Lil’ Kim strikes back: ‘I am the blueprint’

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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.”

Stereo Williams
Stereo Williams

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

  1. Queen bee baby…do your thing a fan, i will always support your music..through the good and the will always have my heart as the best female rapper of all time. I love you Kimberly DENISE JONES aka Lil KIM. Fuck the haters, your the reason why your name stay in their mouth because you are doing something right for them to hate. Including dumb as nicki minaj for stealing your swag. Queen bitch. #Legend.

  2. QUEEN OF RAP. Kim i love you so much ! and i will RIDE FOR YOU i know how hard this industry is and iknow how many setbacks you have had to face, its as if you have to start all over again ! but dont worry ima RIDE FOR YOU !

  3. I like Kim, but unfortunately her act/gimmick/style can be duplicated by any chick in music and the rap game.. And it has been. Yes she was the first female rapper who sold sexuality and made the “gangsta b!tch” theme popular, but she’s in the position for years now to show the newer generations why she’s the Queen B, and she has yet to do a good job at convincing them or her old fans… You can only ride off your 90’s fame for so long.. Delusions of grandeur..

  4. Queen bitch! Killa a nigga for my nigga. Murder scene bitch. Disease free bitch!! I love Lil Kim she is the seed/root to female rap. All hail to the Queen!!!!! No one did it better! Not even Nicki’s cute lil ass! #gangstagangsta!

  5. Kim is the Realist Female MC to EVER grace a record. She is the innovator, the originator, The First and the Best. And no one can take that from her period. There would be no Nicki Minag if there was no Queen B. So love her or hate her, they gotta give her the RESPECT that is DUE her.

  6. About the cover…everyone knows Kim has lighten her skin similar to MJ. Why not show what she really looks like now.

    What is all the fuss about concerning her career, which she chose to put on hold indefinitely.

  7. Well written article. Candid. Objective. Not like the mean-spirited articles that we have seen on some of the blogs. After all, she does have a legacy, and the her spot in the hip hop history will never change. This is a great hip hop lesson for the younger crowd that only knows Lil Kim-post prison and plastic surgery.

    I agree with Queen Latifah in the fact that there hasn’t been a major female movement in hip hop in since the women of Kim’s era. True hip hop fans, like myself, are still waiting for something fresh and exciting like we saw in the mid 90’s when Kim, Fox, and Eve came into the game.

    The girls of today, and there are very few, are like pop acts; they took the legacy of female hip hop pioneers and turned it into gimmicks and caricatures. While the new breed may have out sold their predecessors, and maybe counting more dollars, 10 years from now, I doubt that crowds well get excited when songs like “Starships” and “Beez in Da Trap” are played in a club. You’ll never see people run to the dance floor as they do today when the DJ mixes in the funky beat to “Get Money” or the baseline of Foxy Brown’s “Get Me Home” creeps in.
    Hip hop has gone POP! And we will never see talent like Lauryn Hill, Lil Kim, Foxy Brown, or Queen Latifah again.

    1.’s rap chicks are all gimmicks and silly nursery rhyme sh,t. I’ve been down with QB so long, though. Kim has had a lot of sh.t going on-bad break ups, beefs with others and it’s ruining her. She -could- make a comeback but she’d have to sign up with a hot team. I wished the whole beef with minaj didn’t exist and she signed to young money. Her new sh!t was supposed to drop November ’13, now it’s this summer?!?! We hard core fans can only hold on for so long before it becomes apparent that Kimmy is not going to step up and give the fans what they want.

  8. Lil kim is ruining her legacy , i was done with her when she said she sold 113,000 copies on paypal , i’m over you kimmy , you spent 3 in a half years talking about nicki minaj , explaining your story about how you was suppose to be sign to young money .. like kim who cares ? you haven’t had an album out since 2004 or 2005 7 to 8 years ago where is this album ??? then get mad because people keep bringing up nicki minaj in a interview , that whats more relevant in female hiphop your still relevant because of nicki minaj so you damn right your biggest highlight of your career right now is ”dissing nicki minaj ” . what else ? not your mixtape because it flopped , not your new single because that flopped ? what

    i’m over lil kim , you have been officially inducted in the hall of fame of sore looser.

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