BET Joins Forces With LL COOL J’s Rock the Bells to Confer a New Award Marking the Undeniable Influence of Hip Hop Artists on Mainstream Culture





NEW YORK–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Today, BET announces a new partnership with ROCK THE BELLS, the global lifestyle brand and preeminent voice for classic and timeless hip hop, founded by LL COOL J to debut a brand new award at the 2021 BET HIP HOP AWARDS. The “ROCK THE BELLS CULTURAL INFLUENCE AWARD” honors the massive cultural impact hip hop artistry has on popular culture, bridging the gap between all generations of hip hop lovers.

Global entertainment icon, 2021 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee and founder and CEO of Rock The Bells, LL COOL J, will present the first-ever “Rock The Bells Cultural Influence Award” to Grammy-Award winning rapper, producer, entrepreneur and four-time “BET Hip Hop Awards” nominee TYLER, THE CREATOR, honoring his impressive cultural contributions, talent and unbound creativity, that has cemented him as one of the most innovative forces in music.

In addition to the “Rock The Bells Cultural Influence Award,” Tyler, The Creator is nominated for four 2021 “BET Hip Hop Awards” including ‘Best Live Performer,’ ‘Hip Hop Artist of The Year,’ ‘Hip Hop Album of The Year,’ and ‘Producer of The Year.’ The “Rock The Bells Cultural Influence Award” is presented to a younger, innovative, otherworldly artist that has significantly impacted the culture — while uplifting their community. Future recipients of the award will have displayed a profound respect for Hip-Hop and have inspired others with their art and actions – elevating and pushing the culture forward. Honorees are selected via an editorial process including LL COOL J and current Rock The Bells Icons.

The 2021 “BET Hip Hop Awards” premieres Tuesday, October 5, 2021, at 9:00 PM ET/PT.

“At Rock The Bells part of our mission is to bridge the gap of Hip Hop’s rich history to the present, which is why we are thrilled to team up with BET, a company that has always been at the forefront of Black culture,” said LL COOL J. “I am proud to honor Tyler, The Creator, with the first-ever ‘Rock The Bells Cultural Influence Award,’ which celebrates an artist who continues to break down the conventional boundaries of Hip Hop culture. His fearlessness and creativity speaks to the influence he’ll have on future Hip hop generations.”

“LL COOL J is an entertainment icon whose work transcends decades across music, film, television, publishing, fashion, and philanthropy,” said Connie Orlando, EVP Specials, Music Programming & Music Strategy at BET. “No stranger to the ‘Hip Hop Awards’ stage, we look forward to LL’s return with this new Rock The Bells partnership. This award will celebrate innovative hip hop artists who are shaking the industry, like Tyler, The Creator, and who will carry the hip hop torch for generations to come.”


LL COOL J is the founder and CEO of Rock The Bells, the preeminent voice for classic and timeless Hip Hop. The modern media brand, specifically designed for Gen X and those with the Strictly OG mindset, focuses on content, commerce, and experiences that honor the CULTURE and the core elements of Hip-Hop — MCs, DJs, Breakdancers, Graffiti Artists – on one robust platform.

Known as a global entertainment icon and entrepreneur with a career spanning four decades, LL COOL J’s impressive body of work includes the successful SiriusXM channel “LL COOL J’s Rock The Bells Radio,” ten consecutive platinum-plus selling albums, a New York Times bestselling book and the distinction of being the first MC to receive the prestigious Kennedy Center Honor.

He currently stars in the CBS hit primetime drama series NCIS: Los Angeles, which is entering its thirteenth season. He is a two-time Grammy® Award winner, NAACP Image Award winner, and 2021 Rock Roll Hall of Fame inductee. LL COOL J is also a passionate and avid philanthropist.


Tyler, The Creator is an auteur. A recording artist, songwriter, producer, director, designer and more; he first emerged in 2007 as co-founder of the collective Odd Future before going on to co-create and star in the cult TV show Loiter Squad on Adult Swim with his Odd Future cohorts. This was just the beginning for Tyler — since then he has become a Grammy Award winning artist, releasing six studio albums, launching an internationally acclaimed music festival (Camp Flog Gnaw) that has sold out 8 years running, creating two lifestyle brands (Golf Wang and Golf Le Fleur) that have collaborated with heritage brands like Converse, Lacoste and more, as well as developing two more TV shows (The Jellies! for Adult Swim and Nuts & Bolts for Viceland). His 2019 album IGOR debuted at #1 on the Billboard 200 chart, saw him crowned GQ’s Man of the Year and Wall Street Journal Magazine’s Innovator of the Year in addition to being named Best Rap Album at the 62nd Annual Grammy Awards. His most recent album CALL ME IF YOU GET LOST was released in June 2021 to universal acclaim and debuted at #1 on the Billboard 200 chart once more.

The 2021 “BET HIP HOP AWARDS” is heating up with a newly announced lineup of presenters and performers. Young Thug, Gunna, Bia, Lil Jon, Baby Keem, and Isaiah Rashad are set to perform and blaze the Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre stage. Hip Hop powerhouses Trina, Jermaine Dupri, and Remy Ma, alongside R&B superstar Tank, are slated to present. Rap legend Big Daddy Kane joins for a special tribute to the late Biz Markie. Additionally, comedians, actors, hosts of the “85 South Show” podcast, and stars of “Wild N’ Out” – comedy supergroup 85 South (Karlous Miller, DC Young Fly, and Chico Bean) return as co-hosts of the annual show premiering Tuesday, October 5, at 9 PM ET/PT.

Rapper, entrepreneur, philanthropist, and actor Nelly will receive the 2021 “I Am Hip Hop” Award. Previously announced nominees include Cardi B, Lil Durk, and Megan Thee Stallion, leading the pack with nine nominations each, followed by Drake with an impressive eight nods. Tyler, The Creator, and Metro Boomin tie for third-most nominations securing four nods each. Other notable nominees include 21 Savage, DJ Khaled, J. Cole, and Pooh Shiesty, who received three each. Bia, Chris Brown, Doja Cat, Jay Z, Lil Nas X, Migos, Nicki Minaj, Roddy Ricch, Saweetie, Young Thug, and Yung Bleu received two nominations each. For the full list of nominees, selected by a voting academy of esteemed music industry insiders, click HERE.

For more information about the “BET HIP HOP AWARDS”, including the latest news and updates, visit

Join the conversation on social media by logging on to multiple BET social media platforms:

  • On Twitter by using the hashtag: #HipHopAwards; follow us @HipHopAwards and @BET.
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BET, a subsidiary of ViacomCBS Inc. (NASDAQ: VIACA, VIAC), is the nation’s leading provider of quality entertainment, music, news and public affairs television programming for the African American audience. The primary BET channel is in 125 million households and can be seen in the United States, Canada, the Caribbean, the United Kingdom, sub-Saharan Africa and France. BET is the dominant African-American consumer brand with a diverse group of business extensions including BET+, the preeminent streaming service for the Black audience;, a leading Internet destination for Black entertainment, music, culture, and news; BET HER, a 24-hour entertainment network targeting the African-American Woman; BET Music Networks – BET Jams, BET Soul and BET Gospel; BET Home Entertainment; BET Live, BET’s growing festival business; BET Mobile, which provides ringtones, games and video content for wireless devices; and BET International, which operates BET around the globe.


BET “Hip Hop Awards” is an annual celebration that pays homage to a culture that changed the world while highlighting the best in hip hop music. Year after year, BET delivers the best in hip-hop for an unforgettable night of performances, cyphers and tributes honoring hip-hop legends that have and continue to make hip-hop culture a global force.


Jesse Collins Entertainment (JCE) is a full-service television and film production company and has played an integral role in producing many of television’s most memorable moments in music entertainment. The Emmy® nominated company has a multi-year overall agreement with ViacomCBS Cable Networks. On the theatrical film side, the company also has a first look on JCE’s film development projects which could include Viacom’s film entities such as Paramount Players. The award-winning and critically acclaimed television that JCE has produced includes miniseries—”The New Edition Story” and “The Bobby Brown Story;” scripted series—”American Soul” and “Real Husbands of Hollywood;” unscripted series – “Cardi Tries;” children’s series—”Bookmarks: Celebrating Black Voices;” award shows—”BET Awards,” “Black Girls Rock!,” “BET Honors,” “UNCF’s An Evening of Stars,” “BET Hip Hop Awards,” “ABFF Honors” and “Soul Train Awards;” specials—”John Lewis: Celebrating A Hero,” “Love & Happiness: An Obama Celebration,” “Change Together: From The March On Washington To Today,” “Stand Up for Heroes,” “Dear Mama,” “Amanda Seales: I Be Knowin’,” “Def Comedy Jam 25” and “Leslie Jones: Time Machine;” as well as competition/game shows—”Sunday Best,” “Hip Hop Squares,” “Nashville Squares” and “Rhythm & Flow.” Jesse Collins, founder and CEO of the company, is the executive producer of all programming. He is also a co-executive producer for the iconic Grammy Awards. Most recently, he was executive producer of The 2021 Pepsi Super Bowl Halftime Show and produced The 2021 Academy Awards. He will next executive produce the 2021 American Music Awards. Go to for more information on the company.


Rock The Bells is the preeminent voice for classic and timeless Hip-Hop. Founded in 2018 by LL COOL J Rock The Bells focuses on content, commerce and experiences that honor the CULTURE and the core elements of Hip-Hop — MC’s, DJ’s, Breakers, Graffiti Artists — and more. Rock The Bells is the bridge between OG’s and those inspired by their groundbreaking influences on the culture. Visit us at, stream LL COOL J’s Rock The Bells Radio on SiriusXM Channel 43 and follow us @RockTheBells – keep it locked.

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Chloe Duverge

Luis Defrank

For Rock The Bells
Andrew Valdes

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