Notoriously known for her raunchy and vulgar presence, the Queen Bee changed the course of Rap and Hip-Hop for all females emcees that followed after her.
Kimberly Jones was born and raised in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn, NY in 1974. At the age of 19, she met fellow Brooklyn based rapper, Christopher Wallace (Notorious B.I.G. a.k.a. Biggie Smalls), while working at a department store. Wallace, who was signed to Diddy’s Bad Boy Record Label, was more than impressed by her skills as an emcee and signed her to his group, Junior M.A.F.I.A. (Master At Finding Intelligent Attitudes). Wallace served as the creative director for Lil Kim’s image and style of rap, which included more feminism and sex appeal than many have seen from a female rapper, in a male-dominated genre.
Junior M.A.F.I.A.’s debut album, Conspiracy helped to launch Jones’ career. Although it was the group’s only album, it spawned two hit singles “Player’s Anthem” and “Get Money.” Both single cracked the top 20 Hot 100 charts. Soon after, Kim’s double platinum debut album, Hard Core, was released in 1996. The album released three successful singles, “Crush on You,” “Her Tonight,” and “No Time.”
The following year would see the death of Biggie Smalls. His absence would emotionally stain all those associated with the Brooklyn emcee, including Lil Kim. Aside from her music career, she had an on and off relationship with Biggie. Her next two albums, The Notorious K.I.M. and La Bella Mafia would also be platinum releases.
The Grammy Award-winning rapper would score her biggest record to date in 2001. Kim’s unique rap flavor served as a catalyst alongside Mya, Pink and Christina Aguilera in a remake of “Lady Marmalade.”
The song would give Kim her first and only Grammy Award for Best Pop Collaboration in 2002.
Lil Kim will go down as one of the greatest female rappers of all-time. She is one of three female rappers to have three platinum albums (Missy Elliot and Nicki Minaj). As one of VH1’s 100 Greatest Women In Music, her influence will live on forever. Peep some of your favorite Lil Kim songs below. Happy Birthday to the Queen Bee.