On Sunday (Dec. 3), LL Cool J became the youngest ever and first hip-hop honoree at the 40th edition of the Kennedy Center Honors. LL celebrated the moment alongside honorees Lionel Richie, Gloria Estefan, Norman Lear, and dancer Carmen de Lavallade.

To help pay tribute to the hip-hop legend, Queen Latifah, MC Lyte, Questlove, Darryl “DMC” McDaniels, Busta Rhymes, and DJ Z-Trip collaborated on a lively club scene that took over the Kennedy Center stage.

In a recent interview, LL told Billboard “It’s nice to be first, nice to be the guy they chose, and I want to represent hip-hop to the fullest and really continue to love this culture, elevate the culture and push it forward.”

“Dreams don’t have deadlines, we can keep evolving. We’re a legitimate part of entertainment, we’re a legitimate part of American history and culture,” quoted DMC of rap group Run DMC. “L’s going to go in, Run-D.M.C.’s gonna go in, Public Enemy’s gonna go in. And once we’re all in I think it’s important that we let the world know about the pre-‘Rappers Delight’ artists who came before us — the real first rappers, people don’t know about them yet, but they will.”

The ceremony will air on CBS on Dec. 26.

Photo credit: Getty Images

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