‘NCIS: Los Angeles’ Star LL Cool J Reveals ‘Mantra’ He’s Lived by That He Learned From His Mother & Grandmother

by Caitlin Berard
(Photo by Charley Gallay/Getty Images for NAACP Image Awards)

NCIS: Los Angeles star LL Cool J has had an illustrious career. In addition to his role on the police procedural, LL Cool J is also the host of Lip Sync Battle, holds two Grammy Awards, and was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame for his Musical Excellence.

Like most highly successful people, LL Cool J doesn’t take all the credit for his accolades. Instead, he says that it was the motivation from his mother and grandmother that pushed him to achieve his dreams and understand that, with hard work, anything is possible. In a recent Instagram post, LL Cool J included a clip from an interview, along with the caption, “Do it well or not at all. What dreams do you want to accomplish?”

In the clip, LL Cool J (born James Todd Smith) revealed the motivational messages from the women in his family. “My mother used to tell me, ‘Todd, you can do anything you put your mind to’. And my grandmother used to tell me, ‘Every task is once begun, never leave it until it’s done. Be thy labor great or small, do it well or not at all.'”

According to LL Cool J, it was these simple ideas that carried him to greatness. “I kind of grew up with that mantra, you know?” the NCIS star said. “I grew up believing that you can do anything you put your mind to.”

LL Cool J Opens Up About His ‘NCIS’ Character and Career

There’s no question that LL Cool J is proud of his work on NCIS. In fact, the hip-hop artist previously said that his NCIS character, Sam Hanna, is a role anyone would want to play. In an interview with CBS Mornings, LL Cool J gave a bit more context to this comment.

“At least anyone with my values,” LL Cool J said. “I think because he’s a character that believes in protecting his family. He believes in protecting his country, his way of life. He’s loyal, he has integrity, he puts his life on the line every day to preserve and protect the freedoms of the innocent. So, I mean, this is a guy who’s a real hero.”

“And there are people like him all around the world, and especially in America,” the NCIS star continued. “We have members of the military and different law enforcement agencies who put their lives on the line every day to make the world a better place. So it’s a cool character to play in that regard. Especially when you think about everything going on in the world, it’s nice to know that there are some good guys out there.”