LL Cool J talks Grammys hosting gig: 'I have to be myself'

The rapper and actor will host the annual ceremony for the third time in a row.
Posted By Kate Stanton  |  Jan. 26, 2014 at 7:56 PM
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Jan. 26 (UPI) -- LL Cool J, with his family friendly attitude and affability, has been tapped to host the Grammy awards for three straight years.

Speaking to Us Weekly the night before the ceremony, the 46-year-old rapper and actor said he loves hosting the event, though "winning is always going to be the best."

"Just being a part of it is great," he said. "I mean, winning is always going to be the best. I mean, nothing tops winning! But it's always fun being involved and it's fun hosting. This is a good time."

LL Cool J has won two Grammys himself, one for 1992's "Mama Said Knock You Out" and 1997's "Hey Lover." So he knows a thing or two about musical success.

Asked to comment on Justin Bieber's recent arrest, the father of four said, ""At the end of the day, I mean, he's 19 years old."

"So, you gotta cut the guy some slack you know, he's not like a 35-year-old with penny loafers and khaki's on and you know, dropping his kids off at school and drag racing in a Lambo -- that would be a little different! But I think we just gotta remember what we were doing at 19."

LL Cool J also told Parade that similarly youthful artists, like 17-year-old Grammy nominee Lorde, can find fame both "exciting and confusing."

"I was 16 when I started at Def Jam, so I can relate to what she’s going through," he said. "It takes a mature person to stay grounded. And in this age, the criticism can be brutal."

"You gotta embrace it with grace," he added of his hosting duties. "I don’t go out there pretending I’m Billy Crystal. I have to be myself."

The Grammy Awards air Sunday night on CBS at 8 p.m. ET. [Us Weekly, Parade]

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