Kimberly’s Early Life
On July 11, 1974 Lil Kim was born as Kimberly Denise Jones in Bedford-Stuyvestant, Brooklyn, New York– better known as BedStuy. Her Trinadian parents, Ruby Mae Jones and Linwood Jones, sent her to Queen of All Saints in Brooklyn Catholic school. Her parents split when she was eight years old due to her father, Linwood, becoming physically and mentally abusive towards Ruby Mae. This changed everything for Lil Kim. She then relocated to New Rochelle, New York with her mother and brother, and her mother bang to struggle with supporting the family and money. This caused Ruby Mae to handover custody to their father Linwood.
She began having an interest in dating boys. Kim started dating boys at the age of 13, and her father was furious. He started calling her names like bitch and whore. Living with her father was insanely toxic, he become so verbally and physically violent Lil Kim was forced to stab him with a pair of scissors one day. She later left home at 14. Kim started staying with neighbors, older men who would groom and house her for sex, sex worked, and dealt drugs for drug dealers. She later dropped out of school at 17, and met Biggie Smalls– Christopher Wallace. He changed her world tremendously.
Kickoff to Lil’ Kim
Biggie Smalls was not only the hip hop artist, Notorious B.I.G. but a small time drug dealer. He met Lil Kim on the corner, and she confidently freestyles for him. Due to B.I.G being signed to Bad Boy Entertainment, he had the platform he needed to kickstart his own group, which was called Junior M.A.F.I.A. Lil Kim was the only female artist to become of a part of Junior M.A.F.I.A. Kim’s 4’11 height and being the only female caused the name Lil Kim to sprout. Later, she debuted on the Players Anthem single by Junior M.A.F.I.A. This introduced Lil Kim to the world, but the goal was to focuses the her sex appeal. Her sex appeal sold the music; it was looked at as gangster porno rap by Biggie Smalls.
This introduction helped her gain acknowledgment. She was now known as Lil Kim, and she had a chance to boost her music career. Lil Kim released her debut solo album, HardCore , in 1996 when she was 22 years old.
Notorious K.I.M. With a Spin
Although Kim and Biggie were coworkers and friends, they had a romantic relationship that affected her tremendously. He married Faith Evans, the R&B singer and songwriter, in 1994 not too long after meeting her. Lil Kim was well aware of the marriage but continued the sexual relationship with Notorious Biggie Smalls. In 2016, she admitted in interview with Entertainment Weekly that he became her friend, lover, and her everything, and she that she was his biggest fan. She believed they were a match made in heaven.
While recording HardCore in 1996, Lil Kim discovered she was pregnant for the rapper but got an abortion due to the complications and complexity of their relationship. They had a very violent relationship, and a specific altercation ended in him pulling a gun out on her in the studio. She attracted many violent men, but he’s one she just couldn’t leave. His sudden death in March 1997 broke her heart, but she continued on by honoring him every chance she got.
Lil Kim later released an album called, “The Notorious K.I.M.” in 2000. She wanted to stay connected to Biggie’s legacy. The album debuted at No. 4 on the Billboard 200. This was a certified platinum album.
Style & Influence
Lil Kim is known for her image and style. Kim started wearing colorful wigs as well as colored contacts with an outfit that would be considered eye catching and sexy.
She stated that she was always inspired by MC Lyte, Salt-N-Pepa, and Roxanne Shante. These people all reminded her of herself in some way. Lil Kim viewed her and MC Lyte as equals due to being from Brooklyn and having similar sounds. Salt-N-Pepa inspired her due to their bold and aggressive expressions towards men and sexuality. She identified more with Roxanne Shanté because of their lifestyle growing up such as being surrounded by men and being a “street girl.” She also was inspired by Queen Latifah and Mary J. Blige, who are also known for their being authentic and being lyricist. Each of these women were authentic in a way she felt that she was herself.
Some men that inspired her is B.I.G. Notorious, Slick Rick, Eric B. & Rakim.
After Her B.I.G. Career
During her time in jail for perjury and conspiracy for lying to a federal grand jury in 2005, she released her album, “The Naked Truth.” Even though some named the album to be one of the greatest albums of all time by a female rapper, it didn’t do well on the charts due to lack of promotion. After being incarcerated, Lil Kim was released in 2008, and she struggled greatly to get her career back on track. She started to tap into the reality television scene.
Reality TV shows included:
Pussycat Dolls Present: the Search for the Next Doll
Dancing with the Stars
She had a knowing feud with Nicki Minaj due to what she believed to be imitation and the female queen of rap title.
Lil Kim Not So Lil Kim
Lil’ Kim deals with low self-esteem due to failed relationships that were abusive mentally, emotionally, and physically. They often cheated with women who had Eurocentric features and told her she wasn’t pretty enough. Also, in New Rochelle she felt insecure about her looks due to looking different from the other (white) girls. Therefore, later on she bleached her skin and wore colored contacts.
Lil Kim later revealed she had to get a nose job due to abuse from her ex boyfriend.
VMAs – Video of the Year
MTV Video Music Awards – Best Video from a Film
Teen Choice Award – Music: Choice Summer Song
Grammy – Best Pop Collaboration with Vocals
MTV Video music Awards – Best Video from a Film
BET Awards- I am Hip-Hop Award
Lil Kim uses her platform to educate and help others with domestic violence, HIV/AIDS, child neglect, and homelessness. Due to surviving each of these, she has the ability to sympathize and provide support where she know it is definitely needed.
Lil Kim was undeniably known for her sex appeal, hardcore lyrics, and sassy demeanor. She made top of the charts with 42 singles (including 25 as a featured artist). She was one female artist who paved the way for exploring and expressing sexuality in music, just as her influencers Queen Latifah and Salt-N-Pepa. Although, her music career slowed down after jail she is still influencing artists such as Nicki Minaj. She continues to be well respected and thought of when the “female rap artists” conversation comes up. Lil Kim is noted to be the “Original Queen Bee” and “The Greatest.”
The Notorious K.I.M
La Bella Mafia
The Naked Truth
EXTRA OF LIL KIM