Lil’ Kim: From Junior M.A.F.I.A. to ‘Hard Core’ Debut
Lil’ Kim was introduced to the world with the single “Player’s Anthem,” She demonstrated her vocal flow on that of the Notorious B.I.G. with added ferocity and grunts while her image revolved around her sex appeal. It was Wallace who encouraged her to cultivate a lascivious style that would be dubbed “gangsta porno rap.”
Christopher Wallace’s mother told the Washington Post in 2000, “That all Wallace would hear that time were Christopher and Kim singing.
In November 1996 on Undeas Records, which was a subsidiary label of Big Beat, itself a subsidiary of Atlantic Records, Lil’ Kim released her debut solo album, Hard Core. With Wallace as executive producer, he also rapped about four of the songs. Hard Core showcased more of the raunchy and lyrical wordplay that the public had already heard on Conspiracy. Critics loved Kim’s raw, unapologetic flow, which was way more explicit than that of established female rappers like Queen Latifah and MC Lyte. The album was certified double-platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America and debuted at No. 11 on the Billboard 200 album chart.
By now Kim’s image was causing as much of a stir as her fearlessly promiscuous music. With blue-eyed contact lenses, blond wigs and breast implants she had changed her appearance dramatically. She was called as Black Madonna by Vogue’s editor, Andre Leon Talley. But it leads to the question that is Lil’ Kim a victim, or a feminist icon, or perhaps even both?
Kim was discovered and developed as an artist by Christopher Wallace and soon they became lovers too, though their relationship dramatic. During Wallace’s marriage to the R&B singer Faith Evans, they continued to sleep together. But on March 9, 1997, Wallace was killed in Los Angeles. This tragic incident hit her hard and later she struggled to move on.
Her next album, The Notorious K.I.M., was released after four years of her debut. On the album, she worked with Puff Daddy in an attempt to stay connected to Biggie’s legacy. Guest artists included Grace Jones, Redman, Cee-Lo Green and Mary J. Blige. The album debuted at No. 4 on the Billboard 200 chart, was certified platinum. Her album was generally well received by both audiences and critics alike.
Lil’ Kim’s celebrity status skyrocketed with her next project. In March 2001, she joined forces with singers Pink, Mya and Christina Aguilera with Rockwilder and Missy Elliott producing to remake Patti Labelle’s “Lady Marmalade” for the Moulin Rouge soundtrack. It held the No. 1 slot on the Billboard 100 chart for five weeks, despite never being officially released as a single. The following year it won a Grammy award for Best Pop Collaboration with Vocals firmly establishing Kim as one of the most sought-after rappers of the early 21st century.
Who’s here Lil’ Kim fan?