Why LL Cool J nearly drowned in 1999
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Why LL Cool J nearly drowned in 1999

LL Cool J was one of the 1980s’ most exciting and skilful MCs. Born and raised in Queens, the lyricist (real name James Smith) was initially part of an underground trio known as the Extravagant Three. However, after sending his demo to Def Jam, he quickly got noticed by Rick Rubin and began to enter the mainstream with the help of Rubin and Russell Simmons behind him.

Despite being a rapper at heart, like many musicians, including Method Man, Ice Cube and 50 Cent, as LL Cool J’s relevance began to wane in the 2000s, he turned to acting and the world of television. Smith has appeared in multiple shows, such as NCIS: Los Angeles and the sitcom In The House.

As well as television, LL successfully made it in Hollywood and appeared in a series of box-office smashes such as Charlie’s Angels, S.W.A.T, and Edison. However, on one occasion, Smith nearly drowned while filming.

During the filming of the 1999 movie Deep Blue Sea, starring actors such as Saffron Burrows, Samuel L. Jackson, and Michael Rapaport, Smith found out that he wasn’t as proficient a swimmer as he once thought.

During an interview with VIBE magazine, Smith recalled an instance where a film crew member’s brief disappearance to grab food to eat led to him almost taking a deadly plunge.

Recalling the near-death moment, Smith told the publication, “I was in the middle of a take and [they called] ‘Lunch!’ and the guy holding the little [shark] joystick goes. They just bailed on me.” 

However, the Bigger & Deffer emcee managed to make it through by climbing to safety after receiving help from an assistant. Recalling how they helped him after the incident, Smith continued, “They said ‘Oh!’ and gave me this little breathing apparatus, like something you blow out and then breathe in.” 

He added, “I blow out, I breathe in, all water! Took it to another level. But I ended up struggling and getting out, I climbed out, and there was one dude sitting there with a cigarette, like, ‘I saw what happened.’ So, it was cool.” You can see the trailer for Deep Blue Sea below.