Preloading

How LL Cool J's "First Review" Drove Him to Rap Greatness

Season 6 Episode 604
Aired on 09/09/2017 | CC tv-pg
The first time LL Cool J ever rapped in public was at a party in the basement of a church. Then just a teen, LL was energized, confident and thrilled to be performing. He rapped his heart out, he says, and before he'd stepped out of the spotlight, a young woman approached the stage.

"She was standing right below me," LL recalls, smiling. "She looked at me and she said, 'Boy, you can't rap.'"

It was LL's "first review," he says, and it was deflating. However, as hip-hop aficionados well know, LL went on to become a prolific Grammy-winning rapper—and he got the last laugh. "I remember that moment, thinking to myself, 'I'm going to prove you wrong,'" he says, looking directly into the camera with a smirk. "Hi, sweetheart."

Want to know what else is coming up on OWN? Sign up for the This Week on OWN Newsletter.
Watch OWN