Of all the rappers who’ve tried to parlay their hip-hop hit-making into Hollywood stardom, LL Cool J has had the greatest success, landing the co-lead in CBS’ top-rated NCIS: Los Angeles (Tuesdays, 9/8c), a role that just earned him an NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Actor in a Drama Series. “I won’t be the next Napoleon,” jokes the 43-year-old, who plays Special Agent Sam Hanna. “But I think there are a lot of roles and stories in all types of genres that I’m right for and would have a good time bringing to the screen.” That’s not to say he’s closing the door on rap. He’s working on new songs and is involved in a digital music distribution network called boomdizzle.com that will allow composers and recording artists to collaborate virtually. “I think it’s going to revolutionize music,” he says. We asked him for some manly advice.

MADE MAN: What do you never leave the house without?
LL COOL J: A phone is the number one answer. After a phone it would have to be a watch. You have to know what time it is. And you’ve got to have a pair of shoes on and a nice outfit.

MM: What’s your drink of choice after a tough day?
LL: A tall glass of sleep! Sometimes I drink a cold glass of iced tea or I might drink some hot chocolate.

MM: What grooming, style or fitness thing can a guy do in the morning to feel and look good all day?
LL: I like to give myself an hour and a half before I leave to think for 30 minutes, study for 30 minutes, and wash and get fresh for 30 minutes. I work out in the evening because of my schedule. A lot of times I’m up too early to work out.

MM: Best advice you ever got about women and who gave it to you?
LL: My mother always said, “Women don’t like stupid men.”

MM: What can NCIS: Los Angeles teach guys about being better men?
LL: Stand up for your principles. Stand up for what you believe in. Have the courage to try to protect the weak even when you’re weak yourself.

MM: Any parting words of wisdom?
LL: You don’t know how much you can do until you do all you can do.