L.L. Cool J Biography Essay, Research Paper
I Make My Own Rules, An Autobiography by L.L. Cool J.
I Make My Own Rules, was written by L.L. Cool J. He is better known as L.L. However, his birth name is James Todd Smith. L.L. was born on January 14, 1968 at Southside Hospital in Bayshore, New York. Today he is a thirty-year-old successful singer, writer, actor, and humanitarian. He lives with his wife, Simone and their three children, Najee, Tally, and Samaria.
L.L. wrote his autobiography, I Make My Own Rules, for anyone who has experienced anguish from abuse, low self-esteem, depression, drugs, or alcohol. He offers a message of hope for those who are adamant about turning their lives around.
L.L. is a hip-hop recording artist. Six of his albums went either platinum or multi platinum. His latest album, “Phenomenon”, has also gone platinum. He is an acclaimed actor with seven movies to his credit. He is also the star of ,”In the House,” a televison sitcom on UPN. In addition, he is a committed public servant who has been a spokesperson for programs such as Americorps and Rock the Vote. L.L. is also a sponsor for many charitable organizations. He serves as the honorary chairman of Youth Enterprises. In recent years, L.L. has been selected to represent internationally known brands such as Coco-Cola, Fubu, The Gap, and Major League Baseball.
L.L., then known as Todd, was born with a disability. His right arm was paralyzed. Possibly, his injury stemmed from his abusive father who threw his mother out of a moving car while she was nine months pregnant. Fortunately, his arm became normal at an early age. L.L. lived with his mother, Ondrea, and his father, James, in Long Island, New York until he was four. His father was both physically and verbally abusive. After a while, Ondrea left her husband to move in with her parents. Months after, James carried out his most venomous act. Late one night, he decided to hide in the bushes at L.L. grandparents’ home. He waited until L.L. mother returned home from work. When she got out of the car, his father angrily confronted her. She pleaded with him to leave them alone. The crazed and depressed father pulled out a 12-gauge shotgun. Sadly, L.L.,then known as, Todd witnessed his father shoot his mother several times in the lower back. When his grandfather came outside to see about the commotion, L.L.’s father shot the elderly man ten times in the stomach. After the shooting rage was over, his disturbed father fled to California. To avoid the authorities, he changed his name. L .L’s. family was too afraid to file charges. Luckily, his mother and grandfather survived the heinous ordeal. Ten feet of his grandfather intestines had to remove and he was never the same. His mother nearly died. Several bullets grazed her spine and for a while, she couldn’t walk.
After being in the hospital for months, Ondrea met Roscoe. Roscoe was an assistant to her physical therapist. Roscoe lead Ondrea to believe that without him, she would not have been able to walk again. The love struck Ondrea married Roscoe, and, thus, exposed her son to another dysfunctional home.
Roscoe, an abusive man, snorted cocaine in the presence of L.L. Roscoe beat him several times a day with switches and extension cords. The demented step-father made him read obscene magazines when he was only eight. Helplessly, he became a slave to his step-father. He became to have very low self-esteem, therefore he began to wear hats as a sense of security. Even today, he refuses to remove his hat most of the time. Hat wearing has become his trademark.
When he started going to High School, L.L. became a bully. He robbed students and carried knives and guns to school because he felt he needed protection. L.L. had been around violence all his life. His grandfather noticed the changes in his behavior and wanted to get him on the right track before it was too late. His grandfather brought him a turntable and set it up in the basement. He thought that music might keep him busy and give him less time to terrorize others. He became a positive influence in his life.
L.L.’s wrote his first song, “I Need a Beat”, when he was sixteen-years-old. It was at this time when he came up with the name L.L. Cool J. which means “Ladies Love Cool James”. Later, he created,”Rock the Bells”, “I Need Love”,and “Radio”. All of his songs become a major success.
L.L. became a millionaire. He purchased 15 cars, a $15,000 ring, and a huge mansion. He felt his was on top of the world but was not ready to put forth a positive image. He became promiscuous, and smoked marijuana with cocaine or angel dust. L. L. confessed that he was afraid of dying, so he soon quit running women and drugging. To this day, he says he doesn’t know why he tried drugs and advise others not to indulge. Perhaps, L.L. made many bad choices because he had many faulty role models.
Unlike his father, L.L. wanted to be a positive role model. This is when L.L. took a reality check and decided that he was out of control. He sent money to Simone and the children because he wanted them to have all that he did not have as a child. He knew if he continued to do the things he was doing, he wouldn’t get anywhere in life, thus he became a Christian and went back to school to get his GED. He married Simone and started the television show, “In The House”. On this show he portrays a positive image of a self-assured, retired football player who lives a respectable life.
I recommend this book to anyone who wants to experience a heroic story.
When I finished reading this autobiography, I looked at L.L. Cool J. in an entirely different perspective. I used to think he was just another rapper who just got lucky. Now, I respect him for overcoming an extremely difficult life. He could have ended his life like Tupac Shakur, Notorious B.I.G. or Easy-E. Instead, he chose to get his life together and make a difference.