By K.B. Tindal
Hip Hop Vibe Staff Writer
Brooklyn birthed Lil’ Kim, but she is the queen and her reign includes all of New York. A debate has been sparked about who the king of New York is and there are several potential candidates. There are a lot of candidates, but there is no clear winner, but everyone knows who the queen is.
In recent years, Lil’ Kim suffered from horrible press from the media. Her ongoing feuds and her facial surgeries have clouded the media’s judgment. In the midst of all the changes Lil’ Kim has undergone, the media has overlooked her legacy and the legend that she is.
Last night, MTV did do one thing right if they did not do anything else, they did ensure the proper respect to Lil’ Kim. Even though the last few years have been rough for her, she has a solid legacy before her. From 1996 through 2005, Lil’ Kim released four critically-acclaimed albums.
Courtesy of MTV, Lil’ Kim is back in the spotlight of the rap game. In celebration of this, Hip Hop Vibe decided to count down some of the top career moments of Lil’ Kim over the past seventeen years.
See Lil’ Kim’s top career moments below:
Junior M.A.F.I.A. ft. The Notorious B.I.G. – “Get Money”
After Ready to Die became a success, The Notorious B.I.G. set up a deal for his crew, Junior M.A.F.I.A., which included Lil’ Cease and Lil’ Kim. Lil’ Cease was B.I.G.’s cousin and Lil’ Kim was his girlfriend on the side. On this song, Lil’ Kim and Biggie hash out their real-life problems, with Kim letting him have it.
Lil’ Kim ft. Lil’ Cease and The Notorious B.I.G. – “Crush on You”
Lil’ Kim became the breakout Junior M.A.F.I.A. star and, in 1996, she had a breakout year of her own. In the fall of 1996, she dropped her Hard Core album and she continued her playful banter with The Notorious B.I.G. on the lead single, “Crush on You.” Lil’ Cease is also featured on the track.
Lil’ Kim ft. Da Brat, Left Eye, Missy Elliott, and Angie Martinez – “Not Tonight”
Included on the soundtrack for the hilarious Chris Tucker film, Nothing to Lose, Lil’ Kim released one of the original female anthems. Sub-titled “Ladies Night,” Lil’ Kim featured Da Brat, the late Lisa “Left Eye” Lopes, Missy Elliott, and Hot 97’s Angie Martinez.
Lil’ Kim’s 1997 appearance on “The Ricki Lake Show”
Back in the 1990s, Ricki Lake became one of the leading ladies of daytime talk. “The Ricki Lake Show” became a staple and the show got even bigger when Ricki Lake hosted Lil’ Kim and Junior M.A.F.I.A. and they talked about Biggie’s death. Lil’ Kim also performed on “Crush on You.”
Lil’ Kim ft. Sisqo – “How Many Licks?”
Sisqo took over the game during his 1999-2000 solo run and he made a series of guest appearances. Lil’ Kim also tapped into Sisquo when she featured him on her “How Many Licks?” single off her sophomore album, The Notorious K.I.M. Question… how many licks does it take to get to the center?
Lil’ Kim, Christina Aguilera, Mya, and Pink! – “Lady Marmalade”
Lil’ Kim had a big year in 2001 and she took part in the tribute to Patti LaBelle alongside Christina Aguilera, Mya, and Pink!, “Lady Marmalade.”
Lil’ Kim, Christina Aguilera, Mya, and Pink! perform “Lady Marmalade” at the 44th Annual Grammy Awards
Moments like these earned Lil’ Kim her title as a legend in the hip hop game. She dominated the game from 1999-2003 especially. Lil’ Kim took the stage in 2002 at the 44th Annual Grammy Awards and she performed alongside Mya, Christina Aguilera, and Pink! for “Lady Marmalade.”
Ray J ft. Lil’ Kim – “Wait A Minute”
Pharrell’s run from 2006 – 2007 is credited as legendary, but he had to start somewhere. When he got Ray J to get on one of his tracks, Pharrell first showed his clout in the industry and he helped to reinvent Ray’s career. At the time, Ray J was reportedly dating Lil’ Kim and they fueled those rumors with this song, one of 2001’s biggest summer hits. Catch Shorty Mack at the 1:50 mark.
Lil’ Kim ft. Mr. Cheeks – “The Jump Off”
Lil’ Kim took 2001 off, but she came into 2003 in style and she teamed up with Mr. Cheeks for her track, “The Jump Off.” The lead single off her third album, La Bella Mafia, “The Jump Off” was one of the biggest songs to drop in 2003.
Lil’ Kim performs “The Jump Off” and “Magic Stick” at the 2003 BET Awards”
50 Cent was the biggest breakout star of 2003 and possibly of all-time. All the biggest names in hip hop wanted to work with 50 Cent and that included Lil’ Kim, who jumped on his “Magic Stick” record he initially wanted for Get Rich or Die Tryin, with Trina. This didn’t happen, it was Lil’ Kim on the record and this became the source of their beef, which ran from 2003-2007 and it really started right here when 50 Cent refused to perform “Magic Stick” with Lil’ Kim at the 2003 BET Awards.
Lil’ Kim – “Lighter’s Up”
This was the last real hit from Lil’ Kim and it was included on her personal album, The Naked Truth. Boasting rave reviews, Lil’ Kim released this album right before she ended up going to prison and this song propelled her reality show, “Countdown to Lockdown,” on BET to then-record ratings. Note the Kat Williams cameo at the start of the music video and the ongoing cameos from a then-unknown Maino.
Lil’ Kim tours B.I.G.’s neighborhood in Brooklyn
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Follow K.B. Tindal on Twitter @KBTindal.