LL Cool J Becomes First Rapper To Receive Kennedy Center Honor Legendary Queens, New York rapper LL Cool J has made history becoming the first hip hop artist to receive a Kennedy Center Honor. He received the honor alongside a extraordinary group including actress and dancer Carmen de Lavallade, singer and songwriter Gloria Estefan, writer and producer Norman Lear, and singer and songwriter Lionel Richie Sunday night. The Kennedy Center Honors is an annual honor given to those in the performing arts for their lifetime of contributions to American culture. LL Cool J stated in his instagram post, \u201cI believe that we are built to do anything we put our minds and proper actions to,\u201d the rapper wrote in the caption of a picture of himself at the John F. Kennedy Center for Performing Arts celebrating the occasion. \u201cYou have all the tools inside you that are required for you to fulfill your GOD given purpose. This one is for those who came before me and those who followed me. We were sent to this planet to love and inspire one another. Manifest our dreams and make them a reality. I hope you\u2019re inspired by me because I\u2019m absolutely Inspired by you. Mic check 1212 Let\u2019s ride!! ? #KCHonors #StateDepartmentDinner #hiphop\u201d LL Cool J has been making contributions to hip hop music for over 30 years with his first album Radio debuting in 1985 Recommended: Kennedy Center Honors Air time The performing arts center tapped Q-Tip to serve as its first artistic director of hip-hop culture and Simone Eccleston as director of hip-hop culture and contemporary music two years ago. Recommended: T.I. TALKS COLLABORATIVE ALBUM DOPE BOY ACADEMY W\/ JEEZY \u201cGoal number one is to provide a home for the culture: artists, organizations, and individuals interested in presenting hip-hop related programs,\u201d Eccleston previously said. \u201cOne of the unique spaces we occupy is being able to provide a multi-faceted view. We can show hip-hop\u2019s contribution to artistic areas across the board.\u201d Q-Tip kicked off the Kennedy Center\u2019s inaugural hip-hop season alongside jazz pianist Jason Moran back in October. The 40th Annual Kennedy Center Honors will broadcast on Tuesday, Dec. 26 at 9\/8c on CBS.