LL Cool J and the Buffest Generation

LL Cool J's new workout book shows that the hip-hop generation is aging gracefully. Commentator Jimi Izrael is a commentator for the Web site "AOL Black Voices."

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TONY COX, host:

This is NEWS & NOTES. I'm Tony Cox.

(Soundbite of music)

LL COOL J (Rapper, Actor): (Singing) LL Cool J is hot and he'll rattle anybody. I don't care if you. I ain't. They (unintelligible)

COX: Commentator Jimi Izrael is working on this New Year's pledge to get thin. And he is getting a little help from Uncle L.

JIMI IZRAEL: LL hasn't always been the paragon of fitness he is today. So it's interesting to find him putting out a fitness book, espousing the virtues of a healthy lifestyle. I remember him from the "Going Back To Cali" days when he stood shirtless he stood shirtless in the video, women rubbing their hands across his hairy, doughy body. Somebody must have told him that wasn't a good look.

normally reserved for male models or my one dude(ph) that's doing the five-piece on that assault charge. When he first tried to buff, there was rampant speculation about plastic surgery or liposuction.

Working security on his concert stop in Cleveland, I met LL Cool J backstage and thanked him for holding it down for the 35 and ups. That diet plan I put you on seemed to have worked out well for you, I joked. The fact that he is able to stay in shape so well gives a lot of hope to other aging hip-hoppers like me.

Now by all accounts, I'm in pretty good shape. But I have to go the gym four days a week so I don't get flabby like a lot of my friends who used to pop lock and body rock, lower back stretch precludes any back spinning and all that pop locking my joints too is involuntary.

It doesn't seem so long ago that I couldn't survive without my radio but now I can't live without my Raisin Bran. You can just look around you and see that hip-hop ain't getting any younger or fitter. Ice-T's waistline is full and Chuck D looks too bloated to lead a revolution. E-40 looks like he should push back from the table. And even Ice Cube could stand to do a few sit-ups. I'm sure of the fact that LL can afford to hire his own chefs and have a world-class trainer work with him everyday is no small part of his triumph over the battle of the bulge.

Although there are a truckload of fitness books already on the shelves, LL's will be an easy sell. Dude rips off his shirt for anybody with a camera, and I can't front. It looks like he's in the best shape of his life.

I hope he isn't the last hip-hop lifestyle guy for the growing sexy. Maybe MC Hammer would do an aerobics tape or Salt-N-Pepa will host a cooking show. I'm just glad that hip-hop's first generation looks to be growing old gracefully.

COX: Jimi Izrael is a columnist for the Web site "AOL Black Voices."

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