Lil Kim is an American rapper who got her start in music as a member of the hip hop group, Junior M.A.F.I.A in the mid 90’s. Although she didn’t enjoy the best of childhoods, having lived transiently on the streets for a period after running away from home as a teen, her luck changed when she was discovered by popular rapper, the Notorious B.I.G. Under his wing, she underwent vocal training and soon found herself a member of Junior M.A.F.I.A., a hip-hop singing group which B.I.G. played an instrumental part in supporting and promoting at the time. With her popularity on a surge, Kim soon began to embark on a solo music career in the mid 1990’s. Under Big Beat Records, the artist later released her debut album entitled, Hard Core in 1996; a second full-length album followed a few years afterwards in 2000.
Since she first turned her life around as a music artist in the 90’s, Lil Kim has released four full-length albums and thirty six singlesーnot counting the two studio albums and handful of singles which were released while she was a member of Junior M.A.F.I.A. Dubbed as the “Queen of Hip-Hop” by Pop Culture, the singer has won numerous awards over the years including a Grammy Award for her hit single, Lady Marmalade in 2002. On top of that, her collection also includes three MTV Music Video Awards, two VH1 Music Awards, two Soul Train Lady of Soul Awards, a Teen Choice Award, amongst many others. A five-time Grammy Award nominee (not including the one which she won), she was also included on Billboard’s list of “31 Female Rappers Who Changed Hip Hop” in 2014. To date, Lil Kim has sold well over 15,000,000 albums worldwide.
Besides her work with music, the rap superstar has also made several television and film appearances over the years. At the age of twenty five, Kim made her debut on the big screen in the 1999 comedy, She’s All That. Some of her other early acting projects include V.I.P. (1999), DAG (2001), Moesha (2001), Juwanna Mann (2002), Those Who Walk in Darkness (2003), American Dreams (2003) and The Game (2007), to list a few. Having successfully made a name for herself in the industry, the rapper has also been featured in a number of reality series such as The Apprentice (2004), Pussycat Dolls Present: Girlicious (2008) and Dancing with the Stars (2009).
So what has the Grammy Award-winning music artist been up to nowadays? What are some of her new endeavours? What happened to Lil Kim? Where is she now in 2018?
Lil Kim’s Early Life and Junior M.A.F.I.A. Days
Born on July 11, 1974, in Brooklyn, New York, Lil Kim (Real name: Kimberly Denise Jones) is the daughter of Ruby and Linwood Jones; she is the youngest out of two siblings. Growing up in the neighbourhood of Bedford-Stuyvesant, she was a student at Queen of All Saints Elementary School. When she was nine years old, her parents divorced; as a result, she was raised up mainly by her strict father, with whom she didn’t always get along with. Not seeing eye to eye, Kim eventually ran away from home during her early teen years and lived itinerantly on the streets. However lucky for her, the less-than-ideal lifestyle was put to an end when she was discovered by the American rapper, Christopher Wallace, otherwise known as the Notorious B.I.G. Not long after that, Kim went to Sarah J. Hale Vocational High School briefly for a couple of years, before transferring to the Brooklyn College Academy to finish her studies.
A key figure of both Kim’s artistic and personal life, the Notorious B.I.G. took the teen under his wing and eventually introduced her to joining the hip-hop group, Junior M.A.F.I.A. in the early 1990’s. After becoming a member at the age of nineteen, Kim and the rest of the members released their studio album entitled, Conspiracy in August 1995. Although it was met with mediocre success, having only sold 69,000 during the first week, the experience offered Kim her first taste of what it meant to be a music artist. Rising in popularity from her time with the group, Lil Kim’ eventually decided to embark on a solo music career; shortly after the release of Conspiracy, she began to work on material that later became the tracks of her debut album.
Lil Kim’s Eventual Solo Music Career
In November 1996, Lil Kim released her debut studio album, Hard Core. Released under Big Beat Records and Undeas Recordings, the album was created in collaboration with several producers including Puff Daddy (Sean Combs), David Willis, Jermaine Dupri, Stevie J., and various others. Praised by music critics for its lyrics and raunchy musical tone, the album consisted of fifteen tracks, many of which featured other artists such as Lil Cease, Ja-Z, as well as The Notorious B.I.G. Critically acclaimed, Hard Core was nothing short of a successful debut, having peaked nicely at number three on the US Top R&B and Hip Hop Albums Chart and at number eleven on the Billboard 200; it was also a hit across the border in Canada where it reached number nine. Lil Kim’s first RIAA certified album, Hard Core sold 78,000 copies during the initial week and has since sold over two million copies within the country. It eventually spawned three singles: No Time, Crush on You (Remix) and Not Tonight (Ladies Night Remix)ーtwo of which went on to peak amongst the top ten on the Billboard Hot 100 Chart.
Four years after her initial debut, Lil Kim released her second full-length album entitled, The Notorious K.I.M. in June 2000. Another commercial success for the artist, the album entered the Billboard 200 Chart at number four and quickly sold close to 229,000 units during the first week. Notable for combining various essential hip hop elements, The Notorious K.I.M. topped the Top R&B Albums Chart and also charted in half a dozen other countries including Canada, France, Germany and Switzerland, to name a few. Two singles were eventually spawned from the album, No Matter What They Say and How Many Licks?, which ranked in at number sixty and number fifteen respectively on the charts. Lil Kim’s second RIAA certified album in a row, it has since sold over 1.4 million copies in the US and well over 3.2 million copies across the globe.
The hip hop artist released her third studio album, La Bella Mafia in March 2003. Commended for its “radio-ready tracks”, Lil Kim’s performance in the album received many complimentsーher lyrical ability in particular were especially praised; positively received, the album currently holds a four and a half star rating from The Source. Although not a chart-topper, La Bella Mafia was a major success, having debuted at the fifth position on the Billboard 200 with over 166,000 sales during the first week. There were a few highlights out of its sixteen-song track list including The Jump Offーwhich soon became Lil Kim’s biggest hit single ever since 1997; it peaked at number seventeen on the Billboard Hot 100 Chart and also made its way to number eight on the Hot R&B/Hip Hop Songs Chart. As of October 2007, over two million copies of La Bella Mafia have been sold globally; it was also certified Platinum by the RIAA as of October 2003.
Carrying on with her singing and recording, Lil Kim released her fourth full-length album, The Naked Truth. Her last record with Atlantic Records, it featured twenty-two hip hop tracks, a number of which were collaborations with other R&B artists such as Tiny, Snoop Dogg and Game. At the receiving end of generally favourable reviews, The Naked Truth debuted at number six on the Billboard 200 in the US and at number three on the Top R&B Albums Chart. Despite its initial charting performance however, it soon fell off the ranks after a period of eight weeks, making it the singer’s shortest running album on the charts. The album spawned two singlesーWhoa and Lighters Up, the latter of which saw more success, having reached number thirty-one on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.
Following the release of The Naked Truth, Lil Kim never went on to release any more studio albums; however she did record a number of mix tapes, four to be exact. The first entitled, Ms. G.O.A.T. was made available in the summer of 2008. Produced by DJ Whoo Kid and Mister Cee, it was also the artist’s first musical project since her incarceration and eventual release. Often regarded as “a representation of Lil Kim’s return to the streets”, its disc consisted of twenty three songs including No One (Remix) and Kimmy More which featured Alicia Keys and Britney Spears respectively.
A few years later, Lil Kim released Black Friday in the early spring of 2011. Made available for purchase through Paypal, the mixtape contained multiple collaborations, two of which featured popular rappers Nicki Minaj and Birdman. From there, the R&B artist took a short break before returning to the music scene with the release of a new mixed tape entitled, Hard Core 2K14. Although it was originally scheduled for a release date of October 31, 2013, it was eventually pushed back due to Kim’s pregnancy at the time.
What’s Lil Kim Doing Now in 2018- Recent Updates
This spring, Lil Kim released her fourth mixed tape, Lil Kim Season in March 2016. Viewed as a major improvement from her preceding (more recent) works, it garnered many positive reviews from both fans and critics. Her third record with the I.R.S. Records label, Lil Kim Season showcased ten new tracks including Fountain Bleu, Diego, Summer Sixteen (Beemix) and Panda, to name a few; similar to her earlier works however, many of the hip hop songs also featured other artists such as Maino and Kevin Gates. The mixed tape spawned two singles #Mine and Did it for Brooklyn. Shortly after its release, Lil Kim teased fans about an upcoming sequel entitled, Lil Kim Season 2: The Originals, which is currently tentatively set for a December 2016 release.
A few months ago this July, the R&B artist was honoured at the VH1 Hip Hop Honors Ceremony, an annual event held at the Manhattan Hammerstein Ballroom, which recognizes and honours those who have contributed to the hip hop scene. First established in 2004, the television special continued on a yearly basis throughout the 2000’s until 2010, after which there was a prolonged six year break; it was started up again in July 2016. Besides Lil Kim, other honourees of this year include the popular Missy Elliott, Queen Latifah and the hip hop trio, Salf-N-Pepa.
If you’d like to stay connected with the award-winning R&B star, you can do so by following Lil Kim’s online presence on social mediaーyou can find her on Twitter under the handle @LilKim or on Instagram under the username @lilkimthequeenbee. If you’re a fan, you probably also wouldn’t want to miss out on her official Facebook page (@LilKimTheQueenBee) so make sure you give that a visit!