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LL Cool J Drops Wisdom in BET Hip-Hop Awards Speech

Kevin Winter, Getty Images

If you’re going to accept the I Am Hip-Hop Icon Award — the 2011 BET Hip-Hop Award’s prize for lifetime achievement in the rap game — you might as well do so in rhyme.

At this year’s awards show, which was taped in Atlanta last week and aired last night (Oct. 11), LL Cool J did just that, wowing the audience with his inspiring turns of phrase.

“What I won’t do is try to preach/ What I won’t do is assume I’m smarter than you and try to teach,” LL said, likely addressing the scores of young bucks in attendance. “What I will do is set an example, inspire you to reach for the stars beyond Mars that space bars can’t delete.”

Having dropped his first album, ‘Radio,’ in 1985, the pioneering MC, born James Todd Smith, knows a thing or two about the challenges facing new artists.

“It ain’t a red carpet, it’s a sidewalk bloody from the wolves eating red meat, and these spotlights don’t come with money — they come with police,” LL said, dropping lines so powerful that Busta Rhymes made his “O” face.

As his speech progressed, the ‘Mama Said Knock You Out’ rhymer turned from the music industry to larger world concerns, alluding to the ongoing protests on Wall Street.

“Millionaires crying about raising taxes on the elite,” he said. “They won’t feed us as they’d rather defeat us like an aborted fetus, but your greatest feat is to get back up on your feet.”

Watch LL Cool J Accept the I Am Hip-Hop Icon Award at 2011BET Hip Hop Awards

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