HOLLYWOOD (CBSLA.com) — Rapper and actor LL Cool J received the 2,571st star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, honoring a pioneering recording career that made him the first rap artist to amass 10 consecutive platinum-plus selling albums.
Queen Latifah and Sean "Diddy" Combs joined the "NCIS: Los Angeles" star at the 11:30 a.m. ceremony in front of the Hard Rock Café on Hollywood Boulevard.
The ceremony comes a week after his birthday and slightly more than three weeks before he hosts the Grammys for the fifth consecutive year.
Joining the ranks of such icons as Marilyn Monroe, James Dean and Michael Jackson, the actor and rapper said the honor was a big deal for him.
"I'm grateful, this is pretty big for me," he said.
Born James Todd Smith on Jan. 14, 1968, in Bay Shore, New York on Long Island and raised in the Hollis neighborhood of Queens, he adopted a stage name that stands for Ladies Love Cool James.
LL Cool J began his career in 1984 with Def Jam Records. He is tied for third for most Billboard chart debuts by a rapper. All but one of his 14 albums have reached Billboard's rhythm and blues/hip-hop chart Top 10. Besides hosting the awards show, he has also won Grammys for best rap solo performance in 1991 for "Mama Said Knock You Out" and 1996 for "Hey Lover."
LL Cool J, who has played NCIS Special Agent Sam Hanna on "NCIS: Los Angeles" since 2009, has also starred in films including "Deep Blue Sea" and "Any Given Sunday."
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