KIM : "La
CO-STARRING MISSY ELLIOTT, 50 CENT, TWISTA, SWIZZ BEATZ, STYLES P.
It's a rare thing to achieve icon status in music today,
but Lil Kim, with her naughty-but-clever wordplay, bombshell beauty and enormous presence (despite her 4'11" frame), has earned that title. With three albums under her Fendi belt, a host of scene stealing cameos on hits from everyone from Jay-Z to Missy Elliot, movie roles, cosmetic contracts and the eyes of the fashion world on her, Kim has risen to heights that no other woman in hip hop has even come close to.
Originally part of the late Notorious B.I.G.'s rap collective Junior
M.A.F.I.A., in which she was the lone female, Kim star power shone brightly on smashes like "Player's Anthem" and "Get Money".
Her thugged-out Betty Boop delivery on those tracks helped propel Junior M.A.F.I.A.'s 1995 album, Conspiracy, into Billboard's top 10 chart and established her as the lyrical Bonnie to Biggie's Clyde.
In 1996, under the nurturing tutelage of Biggie, Kim went into the studio to
record her debut album, the witty, rugged, sexually brazen Hardcore. With a
team of A-list producers like Sean "Puffy" Combs, Jermaine Dupri and
Prestige behind her, Kim kicked in the door with hits like "No Time", "Queen
Bitch" and "Crush on You"-shooting Hardcore to platinum status and further
establishing Kim as the reigning queen of hip hop.
But, at a time when the Queen Bee should have been toasting her success,
tragedy struck and changed her life forever.
Her friend, lover, mentor and creative partner, The Notorious B.I.G., was gunned down in a drive by shooting in Los Angeles on March 9th, 1997. And though Kim always penned her own rhymes, it was Biggie who would be by her side in the studio, guiding her. His death not only shattered Kim personally and emotionally, but also challenged her creatively as she embarked on her highly anticipated follow-up to Hardcore.
In 1998, with Sean "Puffy" Combs serving as an executive producer, Kim,
who had just launched her own label, Queen Bee Records, went to work on The Notorious K.I.M. a work that both celebrated her infamous raunchy side and found her digging deeper emotionally. She put her mack hand down on the
aggressive "Suck My D*%#" where she flips the script on male posturing, and
with friend Mary J. Blige, honored Biggie with the poignant, "Hold On".
With the platinum-selling The Notorious K.I.M., Kim's start once again
shone, as she graced the covers of a myriad of magazine including The
Source, XXL, Interview and Vibe. She landed the coveted spot of being a
spokesmodel for MAC cosmetic's Viva Glam lipstick, along with Mary J. Blige, and was also picked to endorse both Candie's Shoes and Iceberg Jeans. She also branched out onto the big screen, playing a small part in "She's All
That," appearing in Pamela Anderson's television series V.I.P., and can
currently be seen in the new comedy Juwanna Man. Kim also brought the heat
to the ensemble of Christina Aguilera, Pink, Mya and Miss Elliot for 2001
remake of "Lady Marmalade" for the Moulin Rouge Soundtrack, which not only won the MTV Video Music Award for Best Video from a Film-it took home the Grammy for the Best Pop Collaboration with vocals and the 2002 Grammy Awards.
When she's not running her label, acting, attending Paris fashion shows or
lending her fiery flow to fellow artists' tracks, the diminutive diva is in
the studio working on her 3rd solo effort set for release this fall.
And, while emcees come and go, there's no doubt that rap's Mae West is here
to stay. A multi-faceted superstar with unlimited potential, Kim has truly
emerged as an icon whose persona looms larger than hip hop-an icon, if you