Lauded globally for his pioneering rhyme skills and wicked good looks, LL has enjoyed the type of career longevity that many artists have seldom seen. Bred in Queens, N.Y., the rapper born James Todd Smith endured and witnessed both physical abuse and gun violence in his home. This challenging upbringing did not detour him, however. At 45 years young, the two-time Grammy Award winner has authored four books, appeared in more than 30 feature films, is a successful entrepreneur and currently stars in the CBS drama NCIS: L.A. Both a husband and a father, Smith put his career on hold briefly in the mid-2000s when his wife Simone contracted, and later beat, cancer of the tibia. His first release sans Def Jam, the aptly titled Authentic, was released in April. Tonight's show features a similarly storied long-standing rap act, Public Enemy.

Sun., July 7, 7 p.m., 2013

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