LL Cool J Is Harvard’s Artist of the Year

He'll receive an award during an annual ceremony hosted by the Harvard Foundation.

Photo via Associated Press

Photo via Associated Press

Harvard is showing respect to yet another pioneer of the hip-hop industry.

Last year, the school announced that it was setting up a fellowship under the umbrella of work produced by the rapper Nas. Now, LL Cool J is getting his turn to stand in the spotlight of the university.

The multi-platinum selling rapper and television star (lest we forget lip-licking Grammy Awards Host) has been named Harvard’s Artist of the Year. LL Cool J will be recognized for his achievements throughout his career, which spans from spots on the hit show NCIS: Los Angeles, to snagging two Grammy Awards for his music during the Harvard Foundation’s annual awards ceremony on February 22.

The ceremony takes place during the organization’s “Cultural Rhythms” festival, which is one of several events that promotes interracial and intercultural awareness, and pays homage to those who have made contributions to multiculturalism.

Here’s why they picked the rapper, according to S. Allen Counter, director of the Harvard Foundation:

His pioneering contributions to a new genre of music and distinguished history of creativity have been lauded by young people around the world, and he is greatly admired for his excellent humanitarian efforts through the Jumpstart program, an initiative that creates early education programs in low-income neighborhoods, which increases school readiness and reduces the achievement gap.

LL Cool J isn’t just a face for TV, either. The recording artist has twice been nominated to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and has been honored by the NAACP for his trove of record releases.

Past recipients of the prestigious award for musical talent have included John Legend, Shakira, Queen Latifah, and Wyclef Jean. Awards have also been presented by the foundation to Matt Damon, Halle Berry, and Will Smith for similar achievements. If the general public wants to catch all of the performances that the Cultural Rhythms festival has to offer, tickets will be available starting February 15, for $20, and can be purchased at the Harvard Box Office.

There has been no indication that LL Cool J will bust out a verse from “Momma Said Knock You Out,” so don’t set your expectations too high.