Born Kimberly Denise Jones, Lil' Kim has made a name for herself in the male dominated music industry since her introduction in the mid-nineties as the Brooklyn Darling of Junior M.A.F.I.A.
At a recent show in Milwaukee, Kim's performance was amazing and so full of energy that I forgot where I was. It was the ride in the "Back to the Future" Delorean Time Machine that I needed. All at once I was back in my Guess jeans circa 1996-97 rapping at the of my lungs "No Time For fake Ones, just sip some Chrystal with these real ones..."
It takes a special kind of artist to have staying power in this ever changing music industry. I have been lucky enough to experience longevity as a fan of Hip Hop Music, and I have seen the female artists come and go.
I grew up with MC Lyte, Salt N' Peppa, Queen Latifah, Monie Love, and know what their presence in the game meant. I also remember when Lil' Kim dropped her first album "Hardcore", I remember thinking that it was too grown and raunchy but I loved it just the same. That era represented a lot of things, the change of musical content, the reign of the east coast, and the feeling that life was one great big celebration. This was a time before youtube and i-tunes, when radio was still relevant and a major part of any artists success, this was a golden era.
After her grand finale of "Put Yo' Lighters Up," the Queen Bee gracefully exited the stage and her melting pot of fans were smiling from ear to ear. I was excited but nervous at the same time to interview her.
I was summoned to meet the Infamous K.I.M. Right away, I learned why she was given the name Lil' as she stood under five feet tall. Full of smiles Kim embraced my friend Jazmine and me and invited us to sit down.
Nirvana Cobb: In your opinion how has Hip Hop changed since you first stepped on the scene?
Li' Kim: Hip Hop music is forever evolving!
NC: How has the business of being an artist changed?
LK: Definitely more politics. When I started my career, remember... I was a baby in the industry! When Junior M.A.F.I.A. was introduced, I was a teenager so I always had someone doing everything for me. Biggie picked my outfits and Puff did everything else. Now its like wow... I've got to do everything myself. It has been very good because it has forced me to become a more responsible businesswoman.
NC: What's next for Lil' Kim?
LK: Well I have a lot of projects that I am working on, but I will let you in on a secret. And you are the first to know. I am working on a movie with Queen Latifah and Shakim that is due out in November. As far as my album, my first single will drop in July. I am also the new face of Three Olives Vodka, so that is very exciting for me.
NC: Any Words for your fans?
LK: I love you, I love you, I love you, I love you, I love you and I have a surprise for al my fans on this album! I also want my fans to know where I have been, and what I have been going through. The last 3-4 years have been crazy, and I have been going through a major transformation. My former record label and I parted ways because I refused to record. I was not dropped. We negotiated to end my contract and parted ways, but we still maintain a great relationship. I apologize to my fans for my absence through my time of transformation, but it allowed me to handle my business and experience growth.
NC: How was "Dancing with the Stars?"
LK: Oh my gosh!" Dancing with the Stars" was a lot of fun and very spiritual for me. I had the best time!
NC: So what about a biopic? Since we know that you didn't have too much say in Notorious.
LK: I do want to tell my story. The way I was portrayed in Notorious, it was like a spoof. I had no say in the casting or anything. If I did I would have picked a girl from Brooklyn who knows what its like to grow up there, what it means to be from Brooklyn. With St. Martins Press, I have a book coming out called "The Price of Loyalty," so I hope it can be developed from there.
NC: Any final thoughts about current music artists?
LK: I love a lot of the music that is out. The problems these days with music are all the different personalities and attitudes. I want to bring unity back, where we can all rock a stage and make money!
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