Don’t Call it a Bad Back: LL Cool J Turns 55

Posted on January 14, 2023

by Eric P

When you hear that the Grammy-winning rapper and actor LL Cool J turns 55 on January 14, no one would blame you for responding as though someone had announced their intention to return to Cali: “I don’t think so.”

He put out his first song as a teenager. He’s a fitness icon. Nobody’s ready for LL Cool J in the AARP. Nobody wants to listen to Mallwalking With a Panther.

Why does it feel objectionable when famous artists like him have the audacity to age at a normal chronological rate like the rest of us? Is it because they first came to our attention as avatars of youth, and change is always jarring? Is it because a reminder of how many years have elapsed since the first time we heard “I Need Love” necessarily confronts us with the inevitability of our own encroaching mortality? Or is it because we’re forced to accept the fact that when we turn 55 we still won’t have been recognized at the Kennedy Center Honors or inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame?

You know who else turns 55 this month? Sarah McLachlan. Time is an unstoppable freight train.

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