LL Cool J
LL Cool J did a lot to blaze the trail for other rappers to follow. Like a lot of others in his neighborhood, LL was an early hip-hop fan and started writing his own raps at nine years old. By the time he was 16, the “NCIS: Los Angeles” star was making demo tapes and soon he signed with Russell Simmons’ Def Jam label. The Queens native dropped out of high school to pursue a blossoming rap career and his first album ended up going platinum.