LL Cool J
Eligible since: 2000
Argument for induction: Championed by the Beastie Boys and given a recording shot by Rick Rubin and Russell Simmons' then-fledgling Def Jam label, 17-year-old LL Cool J came through boom boxes with precocious confidence on 1985's seminal Radio. The hits didn't stop coming for the next decade, nor did the Grammys and platinum certifications. He's now as famous for his film and TV roles as he is for his music, but don't overlook the man born James Todd Smith's serious gifts as a lyricist, storyteller and style trendsetter (what's up, Kangols).