Dressed in all silver, the rapper, fronting a full band, threw down with a musical set that included surprise appearances by Eminem trading verses on “Rock the Bells” and Jennifer Lopez re-creating their collaboration on “All I Have.” LL Cool J also delivered a powerhouse “Go Cut Creator Go” and closed with “Mama Said Knock You Out,” joined by a cadre of white-hoodied dancers who paraded down the aisle before joining him onstage.
Addressing his long journey into the Rock Hall, LL Cool J — who received one of the night’s Awards for Musical Excellence — thanked “all of the people who voted for LL to be in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame year after year. … I wasn’t thinking about the people who voted against me. I was thinking about the people who voted for me. It was love — ‘Wow, there’s some people over there who won’t take no for an answer. This is a guy who deserves to be in there, and we gotta keep fighting to get him in there!’” He finished by declaring, “Hall of Fame, know my name!”
LL Cool J was inducted by Dr. Dre, who saluted his friend as someone who has “hit that unique space that crosses generations … loved by you, your mom and all your kids. How about that?” Dre also chided Def Jam Records for once giving LL Cool J a cheap watch as a parting gift when he left the label. “That parting gift you got, it was just a placeholder for tonight,” Dre said. “Something bigger was always in store to celebrate you, my man.”
The Rock Hall inductions were filmed by HBO and will be aired starting Nov. 20.