Rapper Lil Kim (real name Kimberly Jones), who is must of us were introduced to by the late Notorious B.I.G., is ready to pop. Just a few months before delivering her first child, the Brooklyn-Bred rapper chatted with Billboard for their ’31 of the Greatest Female Rappers Series’. The 38-year-old femcee chats about being a trend setter, incarceration (in 2005, Kim was convicted of three counts of conspiracy and one count of perjury for lying to a Federal grand jury about her and her friends’ involvement in a 2001 shooting outside the Hot 97 studios in Manhattan. Kim served 12 months). Check out a few excerpts below.
Since I was a little girl, I used to always be the only girl in my group. My family was full of boys. When they needed an extra man to play football, it’d be me filling that space. They didn’t treat me like a sister. They would play with me like I was one of the guys. I was always one of the guys.
I tend to be dubbed as a trendsetter. My style was always different. Before I got into the industry, I was super sexy. I’ve always been super sexy and feminine. Biggie’s partner from the label, Un (Lance ‘Un’ Rivera) knew the essence of being fly. He said, ‘I don’t want to change her image.’ He wanted to make me more sexy and put me in mink coats. They’d spend their own money. My record company didn’t understand a female rapper being sexy. They thought I needed to look like MC Lyte, wear sweat suits and all that.
The Making of “Hard Core”
There were a lot of things going on during the making of the album that it became stressful at times: Some personal [and] some business. But it was mostly fun. I got to see something that I created. And I was young, people don’t get it. I came into the industry as a baby. I was 17-years-old. By the time we were signing our contract for Junior M.A.F.I.A., I was barely turning 18. My mom wasn’t really feeling me doing the music thing, and I thought I had to bring her in to sign for me but I literally just turned 18 so I didn’t need her to. I was able to sign my own contract.
I don’t regret anything in my life. There’s things I wish I would have done differently but I don’t regret how I handled the situation. I don’t regret it. Being who I am, is who I am. At the end of the day, my character is my character. I’m not going to change that for nobody.
Advice from Notorious B.I.G.
B.I.G. was sure I was good long-term. He wanted me to be the top bitch in the game. He named me Queen Bitch. In the studio he’d show me things about rapping and music. He knew that I idolized him and he’s who I wanted to be. I would watch him in awe. He was so amazing to me to watch: His energy and they way he moved as a big guy. He was very smart; His mom being a teacher probably had something to do with that. B.I.G. is B.I.G.
The baby dictates what days I go to the studio. I did work in the earlier stages of [my pregnancy]. My belly is pretty out there right now, but, I’m still working.
Some of my fans want me to make one type of music. I love them, and will always give them what they want but I’m just not going to go back to what’s not going to work right now. Even the way I used to dress, the Lil’ Kim now can’t do that. It’s about reinventing and evolving.
One of the best lines from Jay Z, that made me feel him even more is: ‘… Want my old shit, buy my old albums.’ I’m smart enough to know to not fuck with a classic.
My new music is not going to be ‘Hard Core.’ It’s going to be sexy, of course. But you can’t do the same beautiful thing twice, the same exact way. Lightning [can] strike twice but it’s not going to be the same design or come at the same place. I just want to be creative.
Click here for the full interview.