LL Cool J
"I Need a Beat" (1984)
And sometimes you do just knock it out of the park on your first try. Never exactly shy, 14-year-old Ladies Love Cool James kept cold-calling (and calling and calling) producer Rick Rubin's dorm room from the number listed on the back of a T-La Rock 12-inch — but Rick kept saying he didn’t get his demo. Soon, Beastie Boy King Adrock found young LL's demo from the pile of tapes in Rubin's room and played it — this time Rick called back. It was the first record for Rubin and Russell Simmons' new Def Jam label. Thirty years later, rap is a global phenomenon and LL Cool J hosts the Grammys.