LL Cool J has hosted the GRAMMY telecast the last two years. For that matter, he also hosted "The GRAMMY Nominations Concert Live!!" last December. As an actor, LL Cool J has appeared in more than 30 films and currently stars in CBS' popular crime drama "NCIS: Los Angeles."
But let's not forget this multi-hyphenate's roots: the former Todd Smith is a hip-hop icon, scoring his first rap hit in 1985 at age 17. Included among his Top 20 hits are "I Need Love," "Around The Way Girl" and the GRAMMY winners "Mama Said Knock You Out" and "Hey Lover." Branching out into acting while still scoring some of his biggest hits, LL Cool J has established himself as one of the first rappers to develop a truly long-term entertainment career.
On April 30 he will release his first album in five years, Authentic. The two-time GRAMMY winner launched the first salvo on the 55th GRAMMY Awards, teaming with Travis Barker, Chuck D., Tom Morello, and DJ Z-Trip for an explosive version of "Whaddup" paired with a tribute to the late Adam Yauch, a cover of the Beastie Boys' "No Sleep Till Brooklyn," to close out the show.
In anticipation of the GRAMMY host's forthcoming album, GRAMMY.com offers an exclusive opportunity to watch his powerful 55th GRAMMY Awards performance of "Whaddup."