Kimberly Denis Jones also known as Lil’ Kim is a New Yorker by heart. She was born to the great city in 1974 and has been raised in Brooklyn. As a young teen, she was thrown out on the curb by her father where she lived on the streets and sometimes with her friends. Lil’ Kim found her solace in freestyle rap and this is what got her through.
Her career in rapping began in 1994 when she befriended The Notorious B.I.G. At that time, she joined the Junior M.A.F.I.A that came up with their first album called Conspiracy in 1995. This debut album had three major hits; Player’s Anthem, I Need You Tonight and Get Money. The album itself was certified as gold in December by the RIAA. Lil’ Kim stayed on with Junior M.A.F.I.A for another year but then went solo. She came up with her own debut album in 1996 titled Hard Core. The album was a major hit and sold 78,000 copies within the first week of its release. It reached also No. 11 on the Billboard 200, which was an achievement in itself because this was the highest any female rap album had gone at that time. A remix of “Not Tonight” got her an Emmy nomination and she was seen teaming up with iconic singers like Missy Elliott, Angie Martinez and Da Brat.
Lil’ Kim released her second album The Notorious K.I.M in 2000. She teamed up with Pink, Mýa and Aguilera to make another version of “Lady Marmalade” that was used as Moulin Rouge! soundtrack in 2001. The song stayed on the Billboard Hot 100 as No. 1 for five weeks. She also recorded an entrance song for the World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) Women’s Champion Trish Stratus and called it “Time to Rock n’ Roll”. Trish kept the song until she retired from the ring. In 2003, La Bella Mafia, Lil’ Kim’s third studio album was released. The album put her yet again on the top selling over 166,000 copies in the first week. It was also her second consecutive top 5 album. She was nominated for five Source Awards after this out of which, she won two; Female Single of the Year and Female Hip-Hop Artist of the year. The album was recognized worldwide and received two Grammy Award nominations. The track “Came Back For You” got nominated for Best Female Rap Solo Performance and “Magic Stick” got nominated for Best Rap Collaboration. This was not the end for all the recognition Lil’ Kim got for her music. She was yet again nominated for Best Pop Collaboration for “Can’t Hold Us Down” with Christina Aguilera. She went on to release The Naked Truth in 2005 and her mix tape Ms. G.O.A.T in 2008. She continued to release singles and remixes such as If You Love Me (2012), Looks Like Money (2013) and kicked off her “Return of the Queen” tour as well.
Other than her music, she has endorsed many brands like Candie’s along with Brandy Norwood, MAC’s VIVA GLAM line and Baby Phat. She also featured in an advertisement along with other stars for Apple’s Mac computers. While on tour for her second album she also promoted the MAC Aids Fund and along with other singers released “Artists Against AIDS Worldwide”, the proceeds earned helped finance such programs. She also started her own foundation “Lil’ Kim Cares” in 2004. The foundation is donation based and aims to raise awareness about societal vices such as violence against women, child neglect, homelessness and HIV/AIDS.