A solar-powered bronze statue of hip-hop icon LL Cool J has a new home in the Long Island Music and Entertainment Hall of Fame in Stony Brook.
The statue was unveiled on Sunday as part of the Hall of Fame’s hip-hop 50th anniversary celebrations, which included a concert and panel discussion.
Fans, fellow rappers and DJs from Long Island’s hip-hop community gathered to celebrate the Grammy Award-winning Bayshore-born artist and actor with a career spanning decades.
“LL Cool J has been with us for 40 years, and honoring him is so important to this culture that has spread all over the world,” he said through his “video,” documenting 40 years of hip-hop. video producer Ralph McDaniels said. A TV program called Orgel.
“It’s not just rap, it’s DJs, breakdancers, graffiti artists and knowledge,” said McDaniels, who lives in Elmont. “That’s what today is all about: bringing that knowledge to people.”
LL Cool J, whose real name is James Todd Smith, grew up in Queens and achieved early stardom in the 1980s with the albums Radio and Bigger and Defer. As his musical career skyrocketed, he landed numerous roles in film and television, including a long-running appearance on NCIS: Los Angeles.
Sculptor Sherwin Banfield said he created the sculpture to reflect key features in LL Cool J’s life. A bronze bust of the artist with his signature kanjol his bucket his hat, circa 1985, rests on a resin boombox containing a cassette of his tapes from his first album “Radio” .
The statue’s stainless steel sides include images that pay homage to Queens’ landmark Unisphere, LL Cool J’s childhood home, and his neighborhood on Farmers Boulevard. A solar panel powers the statue’s audio featuring LL’s music.
The statue was on display at Flushing Meadows Corona Park last year. Banfield said it was designed to withstand the elements as an outdoor sculpture, but would look fresh and different indoors.
“It’s incredible to see inside where the lighting can be set up in interesting ways and the music and lighting inside can create dramatic effects,” Banfield said.
The event featured performances by DJ Jazzy Jay, DJ Johnny Juice, AJ Rok, MC Glamorous, Dinco D, Milo in De Dance and Son of Bazerk.
Plans to induct Brooklyn-based rap trio The Fat Boys into the Long Island Music and Entertainment Hall of Fame were put on hold until surviving member Damon “Kool Rockski” Wimbley was able to attend the ceremony.