LL Cool J was celebrated with the key to Queens, N.Y., during the 2022 Rock the Bells Festival at the Forest Hills Stadium on Saturday (August 6). New York City Council Adrienne Adams commemorated the occasion, heralding and acknowledging LL’s impact, longevity, and influence in hip-hop.
“Hollis, Queens, was represented today at Rock The Bells as the NYC Council celebrated a true Queens legend, the one, and only LL Cool J!” Adams expressed in a tweet following the event. “It was an honor to present him with a proclamation acknowledging his undeniable impact on Hip Hop and popular culture.”
In an official press release for the event, LL Cool spoke about Hip-Hop’s importance, stating that the genre should be regarded in the same light as classic rock.
“I feel like Hip Hop is indisposable, and I feel like, the same reverence and deference in the way Paul McCartney gets celebrated, the way Bob Dylan gets celebrated or Mick Jagger,” LL Cool J expressed. “I feel like these [hip-hop] artists, these kings, and queens, deserve that same treatment for this art form.”
And the music veteran is putting his money where his mouth is to prove his point.
According to Rock the Bells, a percentage of the event’s ticket sales will be used for the 52,000-square-foot Universal Hip-Hop Museum coming soon to the Bronx. The upcoming museum, which recently received a $5.5 million investment, will be the “first state-chartered educational museum dedicated to celebrating” all aspects of the storied culture and genre.
In honor of Rock the Bells’ inaugural year in Queens, LL Cool J lit the Empire State Building in cyan blue on Friday (Aug. 5). “Honored to have the @EmpireStateBldg turned cyan blue as New York celebrates The Rock the bells festival coming to my hometown,” he tweeted.
Watch LL accept the key to his city and a proclamation for “Rock the Bells Day” in the video below.