LL Cool J is about to headline his first arena tour in decades hitting the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas on September 2 with special guests Salt-N-Pepa, DJ Jazzy Jeff, Ice-T, The Roots, and more. The tour is called F.O.R.C.E. Live which stands for Frequencies of Real Creative Energy.

Though currently more recognized as Sam Hanna from TV’s NCIS: Los Angeles and movies like ‘S.W.A.T.‘ and ‘Deep Blue Sea‘ actor Todd Smith aka LL Cool J is one of Hip Hop’s living legends having 13 albums and 59 singles released over 28 years.

He first grabbed my attention as a young teen appearing in the 1985 Hip Hop movie ‘Krush Groove‘ which featured relatively new musical talents RUN DMC, Kurtis Blow, Sheila E., The Fat Boys, and New Edition. Actor Blair Underwood made his feature film debut portraying a fictionalized version of record producer Russell Simmons as he strives to build his record company.

Believer or not, I still have my poster from the movie… check it out!

Krush Groove Movie Poster

LL Cool J had a cameo in the film where he auditioned for the label performing his hit ‘Radio‘ (see clip below). He had a distinct delivery on the mic and no one could mistake who was under that iconic Kangol hat and big chain.

LL Cool J performing in a Kangol hat

The line-up for F.O.R.C.E. Live is sure to awaken some great memories for those who grew up in the 80’s with the addition of Rakim, Ice-T, and Salt ‘n Pepa taking the stage.

One special memory in particular was covering my very first big event as a new radio personality, the 1990 MTV Video Music Awards at the Universal Amphitheater in Los Angeles. I was a kid in a candy store with my ‘All Access’ badge being able to meet and talk to so many of my favorite artists.

It was here I met New Edition, Queen Latifah, and Howard Hewett. Looking around for my next celebrity to interview, I spotted Ice-T holding court at a table surrounded by a number of beautiful women all of whom were vying for his attention.

I will never forget how nervous I was squeezing my way into the circle trying to get his attention. Here I was, this young skinny nobody kid interrupting one of the founding father’s of ‘Gangsta Rap’ attempting to record an interview. I thought for sure he was either going to laugh me off or have me dragged away by security but to my surprise he did neither.

Instead, Ice-T yelled at the group of women to “Shut the **** up!” and pulled me in asking what I needed him to do. That small act on his behalf has stayed with me my entire career because I have met countless artists along the way who are not half the professional he is.

Since I am giving away free tickets to LL Cool J‘s F.O.R.C.E. Live all this week on my show, I wanted to share what I consider the ‘Essential Playlist’ to prepare you for this incredible tour.

Be sure to follow me on Instagram at @picazzoboy and stay in touch with Jammin’ 105.7 here.

  • LL Cool J - Radio

  • LL Cool J - I'm Bad

  • LL Cool J - Mama Said Knock You Out

  • LL Cool J - Around The Way Girl

  • LL Cool J - Headsprung

  • Salt-N-Pepa - Push It

  • Salt-N-Pepa - Shoop

  • Salt-N-Pepa - Shake Your Thang

  • Salt-N-Pepa - I'll Take Your Man

  • Salt-N-Pepa - Whatta Man

  • ICE-T - 6 In The Mornin'

  • ICE-T - I'm Your Pusher

  • Eric B. & Rakim - Paid In Full

  • Eric B. & Rakim - I Ain't No Joke

  • DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince - Summertime

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