How is The Net Worth of LL Cool J a Whopping $120m?

What is LL Cool J’s Net Worth?

Net Worth$120 Million
Source of WealthRapper, Acting
Date of BirthJanuary 14, 1968
Height6’2 / 1.87 meters
Place of BirthBay Shore, New York, United States
Star SignCapricorn
Marital StatusMarried

The Usual Intro

LL Cool J is an American rapper, actor, and song producer whose name is an abbreviation for “Ladies Love Cool James.” He is well-known for his albums “Walking with a Panther,” “Mama Said Knock You Out,” and many more.

LL Cool J was a victim of domestic violence during his childhood, and he often portrays it through his heartfelt lyrics. In addition to his massive success in the music industry, LL Cool J also took the acting industry by storm with his power-packed performances in numerous films and TV Shows.

He found many new avenues to success through his clothing line and music record label. Today, he stands at a net worth of $120 million and as an iconic rapper. 

Before the Spotlight

James Todd Smith was born to James Louis Smith Jr. and Ondrea Griffith on January 14, 1968, in Bay Shore, New York.

LL Cool J witnessed a series of traumatic events in his childhood; he was only 4 when he witnessed his mother and grandfather being shot by his father. Her mother filed for divorce and started dating a therapist named Roscoe. Roscoe abused him both physically and psychologically.

James had a strong passion for rapping at the age of just nine. Under the influence of “The Treacherous Tree,” he started rapping. By the time he turned sixteen, he had started producing demo tapes. 

His grandfather got him music equipment that included an audio mixer and amplifier worth $2,000. His mother also supported him by using her one year tax refund to gift him a Korg drum machine. James then began mixing his demos and sending them to various record companies.

The Journey to Success

His professional career began when his demo tapes caught the eye of the renowned label, Def Jam. The brand was formed by New York students Russell Simmons and Rick Rubins. They signed LL Cool J and released his single “I Need a Beat” in 1984, which sold over 100,000 copies.

The single’s success inspired James to drop out of high school and focus on his musical career. His first album, “Radio,” was a ground-breaking success. The album sold above 1.5 million copies and was acclaimed for how it molded the rap verses with recognizable pop-songs structure. The album also received platinum certification.

Next year, his second album, “Bigger and Deffer,” hit another milestone; it sold over 2 million copies in the United States alone and stayed at the No.1 position on Billboard’s R&B albums chart for 11 weeks. LL Cool J seamlessly combined rap and pop in the single “I Need Love,” and it became one of the first-ever pop-rap crossover hits. The album was met with critical and commercial acclaim and soon acquired 2-times platinum certification.

In 1989, LL Cool J’s fourth album, “Walking with a Panther,” also went platinum. It did great commercially, but his fans were dissatisfied, reporting that it contained too many ‘soft songs.’ James quickly recovered his defame by releasing “Mama Said Knock You Out.” 

The song tracks in the album were hard-hitting and packed a strong punch of energy. It sold over 2.7 million copies and won him a Grammy Award for Best Rap Solo Performance. It is LL’s most successful album to date, cementing his reputation as not only an iconic hip-hop artist but also a pop star.

Cool J continued to release a series of albums throughout the late 1990s. In 1995, the album “Mr Smith,” shot him to stardom. The single from the album, “Hey Lover,” was inspired by Michael Jackson’s song “The Lady in My Life.” It earned LL Cool J his second Grammy Award and became his first song to air on the VH1 channel. The album also sold 2 million copies.

In addition to his grand success in the music industry, LL Cool J has an impressive resume of notable acting skills in famous movies and TV Shows. He first appeared as a minor in a film called “Wildcats.” The fame from “Mama Said Knock You Out” earned him roles in films such as “The Hard Way” and “Toys.” 

In 1996, he was offered a lead role in the crime-drama movie “Out-of-Sync.” This was a stepping stone to his acting career, and he soon caught the eye of NBC TV. He starred in the comedy series “In The House.” He also played a role in the blockbuster science-fiction horror film “Deep Blue Sea,” which made a whopping $250 Million worldwide.

The Best Moments

  • He won a Teen Choice Award in Choice TV Actor: Action.
  • Cool J won the Blockbuster Entertainment Award in the ‘Favorite Supporting Actor – Action’ category.
  • He was awarded the MTV Video Music Award for ‘Best Rap Video.’
  • He won the Kennedy Center Honors in 2017.

The Private Side

James dated Kidada Jones for two years. In 1995, he married Simone Johnson and had four children with her.

In 2012, LL Cool J made headlines when he broke the nose and jaw of a suspected burglar. He reportedly heard noise from downstairs and got engaged in a fight. He kept hold of the suspect until the police arrived.

James has also been an active philanthropist. He founded a charity organization called “Jump & Ball,” which aimed to provide youngsters with an athletic and team-building program. He has supported many charitable causes for schools’ music, arts, and literacy programs.

LL Cool J’s Related YouTube Video

LL Cool J on Yacht Trips with Magic Johnson & Samuel L. Jackson and Rock & Roll Hall of Fame

Famous Quotes of LL Cool J

Every word of LL Cool J has a deep meaning and paints vivid imagery in our minds. Let’s dive into some of his influential quotes to date:

  • “You have to always continue to strive no matter how hard things get, no matter how troubled you feel. No matter how tough things get, no matter how many times you lose, you keep trying to win.”
  • “I feel like my peers now are artists like Madonna and the Stones, Michael Jackson and Prince. These are people who were able to take their careers beyond the normal here-today-gone-tomorrow life span.”
  • “I am artistic so I reserve the right to change my mind at any point. I just like to do different things. What is more important than the name is that people know that I really like acting, I enjoy it and I want people to know that I am serious.

The Social World

LL Cool J’s acting and rapping skills have been laudably applauded by people and have won him a considerable fan base. Let’s take a look at his immense fame in some statistical terms:

Lessons for Entrepreneurs

LL Cool J has been an exemplary figure for us. Here are some lessons we can all adopt into our lives:

  1. The sky is not your limit. Although Cool J had a remarkable music career, he did not limit himself just to being a rap artist. Instead, he was also massively successful in the acting and film industry. Never cage yourself. Build the tendency to establish concrete goals. 
  2. Follow your imagination. One hallmark of James is his ability to seamlessly combine pop with rap music. Not every rapper has been able to mix both genres as effectively as James did. Let your imaginations dominate you. 
  1. Stay in the game. It took James many years of hard work and patience before becoming a highly famous icon. He still didn’t give up but open-heartedly accepted this challenge and fought all the obstacles head-on. His persistence and hard work set him apart from the other notable artists.

The Unusual Stuff

Here are some of the editing facts about LL Cool J that we bet you didn’t know of:

  • James hosted the Grammy Awards 3 times from 2012 to 2014.
  • He has written four books — two on fitness, one for children, and one memoir.
  • He was inspired by martial artist Bruce Lee to pursue acting.
  • LL Cool J worked as a paperboy before becoming a rapper.

Answering Frequent Questions

Does LL Cool J have a clothing line of his own?

In the mid-1980s, he launched a clothing line called “Todd Smith,” which produces urban apparel influenced by LL’s song lyrics and tattoos.

Did LL Cool J have his music label?

In 1993, he formed a music label called “P.O.G.” or “Power Of God” and also started a company “Rock The Bells,” in which he worked with artists like Amyth, Natice, etc.

What do LL Cool J’s friends call him?

During an interview with Glamour magazine, Cool J said they refer to him as Todd. He informed the journalist Jessica Radloff that it feels more natural and personal when his co-stars call him just Todd.

The Closing Remarks

Today, LL Cool J stands as a leading exponent of new-school rap, distinguished by hard, fast, sinuous rhymes and artfully arrogant verses. He arrived at the dawn of the genre as a fresh-faced b-boy, spending years evolving and expanding the range of his talents. Over the years, he transitioned from a professional rapper to a multifaceted Renaissance man, solidifying himself as an actor, philanthropist, and author.

Featured image credit: Kathy Hutchins /

Photo of author

Asad Elahi

Asad Elahi is a personal finance expert and author with over 5 years of experience in the industry. He has written extensively on topics such as saving, investing, and building wealth, focusing on helping individuals achieve financial independence. His work has been featured in major publications such as Forbes and The Wall Street Journal, and he is a regular contributor to financial websites and blogs.