LL Cool J made history on Thursday when it was announced that he would be the first rapper to ever receive the Kennedy Center Honors. The annual award for lifetime achievement is now in its 40th year, and in addition to LL, Lionel Richie, Gloria Estefan, Norman Lear, and Carmen de Lavallade will be recognized.
In a statement given to The Washington Post, the MC expressed his gratitude. "This is the biggest musical award you can receive,” he said. “To be recognized by your country, and to be able to represent hip-hop as an art form is amazing. I’m surprised, grateful, humbled and honored.”
On Instagram, LL spoke more on his nomination, writing, "To be the first rap artist honored by the @KennedyCenter is beyond anything I could have imagined."
"I dedicate this honor to the hiphop artists who came before me and those who came after me. This simply proves that dreams don't have deadlines," he continued.
The Kennedy Center Honors will take place in Washington, D.C. on December 3 in the Kennedy Center's Opera House, and broadcast on CBS on December 9.
Thumbnail image from Kevin Winter/Getty Images