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LL Cool J To Release New Album

October 13, 1997

WASHINGTON (AP) _ The LL in Cool J’s name might as well stand for long-lasting.

With six platinum albums and six gold singles, the rapper has a new album, ``Phenomenon,″ out this week and a sitcom, ``In the House,″ in its third season on UPN.

James Todd Smith took the name LL Cool J at age 13. It stands for Ladies Love Cool James.

Smith, 29, credits his grandparents with giving him a start in rap at age 9. They bought him two turntables, a microphone, a mixer and a drum machine.

What he really wanted was a dirt bike, but after borrowing a friend’s and getting hit by a car, his grandparents opted for the music equipment.

``They pointed me in a direction with that gift and it changed my life,″ Smith said in Monday’s Washington Post. ``It made me excited to sit down with pen and paper and express myself.″

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