When LL Cool J (born James Todd Smith) was just a teen his mother used her income tax return (about $600) to buy him a drum machine. Some 27 years later, the Queens MC has become one of hip-hop musicâ€™s greatest of all time, parlaying his success into numerous ventures that donâ€™t require the microphone he has tattooed on his arm. Needless to say, the return on his momâ€™s investment has been astronomical.
With LL receiving the well-deserved I Am Hip-Hop lifetime achievement awards at this yearâ€™s BET Hip-Hop Awards, BlackEnterprise.com takes a hard look at the living legendâ€™s diverse portfolio as part of our Decoded series. â€”Alvin Blanco