Rapper LL Cool J has a very special memory of late crooner LOU RAWLS - the smooth soul star once approached him at a record signing and asked for his autograph.

The rap star admits the late Rawls, who died last week (06JAN06), taught him humility and how to set an example to up-and-coming stars.

He says, "I may have had maybe one album out and we were doing an in-store appearance at a retail outlet and he came up to the table where I was signing and asked me for my autograph.

"I gave him the autograph and he put his arm around me and gave me love. From that day forth it taught me humility. Instead of taking it like a cocky kid, I took it as an incredible blessing.

"This was Lou Rawls and he was a superstar... I was 17-years-old and he had 40 albums then. That was an incredible moment for me because when I first started there were so many artists that weren't nice and who talked down to you and treated you like you were nobody and gave you attitude.

"He did the total opposite. It taught me a valuable lesson about how to treat upcoming artists as they're growing and going on with their career. He'll be sorely missed."