On this day, July 11, in hip-hop history…
1974: Brooklyn native, Kimberly “Lil Kim” Jones, is a 19-year veteran in the rap game. As protégé of the late Notorious B.I.G., Kim began her career as the sole female face of rap group, Junior M.A.F.I.A in the mid 1990s.
The 1996 solo release of her double Platnium debut album Hard Core was draped with even harder core lyrics and sexually explicit content—a first for a female MC. Her envelope pushing lines generated 2000’s The Notorious K.I.M., and 2003’s La Bella Mafia. Both albums are certified Platinum hits, making her one of only two female rappers to have at least three Platinum albums.
In 2001, she was featured on “Lady Marmalade,” a remake of ‘70’s girl group Labelle’s chart topping single for the Moulin Rouge! soundtrack. The single featuring the vocals of Mya, Pink, and Christina Aguilrea. It rose to No. 1, making her the first female MC to top the Billboard Hot 100, and won Kim her first Grammy.
The 4’11 femme fatale has a career of accomplishments ranging from multiple MTV Video Music Award wins and nominations, various film and TV roles, successful MAC endorsements, and philanthropic works, including starting her own foundation Lil Kim Cares.
Though her last album to date, The Naked Truth, was released in 2005, she put out an album of remixes entitled The Dance Remixes and two mixtapes. In April, during an interview with XXL, Kim revealed that she is working on a new album. Kimmy is focused on making her triumphant return.—Imani McIntyre