LL Cool J is a good example of what happens when you have multiple streams of income working for you. Many people know LL Cool J the rapper, while others know him as the actor. What few people seem to forget to take into account is the fact that he is actually both, and he is doing quite well. He began his career as a rapper, but he has been on the scene of the popular NCIS Los Angeles since 2009. When all of this is combined, he has assembled quite a fortune to the tune of $110 million and counting. Here is how he has done it.
Acting and Rapping
Today, LL Cool J is perhaps best known for his role as Sam Hanna on the spin-off series NCIS Los Angeles. He is paid a respectable $150,000 for each appearance on the show, and there are 24 episodes in a season. This marks his 10th season on the show, so he has already banked $36 million from acting on this one show alone. So, what accounts for the more than $70 million in additional money that he has earned?
LL Cool J has never slowed down as a rapper. He has produced more than 12 albums under his own name. From his music, he has been awarded two Grammys. This has given him quite a following through the years. He continues to make residual income on all of these songs, and his name being on the big screen does not hurt. People are constantly hearing his name and being reminded to buy his music.
As an actor, he has also been in several major motion picture films. Among these are included Toys, S.W.A.T, The Hard Way, Any Given Sunday, and Deep Blue Sea. As if all of this were not enough, LL Cool J has also dabbled in becoming a producer, where he got his first chance recently on the television show Lip Sync Battle.
The Bottom Line
His real name is actually James Todd Smith. He took on the name LL Cool J as he began his rap career. The acronym actually stands for Ladies Love Cool James. While he is a proud hip hop recording artist, he is also a record producer in his own right. In addition to his acting career, LL Cool J has also become quite the entrepreneur. LL Cool J grew up in a middle class family in Bay Shore, New York. Sadly, he had a troubled early childhood as his dad shot both his mother and grandfather. LL Cool J was the one who found them. Thankfully, they were not dead, but this event would understandably change his life forever.
As an outlet, he began to rap in earnest at the young age of 9. At this time, he was heavily influenced by The Treacherous Three, another popular hip hop group of the era. By the time he was 16 years of age, LL Cool J was producing his own demo cassette tapes right in the home of his grandparents. His own grandfather was quite the musician as well, and he supported LL Cool J’s ambition by buying him roughly two grand in equipment deemed essential to the survival of a rapper. The rest, as they say, is history.
LL Cool J knew he was going to be a rapper. Getting the equipment necessary just solidified that ambition. He was able to use that equipment to produce the demo tapes that eventually made their way into the hands of Def Jam. That was the beginning of his fortune making career, and he would continue to move his way up the top of the charts.
Even as LL Cool J began to focus on his acting career, he never gave up his career as a rapper. It is not about amassing more money with him. It is doing what he loves. In fact, in the midst of his time on the set of NCIS Los Angeles, he is continuing to produce more albums. His 13th studio hip hop album came out in 2013, and it would be titled Authentic. While he has not produced any more albums since then, he was recently nominated for inclusion in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
That is the basis for how LL Cool J has racked up an impressive $110 million. It is a testimony to hard work and doing what you enjoy. He had ambition from an early age and has never backed away from it.
Written by Garrett Parker
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