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Ice Queen: The trials and triumphs of Kimberly Jones

Story by Stereo Williams

Photography by DeWayne Rogers

“I think that would be super corny for me to try to answer a question like that …”

Lil’ Kim is one of the most iconic female artists of the last 20 years. She could make a case for most famous female rapper of all time. She cut a path for brazen female sexuality in hip-hop that cemented her legacy long before a stint in prison slowed her career and gossip blogs began their often mean-spirited and personal attacks on her image. Her legacy is close to unquestionable — but today, she’s refusing to answer any question about that legacy.

So, in addition to being an innovator and an icon — Lil’ Kim is defensive.

“No disrespect, no shade, but I’m not going to answer [that] question because I think that’s kinda corny,” she says adamantly. “I don’t know how to answer that.”

That question concerned the public’s ongoing fixation with the “Queen Bee.” Kim hasn’t released an official studio album since 2005’s The Naked Truth, but she still maintains a certain inescapable presence in hip-hop. She looms. But that fixation has manifest itself in a myriad of not-so-flattering ways in recent years:  like constant scrutiny about her numerous plastic surgeries, dismissals of her career since the death of her mentor, The Notorious B.I.G., and her highly publicized feud with Young Money rapper Nicki Minaj.

So far in 2013, she and her team engaged in a war-of-words with notorious smear merchants MediaTakeOut over photos of Kim that they say were digitally altered to make her look laughable. Kim also snapped on Peter Rosenberg of Hot 97 when, during a call-in interview with Kim and her protégée, Tiffany Foxx, the conversation switched to Minaj. “This is the reason why females can’t do this. You have a nice shot at helping to introduce somebody who is a new artist and very special,” Kim said at the time, chastising the radio host. “And you want to bring in some mess. Don’t do that.”

So, all things considered, Kim’s quiet hostility toward the media isn’t surprising. Expectedly, throughout our interview, her demeanor hardly rises above icy.

“That’s not a question I would answer,” she says regarding the media’s ongoing fixation with her. “I’m blessed. That’s all I can say. And I am who I am.”

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Stereo Williams

Todd "Stereo" Williams, entertainment writer based in New York City. He co-founded Thirty 2 Oh 1 Productions, an indie film company.

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