LL Cool J is not only a pioneer in hip hop but a cultural trendsetter that transformed style, music and how artists become brands. On Saturday (August 6), the rapper and actor received the key to the city of Queens which happens to be his hometown.
It took place during the inaugural Rock The Bells festival at Forest Hills Stadium. Speaker of the New York City Council Adrienne Adams honored the legend as part of a ceremony acknowledging LL Cool J’s cultural contributions. Adams took to Twitter to post about her excitement for the event:
“Hollis, Queens was represented today at @RockTheBells as the @NYCCouncil celebrated a true Queens legend, the one and only @llcoolj! It was an honor to present him with a proclamation acknowledging his undeniable impact on Hip Hop and popular culture.”
“I feel like Hip Hop is indisposable,” LL Cool J expressed in a statement. “And I feel like, the same reverence and deference in the way Paul McCartney gets celebrated, the way Bob Dylan gets celebrated or Mick Jagger, I feel like these artists, these kings and queens, deserve that same treatment for this art form.”
The Rock The Bells festival was completely sold out and featured performances from Rick Ross, Ice Cube, Onyx, Lil’ Kim, N.O.R.E, Roxanne Shante, Scarface, Diplomats, Trina, Fat Joe and Remy Ma and more.
Partial proceeds will be donated to the Universal Hip Hop Museum, which is scheduled to open in a 52,000-square-foot space at the Bronx Point development at Mill Pond Park in 2024. On Wednesday, New York City officials announced a $5.5 million investment for the museum as well.
Mayor Eric Adams stated:
“Hip Hop tells the story of this city and the Bronx so vividly. It tells life amid poverty and crime, of turning pain into purpose, of making it. That’s why I’m proud to announce our administration’s commitment of $2 million in new capital funding for the Universal Hip Hop Museum, alongside $3.5 million from the local elected officials. The newer generation may not know about the history of hip hop in the Bronx, however, when we support our cultural groups, we allow the people of this city to connect and find these local jewels that serve as passports to historic destinations.”