LL Cool J Ready for Grammy Noms Concert

Host LL Cool J is seen while taping a segment for the Grammy Nominations Concert Live in Los Angeles on Tuesday, Dec. 1, 2009. The Grammy Nominations Live Concert will take place Wednesday, Dec. 2 in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Matt Sayles)
AP Photo/Matt Sayles
LL Cool J is paying tribute the best way he knows how.

The 41-year-old rapper-actor will kick off "The Grammy Nominations Concert Live! - Countdown to Music's Biggest Night" on Wednesday night by rapping to a medley of the past year's hits from artists like Lady Gaga and Kings of Leon. Sample lyric: "It's not Hugh Jackman - Yes, it's a black man."

"It was an interesting challenge," the "NCIS: Los Angeles" co-star and nominations show host said during a break from rehearsals late Tuesday at Club Nokia. "How can I pay homage to these artists but not ruin their songs and bring my own flavor to it and make it original?"

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The 52nd annual Grammy Awards ceremony will be held Jan. 31 at the Staples Center.

Launched last year instead of a pre-dawn press conference, the nominations special, which will air on CBS, is the Recording Academy's prime-time opportunity to announce top nominees from over 100 categories.

Other performers on the show include Nick Jonas and The Administration, R&B crooner Maxwell, country duo Sugarland and the hip-hop foursome Black Eyed Peas. Presenters such as Katy Perry, T-Pain, George Lopez and Ringo Starr are scheduled to announce Grammy nominees in about a half-dozen categories.

The Black Eyed Peas will have a little digital help from their friends when they perform "I Gotta Feeling." At one point during their routine, a video of folks singing along - including celebs like Chris Daughtry and Seth Green - will blast on a flat-screen behind them.

For their performance, Sugarland will take it to the courtyard outside Club Nokia underneath a sparkly Christmas tree. Maxwell also plans to step outside the concert's intimate setting inside Club Nokia - complete with tables topped with chilled champagne and glitter.

Likely nominees include those name-dropped in LL Cool J's opening number. Among them: Taylor Swift, the country princess who recently swept the American Music Awards with five wins.