360.jpgThe hip-hop community got a surprise gift over this past Independence Day weekend when Lil’ Kim was granted an early release from prison. Locked up back in September 2005 on perjury and conspiracy charges, Kimberly Jones walked out of prison on July 3, 2006, two months short of her scheduled release, a result of the Notorious K.I.M. minding her p’s and q’s while in the slammer. Kim’s got her share of enemies in hip-hop, but it’s refreshing to see a rapper get out of jail early—a female no less.

With her bid under her belt, Kim now has the opportunity to finally put this whole ordeal behind her and resume her rap career. Of course XXL is never shy about sharing our hard-earned rap wisdom. We’ve been doing this shit nine years now—watching Kim every year. So in celebration of our anniversary and Kim’s release, we offer nine pieces of advice for the Queen Bee. Here’s hoping her next nine years will be as good as our first.

MAKE A SONG WITH FOXY BROWN.
If Jay and Nas can let bygones be bygones, you can also, right? Beef sells, but squashed beef can sell, too.

GET BACK WITH SCOTT STORCH.
Although it’s hard to admit it, we thought you two were actually a cute couple. And we’ll always prefer you to Paris on his beats.

EMBRACE YOUR NATURAL LOOK.
You should make a promise: No more plastic surgery post-prison. (Ditto for the blond wigs.)

GET YOUR WEIGHT UP.
You might’ve put on a few pounds while in the bing, but you look healthier than ever.

BECOME A MARC JACOBS MODEL FOR LIFE. FOR FREE.
He kept in touch with you in jail even though you didn’t get to write back… Sounds like you owe him some love. And it’s a good look.

START A LADIES HIP-HOP VOLLEYBALL LEAGUE.
The women might not play basketball, but they could definitely throw down in some v-ball. You learned how while locked up… And the guys would love the little shorts. (Maybe Dem Franchize Boyz could be the cheerleaders.)

GO ON THE AIR AT HOT 97—JUST TO BE BACK THERE.
We know you miss Angie.

CONSIDER PENNING AN OPEN AND HONEST AUTOBIOGRAPHY.
We’ve heard from Superhead, Carmen, etc., but you got them all beat—you’re an actual rapper.

SQUASH BEEF WITH LIL’ CEASE.
Cease knew how to hold you down, baby girl. You two were good together. And frankly, your squabbles have probably got the B.I.G. guy turning over in his grave.