LL COOL J Brings Out Hip Hop Greats During F.O.R.C.E. Tour

When it comes to hip hop and the pioneers of the genre, it’s hard to not mention LL COOL J in any conversation. The Queens, New York native was one of the first to not only succeed as a rapper but to also leverage his skill sets to propel him into other avenues—like fashion, film and TV. Yet, decades later, the emcee is still rocking stages with the same energy he was in the 80s.

To further commemorate the 50th anniversary of rap and hip hop, LL has curated a multi city tour which features some of the best of the best in the industry today. From Queen Latifah and MC Lyte to New Orleans rapper Juvenile as well as Rakim—the F.O.R.C.E. Tour has been setting arenas across the country on fire.

EBONY was in the building for one of the latest stops in Charlotte, and let’s just say, hip hop was given it’s just due. The show opened with a set from De La Soul as they so eloquently spit their famed lyrics and tracks for the packed house. The Roots’ Quest Love accompanied the group with a live drum set while, “everybody’s favorite rapper” Black Thought assisted on the mic.

Next came the headliner himself, Mr. “Headsprung,” for set one of two. He came out to his classic “I’m Bad” decked out in an orange two-piece set and his Yankees fitted. He performed a myriad of his hits before welcoming David Banner on stage to bless the crowd with a few songs, too.

Black Thought. Image: Alvin C. Jacobs Jr @acjphoto.

As the show moved, true hip hop fans were treated to the lyrical stylings of New York’s Rakim and New Orleans’ Juvenile. The night ended with LL COOL J coming back to “do it for the ladies” as he recited lyrics to some of his more “lover boy” songs like “I Need Love” and “Hey Lover.”

The rap icon addressed the crowd by giving thanks to the genre that means so much to him, as well as paying tribute to many of its legends.

This tour is only an extension of the many events the emcee will roll out this year to honor hip hop. In August, he hosted his annual Rock The Bells festival in New York, and soon he will gear up for the newly launched Rock The Bells cruise as well as the recently announced Rock The Bells Resort (a luxury, all-inclusive resort vacation with a multi-day oceanfront Hip-Hop festival, in partnership with Playa Luna Presents).

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