Queens rapper LL Cool J is being celebrated in his home borough with a statue in Flushing Meadows Corona Park that also has a solar-powered audio setup that plays his music, TimeOut points out. The piece, which is located in the middle of David Dinkins Circle, is called "Going Back to the Meadows" and it's the work of Queens-raised sculptor Sherwin Banfield, the same artist responsible for the sculptures of Phife Dawg, Prodigy and Jam Master Jay that launched at the Queens Public Library in 2019. Banfield documented the process on his Instagram, and here's some of what he wrote along the way:

This bronze bust of @llcoolj was a labor of love sculpted on Governor’s Island as part of @lmcc_nyc Gov Island Residency Initiative Sept to Dec 2020. I would leave Queens in the early am hours to catch the first ferry out to the Gov Is. to maximize my time creating on the island. Using traditional techniques of modeling clay and a multitude of reference photographs, I created my artistic interpretation of LL, a collaboration of facial stages emerging from an anatomical foundation. Using my years of lessons in study of ancient Kemetic statues, Greco Roman and Italian Renaissance masters, I strived to model the essence, strength, fortitude, sensitivity and determination of LL into this portrait bust. Each application and modification of clay is a thought that accumulate to the finished portrait, like the selected notes of a musician that conclude to a song.. the final product is relatable and recognizable.. not a duplication of nature’s gift, but an interpretation. The real gift is here and still relevant, inspiring generations of fans. From Hollis to Hollywood and beyond. The G.O.A.T.🐐

[...] The Origins Story..

In the spring of 2019 I got a phone call from Darryl Pringle @darrylpringle3 . He got my connect from JMJ’s couz @venusmizell , heard about my JMJ monument @acypherinqueens and knew he needed to talk to me about making a monument for @llcoolj. A few days later we met at O’Connell Park in St. Albans where LL hosts his @thejumpandballfoundation annual community event. Darryl is a childhood friend of Todd and felt LL needed his own monument in his home town for all he has done for his community. I didnt need much convincing, I believed him and he believed in me. We talked about logistics for public sculpture then he went to work calling whom ever he believed could help support & fund this idea. We met with @senatorcomrie and he invited @qnsarts to meet to discuss funding ideas. I took this as a personal project and searched for funding and support within the arts community. I received support from @qnsarts grant, @lmcc_nyc studio residency, @nyfacurrent corps grant and @nycparks / @allianceforfmcp grant.. all which required application submittal and competitive selection.. the stars were align. Darryl was supportive of the project all the way through. I brought his idea to completion by designing, executing and installing in FMCP the hosts of the world’s fair, for the world to admire.
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Much admiration to Darryl and everyone that assisted in making this monument🙏🏾
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One and a half years in the making!

The LL Cool J piece will be on display through November 23, 2022, and it plays LL's music from noon-5PM every Monday, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

Check out some pictures and videos below...

LL Cool J
photo via LL Cool J Instagram
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