Scoop B: LL Cool J First Solo Rapper To Receive Kennedy Center’s Presidential Honor

2-time Grammy Award Winner LL Cool J and RESPECT Magazine managing editor and columnist Brandon ‘Scoop B’ Robinson courtside at BIG 3 Basketball tournament in Brooklyn, New York. Photo Courtesy of Eric Salvary/Scoop Vision Media

LL Cool J and Stevie Wonder have something in common! At 49, LL Cool J, born James Todd Smith is tied with Wonder as the youngest musical artist to be recognized by the Kennedy Center Honors for his contribution to music.

That’s significant.

LL Cool J, a two-time Grammy winner was one of the first artists to sign with Def Jam Records. He changed the game for hip hop and also holds the distinction of releasing ten consecutive platinum-selling albums.

This is significant for hip hop and LL as he’ll be the first rap musician to be recognized at the Kennedy Center Honors on its 40th anniversary. Others honored include: TV writer/producer Norman Lear, singer Gloria Estefan, dancer Carmen de Lavallade and musician Lionel Richie.

“I am blown away,” LL Cool J told The Washington Post.

“This is the biggest musical award you can receive. To be recognized by your country, and to be able to represent hip-hop as an art form is amazing. I’m surprised, grateful, humbled and honored.”


The Kennedy Center Honors commences on December 3 at the Kennedy Center Opera House. The awards, the first under United States President Donald Trump is a weekend that houses a dinner at the State Department and a White House reception. The awards show will be broadcast at 9 p.m. Dec. 26 on CBS.


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About Brandon Robinson

Brandon 'Scoop B' Robinson is a managing editor and columnist at RESPECT Magazine. Follow him on Twitter: @ScoopB and Instagram: @Scoop_B. As a 12 year old, he was a Nets reporter from 1997-1999, co-hosting a show called Nets Slammin' Planet with former New Jersey Net Albert King and Nets play-by-play man Chris Carrino. He's also been a writer and radio host at CBS and a staff writer at The Source Magazine. He's a graduate of both Eastern University and Hofstra University. You can catch him daily on the Scoop B Radio Podcast. Visit to listen. For inquiries and to contact Brandon 'Scoop B' Robinson visit