A solar-powered bronze statue of hip-hop icon LL Cool J has a new home at the Long Island Music and Entertainment Hall of Fame in Stony Brook.
The statue unveiling was part of the hall of fame’s 50th anniversary of hip-hop event on Sunday that included a concert and panel discussion.
Fans, fellow rappers and DJs from Long Island’s hip-hop community came to honor the Grammy-winning Bay Shore-born artist and actor whose career has spanned decades and genres.
“LL Cool J has been with us for four decades and honoring him is so important to the culture, which has gone all around the world,” said Ralph McDaniels, a video producer who has chronicled hip-hop for 40 years through his “Video Music Box,” television show.
“It’s not just about rap; it’s about the DJ, about the break dancers and the graffiti artists and the knowledge,” said McDaniels, who lives in Elmont. “That’s what it’s all about today — bringing that knowledge to people.”
LL Cool J, born James Todd Smith, grew up in Queens and found early stardom in the 1980s with his albums “Radio” and “Bigger and Deffer.” As his musical career soared, he expanded into acting with numerous roles in movies and television, including a long stint on “NCIS: Los Angeles.”
Sculptor Sherwin Banfield said he crafted the sculpture to reflect important hallmarks in LL Cool J’s life. The bust of the artist wearing his signature Kanjol bucket hat, circa 1985, sits atop a resin boom box that includes a cassette tape of his first album, “Radio.”
The stainless steel sides of the statue include images of the Unisphere, a Queens landmark, LL Cool J’s childhood home and a nod to Farmers Boulevard in his neighborhood. Solar panels help power the statue’s audio, which features LL’s music.
The statue was on display at Flushing Meadows-Corona Park last year. While it was designed to withstand the elements, Banfield said placing it indoors will give it a fresh and different look.
“It’s incredible to see it inside where lights can be placed on it in an interesting manner and have the music and lighting inside cast a dramatic effect,” Banfield said.
LL Cool J did not attend the event, which included performances from DJ Jazzy Jay, DJ Johnny Juice, AJ Rok, MC Glamorous, Dinco D, Milo in De Dance and Son of Bazerk.
A plan to induct the Fat Boys, a Brooklyn-based rap trio, into the Long Island hall of fame was put on hold until surviving member Damon "Kool Rock-Ski" Wimbley could attend the ceremony.