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LL Cool J's Rock the Balls drop Essentials collection

LL Cool J’s Rock the Bells brand has launched the Hip-Hop Is Essential collection.

The music veteran’s apparel line has evolved to reflect the ‘Loungin’ hitmaker’s latest preferences, which he has hailed as “high-quality, self-assured, versatile and comfortable”.

The 53-year-old star – whose real name is Todd Smith – said in a statement: “I used to rock streetwear all the time because it was comfortable and stylish.

“As my life has evolved, the current offerings don’t speak to my station in life. Today’s streetwear doesn’t always fit right and can be too hard to get. I wanted to create something that represents me: high-quality, self-assured, versatile, and comfortable.”

Products include hoodies, pants, shorts, and tank tops in pastel shades for summer and neutrals for fall.

Prices range from between $35 and $85.

The Essentials collection comes after Rock the Bells dropped the Chain Collection inspired by hip-hop culture in December.

The rapper and actor joined forces with designer Alexander-John on the line to celebrate the importance of the chain as a mode of expression throughout hip-hop’s history.

Alexander-John said: “LL has been my idol since I was a kid and an inspiration to me as a young Black guy. This guy is everything you need to be as a guy. When I saw she was connected, we started having conversations and she said, ‘We’ve got to get you to do something for LL.’ The feeling was mutual. She made it happen.”

LL gushed: “He had his ear to the street and I thought the design was unique and special — adventurous but still disciplined — and I said, ‘I would love to have him work on a collection for us, something people are going to love.’”

The line – which includes hoodies, jogging bottoms and a duffle bag – was made in “homage” to the custom jewellery and graffiti which is “synonymous” to hip-hop culture

The sneaker designer said: “LL said we don’t have to reinvent the wheel, hip-hop is a classic, timeless thing and this is meant to bring homage to the culture.

“I said, ‘How do we bridge the gap between this generation and what LL was inspired by,’ and the chains are that synonymous thing — everybody understands getting their own custom jewellery made. I attacked it as an art form coming off graffiti and hip-hop with the chain representing that thing that a lot of rappers used to express their personal style and logos and what they stood for.”

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