7 Teen Rappers (Pg. 4)

1. LL Cool J
Age of Debut: 16
Youngest In Charge Verse: “You bring the wood pecker, I’ll bring the wood, the bells are wippin’ and rippin’ at your body and soul/Why do you like Cool J, we like rock and roll/Cause it ain’t the glory days with Bruce Springsteen/I’m not a virgin so I know I’ll make Madonna scream/You hated Michael and Prince all the way, ever since/If their beats were made of meat, then they would have to be mince, rock the bells!” (“Rock the Bells,” 1985)
Skill Set: We were all fooled. No way was this Queens, NY B-Boy barely over 15. He rapped harder than rap’s top dogs of that time, Run DMC. He had the grown-man physical attributes that suggested he should be the starting tight-end on a big time college football program. But it was mostly LL Cool J’s intimidating lyrics that proved to be a revelation. With 1985’s Radio—the watershed album that literally built Def Jam Records—James Todd Smith made it hard for every young spitter who dreamed of rocking the party to follow. Over two decades later, LL’s longevity is proof that kid rappers can evolve into respected icons of the game.

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