It’s a big moment for hip-hop, as legendary rap cornerstone LL Cool J is set to be featured as part of the 40th annual Kennedy Center Honors. 

A famed rapper, actor, host and all around Cool James – who, according to legend, “Ladies Love” – LL has dominated rap battles, ratings and the box office for over three decades.

The Kennedy Center Honors acknowledges a lifetime of artistic achievement. Being honored alongside LL will be singers Lionel Richie and Gloria Estefan, television icon Norman Lear, and dancer/choreographer Carmen de Lavallade.

Cool J said of the honor:

“My late grandmother passed some wise advice to me: ‘If a task is once begun, never leave it ’til it’s done. Be thy labor great or small, do it well or not at all.’ That adage has guided everything I have ever done in my life and I couldn’t be more grateful because it has led me here. To be the first rap artist honored by the Kennedy Center is beyond anything I could have imagined. I dedicate this honor to the Hip Hop artists who came before me and those who came after me. This simply proves that dreams don’t have deadlines. God is great.”

The 40th annual Kennedy Center Honors program will air on December 26 on CBS.

To give you an idea how long LL Cool J has been in the game, here he is performing in Maine 32 years ago, having to first explain what rap was before he began.

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