I Need a Beat.” Cool J, real name James Todd Smith, was a rap freak and hadn’t even graduated from high school yet. His talent impressed Dre so much that Cool J’s music became a staple of his early DJ sets.

Dr Dre paid tribute to LL Cool J at the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony in Cleveland on Saturday night. In a respectful speech, the producer marveled at the rapper’s raw talent and how his skills fueled a career that spanned more than three decades, welcoming him to the institution. LL Cool J was nominated six times for Rock Hall induction as a performer before entering the Musical Excellence category.

Perhaps to show that he should have been included as a performer, LL Cool J (the man who coined the term “GOAT”), conducted a series of fiery hits including “Going Back to Cali” and “Rock the Bells”, with help from Eminem and Jennifer Lopez. He thanked his two guests in his acceptance speech and also shouted Dr. Dre.

Here is Dr. Dre’s full tribute to LL Cool J, in his own words.

It’s fantastic. “LL Cool J is tough as.” So what does LL really stand for? Ladies love? Lick lips? Well, I’m here because I personally make room for “Living Legend”. OK, I’ll take you back for a minute. Do you remember a story you told me about your leaving Def Jam? You were the first artist on Def Jam; you recorded all this music and delivered all these albums. Then move quickly: your deal is done and you told me you really expected a really awesome farewell gift. Do you remember what you told me you got? A cheap watch. Law. I want to say. What is that? But now I guess you know what time it is, right?

The folks at Def Jam probably could have done better with their farewell gift, but they knew exactly what they were doing when they signed you on as their very first act. LL was 17 when his first album came out, and that not only put Def Jam on the map, but he also launched a fucking superstar. This first song “I Need a Beat”. Yeah, I remember that. It was just him and a drumbeat. No other music.

Now I’m a producer and I don’t know how many of you know how hard it is to convey and how hard it is to achieve. It was unbelievable. Now every time I hear the first album Radio, it immediately brings me back to when I was just starting out as a DJ behind the decks. I started by practicing the mixing and scratching of “Rock the Bells” in my garage. And then I took that shit to the club and watched the club go crazy. Truly.

LL Cool J has given us 13 studio albums over three decades. And when I think back to its heritage, the first thing I think of is its incredible lineup. He went from the sonic brutality of “Mama Said Knock You Out” to a silky ballad like “I Need Love”, as well as songs with fluid R&B and pop influences “Around the Way, Girl”, “Doin ‘It “,” Going back to Cali. … ” ” I do not think so. Is that what you said? “I’m going back to Cali / I don’t think so”, right? You know that old hip-hop term, don’t you? It’s not where you come from, it’s where you are. Where do you live now, LL? California. Well I’m here to show you some California love.

LL’s work contains some of the most diverse hip-hop ever seen. He became rap’s first pop superstar while staying true to his roots representing Queens, New York. The second thing I think about it is the remarkable longevity. I’ve been doing this for 35 years now and I’ve seen artists come and go; they get a hit or two and then they’re gone; They disappear. But LL’s longevity is unmatched in hip-hop.

He struck this unique space that crosses and connects generations; the rare artist you love, your mom and all of your kids at once. And that ? How many rap game artists are relevant after 30 years?

What I admired the most about L was his willingness to push the boundaries of what is possible in hip-hop. He was never afraid to take risks to advance his career and in doing so remind us of our own potential. He’s an author, Grammys host, radio DJ, businessman, philanthropist, and Kennedy Center laureate. How about this: most of you don’t know this, but LL Cool J called the GOAT phrase “the greatest ever”. Yes. It was he who found this sentence. And that.

Today he is a devoted husband to his beautiful wife Simone and the father of their four children. Now he and I have had the chance to spend some time in the studio and through our collaboration a friendship has formed. I’m not bragging and shit but I was on the boat on the Mediterranean. And L hit me like, “Yo, what’s up? “” I am on the Mediterranean. I have a studio on the boat. And two days later, he and his wife Simone showed up on the boat. It was only supposed to last three days or something, but it ended up lasting about a week on the water. Our families were able to hang on and we experienced more than just music. It was beautiful.

We know better than anyone how inspiring trauma can be. And when it comes to having trauma in your life, because you lost it. He’s building something inside of you; It creates a certain hunger and determination that gives her life meaning to make your life stand out from the rest. If you are lucky, you can use this trauma to move your life forward; if you are L, you are able to turn this trauma into an art form that catches everyone’s attention.

So L, that part of the gift you received; it was just a placeholder for tonight. Something bigger was always in store to celebrate you. So here is a glimpse into the amazing life of my man LL Cool J and his journey and why we are here tonight.

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About Joshua M. Osborne

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