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LL Cool J Makes History As First Rapper To Receive Kennedy Honors

When The Kennedy Center Honors are presented  on December 3 LL Cool J will be the first rapper ever to be saluted.

Thirty  years after becoming rap's first sex symbol James Todd Smith will make Kennedy Center History.

At 49, LL will be the Kennedy Center's youngest honoree since Stevie Wonder. The St. Albans, Queens native who made his first record, "I Need A Beat," at 16, after his demo tape made it to the ears of producer and Def Jam founder Rick Rubin.

Known today for his starring roles in TV and film, he received his star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame last year. But after a career spanning 30-plus years and 13 albums, he's yet to leave rap alone — he's rumored to be in the studio recording with Dr. Dre.

Along with the honors the weekend features a dinner at the State Department and a reception at The White House.

The Kennedy Center Honors air December 26.