Where does LL Cool J rank among the greatest rappers of all-time?
Imagine what goes through the mind of a 1980’s hip-hop head should they intake a couple of hours of pop culture on a random weeknight.
You’ve got Ice-T playing a cop on TV. Ice Cube is writing sitcoms and getting the Tyler Perry treatment from a very corny network. Will Smith is starring in blockbusters and serious dramatic movies while pulling in $20 million a pop. Queen Latifah is starring in romantic comedies and makeup commercials. Pepa is trying to catch a man on a reality show. And Flavor Flav is, well, have you seen this sh*t?
This all hit me the other night when I caught a few minutes of “NCIS: Los Angeles,” the navy/detective show starring LL Cool J. Just like with every other Golden Era rapper who’s doing things today we wouldn’t have imagined back then, I’m not hating on LL getting his money. It’s just strange watching the guy who defined bad-ass cool in the ’80s cracking one-liners with Chris O’Donnell.
A full-time actor and part-time fashion/fitness mogul these days, LL’s most recent album (Exit 13) was released in 2008. And he cut a single in ’09 inspired by his show called “NCIS: No Crew Is Superior.” But honestly, LL has been mostly irrelevant in the rap game for about five or six years.
Which makes it tough to convince young kids today that LL might actually be the greatest rapper of all-time. Think about it: Raw rhyming talent, ability to craft songs, versatility in pop and street rap, longevity, battle stripes … how many MC’s can match his resume? First ballot Hall of Famer without a question, do you think LL Cool J is the Michael Jordan of the rap game? Is he the G.O.A.T.?