Lil’ Kim

Lil’ Kim


Lil' Kim (born Kimberly Denise Jones on July 11, 1974) grew up in Brooklyn, New York, living much of her adolescent life on the streets after being expelled from home.

Sometime between then and her super-stardom, she performed a freestyle rap for The Notorious B.I.G.. This got her music career started in 1995, as Biggie’s group Junior M.A.F.I.A., whose debut album Conspiracy generated three hit singles, two of which contained verses from Lil Kim (“I Need You Tonight” and “I Get Money”).

Lil' Kim’s debut studio album Hard Core (1996) earned Double Platinum status and spawned three consecutive #1 rap hits: “No Time”, “Not Tonight (Ladies Night Remix)”, and “Crush on You”, a record for a female rapper. Her following albums, The Notorious K.I.M. (2000) and La Bella Mafia (2003), were certified Platinum, making her the only female rapper besides Missy Elliott to have at least 3 platinum albums.

She was featured on the single, “Lady Marmalade”, which also had guest vocals by fellow recording artists Mya, Pink and Christina Aguilera (a remake of the 1975 smash hit, originally recorded by Patti LaBelle) which went to #1 on Billboard’s Hot 100, making her the first female rapper to have a #1 on that chart. In addition, the remake won two MTV Video Music Awards including Video of the Year, and a Grammy Award for Best Pop Collaboration with Vocals at the 44th Grammy Awards in 2002.

In 2005, she served a year-long prison sentence for lying to a jury about her friends' involvement in a shooting four years earlier. During her incarceration, her fourth album The Naked Truth was released. She returned to the public eye in 2009 with an appearance on Dancing with the Stars. Parting ways with major labels, she remained independent in the coming years, issuing a handful of mixtapes and branching out to other creative projects. After over a decade, her fifth studio full-length album 9 materialized in 2019.

With her hardcore posturing and sexually explicit rhymes, Lil' Kim is considered a hip-hop legend for blazing a trail for other like-minded and liberated female artists in the ‘90s and beyond. Aside from music, she is also known for her risk-taking and luxurious approach to fashion that influenced many, being often cited as a fashion icon. Throughout her life and career, the original Queen Bee has been noted for inspiring and helping others embrace their sexuality and individuality.