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Lil' Kim

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Lil' Kim
Kim OTR Tour (1).jpg
Lil' Kim attending Jay-Z & Beyoncé's On the Run Tour (2014)
Born Kimberly Denise Jones
(1974-07-11) July 11, 1974 (age 40) or (1975-07-11) July 11, 1975 (age 39) (sources differ)
Bedford–Stuyvesant, Brooklyn, New York, U.S.
Residence Alpine, New Jersey, U.S.
Other names Queen Bee
Occupation
  • Rapper
  • songwriter
  • actress
  • philanthropist
  • model
Years active 1994–present
Children 1
Awards see List of awards and nominations
Musical career
Genres
Instruments
  • Vocals
Labels
Associated acts
Website
lilkim.com

Kimberly Denise Jones (born July 11, 1974 or 1975)[1] known by her stage name Lil' Kim, is an American rapper, songwriter, record producer, model, and actress. She was born and raised in Brooklyn, New York, living much of her adolescent life on the streets after being expelled from home. In her teens, Jones would freestyle rap, heavily influenced by actress/singer Diana Ross, and fellow female hip-hop artists like MC Lyte and The Lady of Rage. Performing a freestyle rap for The Notorious B.I.G. got her music career start in 1995 with his group Junior M.A.F.I.A., whose debut album Conspiracy generated three hit singles.

Kimberly Jones' debut studio album, Hard Core (1996) was certified double platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) and spawned three consecutive No. 1 rap hits: "No Time", "Not Tonight (Ladies Night remix)", and "Crush on You", a record for a female rapper. Her following albums, The Notorious K.I.M. (2000) and La Bella Mafia (2003), were certified Platinum, making her the only female rapper besides Missy Elliott to have at least 3 platinum albums. She was featured on the single, "Lady Marmalade", which also had guest vocals by fellow recording artists Mýa, Pink and Christina Aguilera (a remake of the 1975 smash hit, originally recorded by LaBelle) which went to No. 1 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100, making her the first female rapper to have a No. 1 on that chart. In addition, the remake won two MTV Video Music Awards including Video of the Year, and a Grammy Award for Best Pop Collaboration with Vocals at the 44th Grammy Awards in 2002. In 2005, she served a yearlong prison sentence for lying to a jury about her friends' involvement in a shooting four years earlier. During her incarceration, her fourth album The Naked Truth was released. She returned to the public eye in 2009 with an appearance on Dancing with the Stars.

Throughout her career, Jones has earned several accolades for her work. Her songs "No Time", "Big Momma Thang" and "Ladies Night" were listed on Complex Magazine's "The 50 Best Rap Songs By Women", at number 24,[2] 13[3] and 7,[4] respectively. Crush On You, It's All About the Benjamins and Money, Power, Respect appear on VH1's "The 100 Greatest Hip-Hop Songs".[5] In 2012, she was honorably listed on VH1's "100 Greatest Women In Music" list at number 45, the second highest position for a solo female hip-hop artist.[6]

Life and career

Early life and career beginnings

Jones was born in the Bedford–Stuyvesant neighborhood of the New York City borough Brooklyn, to parents Linwood Jones and Ruby Jones (now Ruby Jones-Mitchell).[7] At the age of 9, her parents separated, and her father raised her until he expelled her from home when she was a teenager. She lived with her friends and on the street. While struggling through her personal life, Jones met The Notorious B.I.G. (real name Christopher Wallace), who was a key figure in both her personal and artistic life, particularly when Wallace had gained popularity and influence through his relationship with Bad Boy Records (which belonged to P-Diddy).[8] Jones attended Sarah J. Hale Vocational High School for two and a half years. Many of her friends also went there and she would often skip school to hang out with them. Since her school work wasn't being completed, the decision was made for her to transfer to Brooklyn College Academy to finish her remaining year and half of school.[9] It was the same school that fellow rappers Nas and Foxy Brown also attended.[10] In 1994, B.I.G. was instrumental in introducing and promoting the Brooklyn-based group, Junior M.A.F.I.A., which included Jones, who was only 19 at the time. The group's first and only album, Conspiracy, was released on August 29, 1995 and debuted at number eight on the US Billboard 200 chart, selling 69,000 copies in its first week of release.[11] Three hit singles came from Conspiracy: "Player's Anthem" (peaked at No. 7 on the Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart and No. 2 on the Hot Rap Tracks chart), "I Need You Tonight" (No. 43 R&B, No. 12 Rap), and "Get Money" (No. 17 on the Billboard Hot 100, No. 4 R&B, No. 2 Rap).[12] The RIAA certified Conspiracy gold on December 6, 1995. "Player's Anthem" and "Get Money" were certified gold and platinum respectively.[13]

1996–2002: Hard Core and The Notorious K.I.M.

After a year with Junior M.A.F.I.A., Jones began a solo career by making guest performances on R&B albums and recording her debut album, Hard Core, which was released in November 1996. The album debuted at No. 11 on the Billboard 200, the highest debut for a female rap album at that time,[14] and No. 3 on Billboard‍ '​s Top R&B Albums,[15] selling 78,000 copies in its first week of release.[11] Hard Core was certified double platinum by the RIAA on March 14, 2001 after having been certified gold on January 6, 1997 and platinum on June 3, 1997.[16] The album's lead single "No Time", a duet with Sean "Puff Daddy" Combs (who would later change his stage name to "P. Diddy" and then "Diddy"), reached the top spot of the Billboard Hot Rap Tracks chart[8] and was certified gold by the RIAA.[16] The following single, "Crush on You", reached No. 6 on the Hot 100 and No. 2 on the rap chart.[17] A remix of the album's track "Not Tonight" saw Jones team up with Missy Elliott, Angie Martinez, Da Brat and Left Eye of TLC. The song was part of the soundtrack to the Martin Lawrence movie Nothing To Lose, nominated for a Grammy Award, and certified platinum.[16] In one stockholders' meeting of Warner Bros. Records, activist C. Delores Tucker criticized the label "for producing this filth," referring to perceived graphic sexual content in Jones' lyrics, and labeling them "gangsta porno rap".[18] In 1997, Jones promoted Hard Core by performing on P. Diddy's "No Way Out" tour.[19] The tour continued though to 1998 and became one of the highest grossing hip-hop tours of all time, grossing an estimated $16 million.[20] That same year, she launched her own label Queen Bee Entertainment. From 1998 to 2000, Jones continued her road to stardom under the management of B.I.G.'s best friend, Damion "D-Roc" Butler's "Roc Management", touring and modeling for various fashion and pop culture companies including Candies, Versace, Iceberg, and Baby Phat. and even though she had not had an album of her own released, she was seen on dozens of remixes and guest appearances on other artist's records.

On June 27, 2000, Jones released her second album The Notorious K.I.M. The album marked a new image and revamped look for the rapper. Despite the limited success of its singles, the album debuted at No. 4 on the Billboard 200 and No. 1 on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart, selling 229,000 copies in its first week.[11] It was certified platinum by the RIAA, four weeks after its release.[16] It was on this LP that the well-known hip-hop feud between Jones and Foxy Brown escalated. In 2001, Jones teamed up with Christina Aguilera, Pink, and Mýa to remake "Lady Marmalade", which was originally written about a bordello in New Orleans and performed by the group Labelle (which included diva Patti LaBelle) 25 years earlier. The song was recorded for the Moulin Rouge! film soundtrack, released in April 2001, and stayed No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 for five weeks. The song also went to No. 1 in 50 countries around the world. This was a big accomplishment for female rap, as well as for Jones, who scored her first No. 1 Hot 100 hit and became the second female rapper in history to hit No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 charts. "Lady Marmalade" also garnered Jones her first Grammy Award. Jones also performed in two international hit singles. "In the Air Tonite", a remix of the Phil Collins song "In the Air Tonight" and duet with Collins, was released as a single from the Collins tribute album Urban Renewal. The second single, "Kimnotyze", was released as the lead single of record producer DJ Tomekk's compilation album Beat Of Life, Vol 1. It was released in Switzerland, Austria and Germany only. The song was successful, becoming Jones third consecutive top 10 hit in Germany after her number 5 hit "Lady Marmalade".

In 2002, Jones recorded a new entrance theme for then World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) Women's Champion Trish Stratus entitled, "Time to Rock 'n Roll", which was used during broadcasts, until Stratus' retirement. The single was released on WWE Anthology, a compilation of entrance theme music to various professional wrestling superstars.[21] Jones released the buzz song "Whats The Word" in mid-2002. Despite not having an official release, it went on to peak at number 9 on the Bubbling Under R&B/Hip-Hop Singles chart.[22] It would later be released on the Japan edition of her third studio album, La Bella Mafia, as a bonus track.

2003–05: La Bella Mafia and legal problems

On March 4, 2003, Jones released her third studio album, La Bella Mafia. It debuted at number 5 on the Billboard 200, selling 166,000 copies in its first week,[23] giving Jones her second consecutive top 5 album. The album received generally positive reviews from critics, receiving a score of 65 on Metacritic.[24] A buzz single, "Came Back For You", was released ahead of the album, the music video for the song featured reality television personality Victoria Gotti.[25] The first single, "The Jump Off", featuring Mr. Cheeks, peaked at number 16 on the Billboard Hot 100. Follow up single, "Magic Stick", featuring 50 Cent, peaked at number 2 on the Billboard Hot 100, staying there for three weeks. The song never had a commercial release or a music video, but was successful due to high radio airplay, peaking at number 1 on Billboards Airplay chart. A third US only single, "Thug Luv", featuring Twista, was released in the last quarter of 2003 at peaked at number 60 on Billboards Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart. The album was certified platinum in the US,[16] selling over 1.1 million copies.[26] Jones promoted the album with a string of concerts, which also featured DMX and Nas.[27] Jones was nominated for five Source Awards and won two ("Female Hip-Hop Artist of the Year", and "Female Single of the Year"). The album also got two Grammy Award nominations for Best Female Rap Solo Performance ("Came Back For You") and Best Rap Collaboration ("Magic Stick"). She was also nominated for Best Pop Collaboration with singer Christina Aguilera for the song "Can't Hold Us Down", from Aguilera's album Stripped.

Greg Thomas, an English professor at Syracuse University, began teaching "Hip-Hop Eshu: Queen B@#$H Lyricism 101". Jones herself was a guest speaker at the school. Professor Thomas considered Jones' lyrics "the art with the most profound sexual politics I've ever seen anywhere."[28] David Horowitz criticized the course as "academic degeneracy and decline".[29] Jones also made an appearance on the multi-platform videogame Def Jam: Fight for NY. Jones provided voice-overs for her part in the storyline, where the player may fight an opponent to have Jones as their girlfriend.[30] In 2004, Jones recorded a cover of "These Boots Are Made for Walkin'" which was used as the opening theme for Victoria Gotti's reality series Growing Up Gotti. The same year Jones was featured on the remix of "Naughty Girl" by Beyoncé Knowles. In December 2004, Jones began recording a pilot for a VH1 reality show titled 718 Makeover.[31][32] The 718 in the title is the area code for Brooklyn, where Jones grew up. The show never made it to air.

On March 17, 2005, Jones was convicted of three counts of conspiracy and one count of perjury for lying to a Federal grand jury about her and her friends' involvement in a 2001 shooting outside the Hot 97 studios in Manhattan.[33] During the trial of her co-manager, Damion "D-Roc" Butler, and her bodyguard, Suif "Gutta" Jackson, a former member of the hip-hop group Junior M.A.F.I.A, she testified not to have known they were at the scene.[34] However, video footage from a security camera placed all three at the scene, exiting the building. This directly contravened testimony before the grand jury.[35] Butler and Jackson have since pled guilty to gun charges. Jackson was sentenced, in U.S. District Court, to twelve years in federal prison as part of plea bargain in which he admitted to firing at least twenty rounds during the incident. The length of the sentence was said to have been influenced by his previous gun-related convictions.[34] In July 2005, Jones was sentenced to a one-year and a day in prison, thirty days home detention upon release from custody, and three years of probation. She served the entirety of her sentence at the Federal Detention Center, Philadelphia in Center City, Philadelphia. She was released on July 3, 2006, after serving approximately 12 months.[35] Jones, Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) Register #56198-054, was released from BOP supervision on August 2, 2006.[36][37]

2005–08: The Naked Truth and Ms. G.O.A.T

Jones released her fourth album, The Naked Truth, on September 27, 2005, while serving a federal prison sentence. It earned her a 5 mic rating from The Source, making her the only female rapper to ever receive a 5 mic rating. The album debuted at No. 6 on the Billboard 200 chart, selling 109,000 copies in its first week of release,[38] giving Jones her third Top 10 debut on the chart. The Naked Truth did not sell as well as her previous works, selling less than 400,000 copies. She said that her prison sentence left her with no time to promote the project. The music video for The Naked Truth's first single, "Lighters Up", was number one on BET's 106 & Park for two weeks. "Lighters Up" was a Top Ten hit on the Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Singles & Tracks chart. The single also reached No. 67 on the German Single Chart, No. 12 on the UK Top 75 and No. 4 on the Finland Single Chart. The second single, "Whoa" was released on February 17, 2006. It reached No. 22 on Airplay.

On March 9, 2006, BET premiered the show Lil' Kim: Countdown to Lockdown, which was filmed before Jones headed to prison. The show became the highest rated premiere in BET history, averaging 1.9 million viewers.[39] In May 2006, Debbie Harry released a song in tribute to Jones called "Dirty and Deep" in protest of her conviction. The song was available for free from her official website. The Dance Remixes, her first compilation album was released on June 6, 2006. The album featured remixes of songs from The Naked Truth and Hard Core. A limited pressing released only in the US, it received no promotion, due to Jones being in prison at the time of release, and failed to chart. On August 31, 2006, Jones presented the award for Best Male Video at the 2006 MTV Video Music Awards, it marked her first televised appearance since being released from prison.[40] She also made appearances on the show The Pussycat Dolls Present: The Search for the Next Doll and Pussycat Dolls Present: Girlicious in 2007 and 2008 as a judge.

In January 2008, Jones announced that she had parted ways with Atlantic Records, choosing to release future projects independently. She stated she had no hard feelings towards Atlantic but felt more comfortable in her knowledge of the music business to do it alone.[41] Jones released her first mixtape, Ms. G.O.A.T., an acronym for "Greatest of All Time",[42][43] on June 3, 2008.[44] It was produced by New York City DJs Mister Cee and DJ Whoo Kid.[45] Among critics, the mixtape received generally positive reviews.[46][47][48] It has been called a representation of Jones's return to the streets.[49] Tito Salinas of All Hip Hop says "Lil' Kim shows that her time behind bars did not rust all of her swag away" on Ms. G.O.A.T.[47] On the other hand, Ehren Gresehover of New York Mag says that although one of the tracks "The Miseducation of Lil' Kim" is not bad, he wished that it was Lauryn Hill who was making a comeback instead.[50]

2009–11: Dancing with the Stars and Black Friday

On March 10, 2009, the song "Girls" by Korean singer Seven featuring Jones was released through digital stores as his U.S. debut single. Jones appeared in the music video that was released on the same day. "Girls" was produced by Darkchild. On March 24, 2009, she released the song "Download" featuring R&B singers T-Pain and Charlie Wilson. It was written by Jones and T-Pain and produced by Trackmasters. The song samples "Computer Love" by Zapp. Although it missed the Hot 100, it did chart on the Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart, peaking at number 21.

Jones appeared on the eighth season of reality series Dancing with the Stars, which began airing on March 9, 2009. She was paired with professional dancer Derek Hough until the dance couple was eliminated on May 5, 2009 against Ty Murray and his partner Chelsie Hightower, putting her at fifth place from all thirteen contestants that season. Her elimination was met by many boos from the audience, as she was a consistent high-scorer and a fan favorite.[51]

On February 16, 2010, the Ludacris song "Hey Ho", which featured Jones and Lil Fate, was released as a promo single for his seventh studio album Battle of the Sexes.[52] In June 2010, Jones started her 2010 Tour, her first headlining tour since 2000. It took her across the US, as well as Canada and Europe.

Jones released her second mixtape, Black Friday, on February 14, 2011. The video for the title track was released on February 16, 2011. The mixtape received mostly negative reviews from critics. It was made available for purchase via PayPal with the first 100,000 copies sold being signed by the rapper. In May 2011, Jones performed in South Africa as part of the music festival ZarFest alongside Fat Joe, Timbaland and Ciara.[53] On June 19, 2011, Jones performed alongside G-Unit member Shawty Lo and hinted a possible working relationship with G-Unit Records. That same month the song Jones, along with Rick Ross, was featured on titled "Anything (To Find You)", by R&B singer Monica was leaked. The song, which samples The Notorious B.I.G.'s "Who Shot Ya?", initially featured just Jones, but her second verse was removed to make room for Ross. Her vocals were then removed fully due to contractual issues with B.I.G's estate.[54] In August 2011, Jones performed four dates in Australia as part of the WinterBeatz Festival alongside Fabolous, Mario, 50 Cent and G-Unit. During the August, 17 date in Perth, she joined 50 Cent on stage for a performance of "Magic Stick". It marked the first time the pair had performed the song together.[55] On November 28, 2011, Jones released a buzz single called "I Am Not the One". She also announced that she would release an EP, but it was later shelved for unknown reasons.[56]

2012–present: Fifth studio album and "Hard Core Mixtape"

Lil' Kim at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week, 2012

In the summer of 2011, Jones began recording material for her fifth studio album, as a restriction banning her from releasing new material as a result of her settlement with Trackmasters was lifted.[57][58][59]

On Valentine's Day, 2012, Jones released the song "If You Love Me" produced by "Prince Saheb" of Knockout Entertainment as a gift to her fans. That same month it was announced she would make her return to the stage on BET's Rip the Runway.[60] It marked her first televised performance in years. In March 2012, during an interview with MTV's Sucker Free, Jones revealed that contract issues with production duo Trackmasters were the reason behind her album delay, saying "...contractually, by the courts, I could not record any music – I wasn't supposed to put any music out."[61] On March 23, 2012, the song "Keys To The City", a collaboration with Young Jeezy, was leaked to the Internet. Jones first mentioned the song during an interview with MTV's RapFix, saying "I have a song with another celebrity person that I know the world and my fans are gonna love... It's vintage Kim mixed with the new Kim." During the same RapFix interview, Jones also revealed another song, titled "I'm Ready", which she hopes to do with rapper 50 Cent. Jones also commented on the direction of her music, saying she was in "Kanye West mode", adding "...You do whatever you want to do ...it's all about taking chances".[62]

Jones kicked off her Return of the Queen Tour on May 17, 2012 to positive reviews.[63] In a radio interview at 99 Jamz, Jones stated that her upcoming book, The Price of Loyalty, is on hold to coincide with the release of her new album.[64][65] It was also revealed in 2012 that Jones had signed upcoming female rapper Tiffany Foxx to her label, IRS Records.

On March 6, 2013, Jones returned to Rap Fix Live and revealed that Bangladesh would be executive producing her album with her,[66] and that she had signed a business deal with former Chairman and CEO of EMI Records, Charles Koppelman.[67] however Bangladesh later stated in an interview that "[didn't] think it was going to work out.".[68] During an interview with XXL on April 26, 2013, Jones revealed that she does not have a name for the album yet, but the first official single would be out by mid year.[69] Jones described the single, produced by Bangladesh, as "different" and "sweet dessert".[69][70] On July 11, 2013, Jones released the Rockwilder produced single "Looks Like Money" as a free download to her fans on her birthday.[71] On July 26, 2013 Jones announced and released the cover art for a new mixtape entitled Hard Core 2K13, which will also serve as a sequel to her critically acclaimed debut album, Hard Core.[72] The mixtape was originally set to be released on October 31, 2013, but for unknown reasons, was pushed back. To make up for not releasing the mixtape, Jones released the singles "Dead Gal Walking" and "Kimmy Blanco" to the public, along with the tracklist. The tracklist revealed collaborations with French Montana, Miley Cyrus, Jadakiss and Yo Gotti.

Lil' Kim's tour bus from her Return of the Queen Tour, photographed in 2012

On January 17, 2014, Canadian make-up artist and photographer Samantha Ravndahl filed a lawsuit against Jones, claiming that Jones had stolen an image from her Reddit page to use for her "Dead Gal Walking" single artwork. Ravndahl first tried amicably resolving the issue soon after the single was released in November by asking Jones to remove the image from her social media sites, but after continued social media posts containing the artwork, she followed through with a lawsuit.[73] The stolen image depicts Ravndahl herself modeling a "zombie-style" make-up design of her own creation. In the lawsuit complaint, Ravndahl's attorney's claim that: "Ravndahl believes that Lil' Kim, acting through her agent, Whosay, Inc., slapped Lil' Kim's name and copyright notice over Ravndahl's face and makeup design on Ravndahl's photograph before distributing it all over the web."[74] The case has been filed through a Federal District Court in California and Ravndahl is seeking $150,000 in damages from Jones, plus attorney fees. A jury is being requested in the trial.[75] Jones has not made any public statements concerning the issue other than crediting her graphic designer on her Twitter page,[76] as well as stating in an interview to XXL magazine, "I don't know what the heck is going on, if there were something going on, my team would know better than I would. You have to get that from my team because I really don't know what's going on."[77] On February 18, 2014, Jones released another single from Hard Core Mixtape 2k14.[78] The single, entitled "Haterz," features lyrics by Jones and rapper B-Ford and was released on her Twit Music page where fans could download it. In April, the single was released on iTunes.

On August 2, 2014, Jones announced via her Twitter page a concert tour for her much anticipated Hardcore Mixtape.[79] Details have yet to surface about concert dates or locations. Throughout the remainder of the month of August, Jones released a number of songs via her Twit Music account: A remix to Beyoncé's and Nicki Minaj's collaboration of "Flawless" (August 4), "Identity Theft" (August 6th), A freestyle entitled "Hot Nigga" (August 7),a freestyle to "No Flex Zone" by Rae Sremmurd (August 26), and a remix to Iggy Azalea's "Fancy".[80][81][82][83][84]

On September 11, 2014, the Hard Core mixtape was released as free download on Kim's official website.[85] In an interview with Revolt TV on the same day, Jones revealed that she, Iggy Azalea, and Rapper T.I. will be collaborating on a song some time in the future, citing "I don't know if it's going to be for my album or if we're just going to…we have other plans for it as well. But, I think we're going to do a double release." In the same interview, she explained the reasons why the mixtape was pushed back twice, stating "When this project was supposed to come out I had got pregnant. I didn't know. [...] Once I became fully pregnant, I was working in the studio but at one point I couldn't work anymore, obviously,".[86]

Products and endorsements

In 1998, Jones signed to Wilhelmina Models.[87] That same year she was announced as the face for the fashion brand Candie's alongside Brandy. She became the first and only rapper to endorse the brand to date. In 2000, Jones signed a deal with fashion house Iceberg,[88] and also with cosmetics brand MAC to help endorse their VIVA GLAM line of lipsticks and lip glosses alongside Mary J. Blige.[89] The MAC VIVA GLAM III campaign, which was built around a plum-brown lipstick, helped raise $4 million for the company in one year and became the most successful VIVA GLAM campaign to date.[90][91] Due to the success, the two signed on for a second year. The rapper also modeled for the urban fashion line Baby Phat in August 2000. In March 2001, Jones, along with several other artists, featured in a commercial for Apple's Mac computers. It highlighted how users can burn custom CD's on their Mac.[92] In 2003, Jones became the spokesperson for American clothing brand Old Navy. That same year her song "The Jump Off" was used in a commercial for AOL's dial up Internet service.

In 2004, it was announced that Jones would launch a designer watch collection, titled Royalty by Lil' Kim.[93] Jeweler Jacob Arabo manufactured the watches.[94] She also debuted her first clothing line, entitled Hollyhood.[95] Jones also lent her voice to the video game Def Jam: Fight for NY which she was featured in.[30] In 2005, Jones collaborated on a shoe line with high end shoe store, Petite Peton. That same year Jones was featured as a character in the limited edition comic book "The Heist". The book was a collaboration between Marvel and Atlantic Records.[96] In August 2010, Jones signed a deal with Three Olives Vodka to become the face for their Purple vodka.[97] In September of that same year, Jones, along with her cousin, Katrise Jones, opened their first beauty salon in Charlotte, North Carolina called Salon Se Swa.[98] That same month, Jones also launched her second clothing line, entitled 24/7 Goddess Collection, at Charlotte NC Fashion Week.[99] In November 2012, Jones began endorsing Cîroc vodka, revealing her own cocktail, titled "Queen Bee", and announcing herself as the "First Lady" of the brand.[100]

Philanthropy

In 2000, Jones embarked on a promo tour in support of her second studio album, The Notorious K.I.M., and the MAC AIDS Fund. She visited MAC cosmetics counters, interacted with fans and help raise money and awareness for the cause, which helps people who are living with HIV/AIDS worldwide.[101] She also took part in MAC's Fashion Cares show in Toronto, Canada. The show raised close to one million for the AIDS Committee of Toronto.[102] Her endorsement for MAC, with Mary J. Blige, would go on to raise $4 million for the fund. In October 2001, Jones was featured on the R&B mix of the song "What's Going On". Jones, along with several other popular recording artists, released the song under the name "Artists Against AIDS Worldwide", with proceeds going to AIDS programs worldwide and also United Ways September 11th Fund.[103] That same month, Jones performed at BREATHE, a benefit concert for breast cancer research and treatment.[104] Proceeds from the concert went to the UCLA Breast Center and the Breast Examination Center of Harlem, an outreach program of the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center.[105] On March 12, 2002, Jones walked her dogs in the 3rd annual "Paws for Style" fashion show. The event is held by Animal Fair magazine as a benefit for the Humane Society of New York.[106] Items worm by the animals were later actioned off online.[107] In 2004, Jones started her own foundation called Lil' Kim Cares.[95] The foundation raises funds, resources and awareness for national programs that assist with issues of homelessness, HIV/AIDS prevention and awareness, transitional living, child neglect and violence against women.[108] Speaking about the foundation, Jones stated she planned to be involved in a number of causes, most of which had effected her personally in past years.[109] On April 17, 2004, Jones participated in the 28th annual Toyota Pro/Celebrity Race. The event helped raise more than $100,000 for "Racing for Kids", a non-profit program benefiting Southern California children's hospitals in Long Beach and Orange County.[110] On August 24, 2004, Jones encouraged others to vote in the United States presidential election through the Rock the Vote campaign.[111]

On March 10, 2005, Jones, along with several other artists, appeared in an episode of The Apprentice. Each artist was approached by contestants to donate a "personal experience" to be auctioned off for charity through music channel Fuse's "Daily Download" program with proceeds going to the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation.[112] In September 2005, Jones paired up with fashion designer, and friend, Marc Jacobs for a limited edition T-shirt line featuring images of the rapper. The shirts, titled Marc Jacobs Loves Lil' Kim, were sold exclusively at Marc Jacob stores with 100% of the proceeds going to The Door.[113] That same year Jones donated a diamond watch from her "Royalty" watch line to the World AIDS Day eBay Auction titled "Bid 2 Beat AIDS". Proceeds went to LIFEbeat, an organization providing HIV/AIDS information to millions of young people annually.[114] Through her foundation, Jones has given back to many, including teaming up with apparel company Mitchell & Ness and boxer Zab Judah to donate toys to underprivileged youth in Philadelphia in 2005,[115] and teaming up with MusiCares in 2007 for a silent auction, held at the Grammys On The Hill ceremony, to help raise funds for the foundation.[116] That same year, Jones was a part of the 4th Annual GRAMMY Charity Holiday Auction, which featured a large variety of celebrity-signed memorabilia that people could bid on through the online auction site eBay.[117] On December 1, 2007, Jones teamed up with Preserve Our Legacy and the New Jersey Stem Cell Research and Education Foundation to put on a celebrity basketball game to raise awareness about various health issues plaguing minority communities.[118]

On July 11, 2010, Jones launched her signature milkshake, titled "Queen Bee", at Millions of Milkshakes in West Hollywood, with proceeds going towards Wyclef Jean's Yéle Haiti foundation.[119] On February 9, 2013, Jones took part in the first annual Reality On The Runway fashion show. The event wanted to help raise $300,000 for people infected with HIV/AIDS and increase awareness. All designs from the show were auctioned off online following the event with a portion of the proceeds going to AIDS United.[120]

Personal life

In her teens, Jones began dating Shawn Powell. The pair met at the Empire Roller Skating rink in Brooklyn. After a couple of months of seeing each other, Powell was arrested for robbery and was sentenced to eight and a half years in prison. Jones and Powell continued their relationship with Jones visiting frequently and also kept in touch by writing letters to each other. The couple also became engaged while he was incarcerated. During this time was when Jones met Christopher Wallace, and with wanting to focus on starting her rap career the engagement was eventually called off and the couple split.[121] Shortly after meeting Wallace, Jones had an on and off relationship with him up until his death in 1997. On July 23, 1996, Jones was arrested for possession of marijuana after police raided the Teaneck, New Jersey home of Wallace. The arrest came after police smelt marijuana inside the home when they went to ask for someone to move an illegally parked car. Jones denied she was smoking, claiming she was "upstairs all day sleeping".[122] That same year, during the recording of her debut album, "Hard Core", Jones fell pregnant with Wallace's child.[123] Jones never made it public until 1999 during an interview with The Source. Jones decided not to keep the baby, telling The Source "I already knew the kind of relationship that Biggie and I had, and I knew that [having a child] was something that couldn't take place..."[124] Wallace called Jones three days before his death and told her he loved her.[125] On March 17, 1999, Teaneck police issued an arrest warrant after Jones failed to turn up to court dates stemming from her 1996 arrest.[126] The warrant wasn't a top priority for police and wasn't made public until September, 2003, after the story was published online by The Smoking Gun. Jones was later removed from Teaneck's wanted list in October, 2003, after $350 in bail was posted on her behalf.[127] Jones' attorney told reporters that she didn't appear in court as she believed the case had been resolved.[128]

In 2002, Jones started dating Damion "World" Hardy, the couple split in 2003. It was during this time that Jones had been a victim of physical abuse. Telling The Source in 2004 that she had suffered from black eyes, bloody lips, blood clots and even had to have an MRI. Jones also stated how she had to have multiple nose jobs due to being punched.[129][130] On June 20, 2003, Jones had $250,000 worth of jewelry stolen from her while catching a flight at New York's John F. Kennedy International Airport after a bag, which she intended to carry on, was mixed up with eight other pieces of her luggage.[131] The missing jewelry was recovered 10 days later, found wrapped up in a rag in a locker room for airline employees by a United Airlines worker.[132][133] On July 1, 2003, John Acheson was charged after trying to extort $25,000 from Jones in exchange for her stolen jewelry. Acheson, who was never in possession of Jones' jewelry, called Jones' lawyer, Mel Sachs, on June 23 saying he had the jewelry and would exchange it for an initial $5,000 and $20,000 at a later date. Acheson was charged with third degree attempted grand larceny, fourth degree attempted grand larceny by extortion, and attempted coercion in the second degree.[134] In March, 2004, Acheson was sentenced to five days in jail and a $500 fine after pleading guilty to a minor charge of attempted grand larceny.[135] In 2004, Jones dated record producer Scott Storch. The two met when Storch offered Jones a ride to her hotel.[136] The couple spilt after only 2 months together.[137] In 2013, Storch revealed that he would've married Jones if the relationship had worked out.[136] In 2007, Jones and Ray J briefly dated.[138] In 2012, Jones started dating Bronx rapper Peoples Hernandez, known by his stage name Papers.[139] The couple split briefly in December of that year[140] before reconciling that same month. On February 12, 2014, Jones announced she was pregnant, saying she was "a few months along" with her first child.[141] Hernandez said shortly afterward he was the father.[142] On June 9, 2014, Jones gave birth to a baby girl, named Royal Reign.[143][144]

Controversies

See also: Hip hop rivalry

Foxy Brown

Once high school friends, Jones and Foxy Brown originally remained close despite becoming associates of clashing hip-hop groups Junior M.A.F.I.A. and The Firm, respectively.[145] In 1995, they collaborated with Da Brat for the remix of "No One Else" by Total. The following year, they were featured in the Hot 97 NY Fashion Show,[146] and additionally appeared on the covers of Source and Vibe.[147][148] However, their first dispute developed after both of their debut studio albums were scheduled for release a week apart in November 1996.[147] Media outlets additionally noted similarities between the sleeve covers of Jones' Hard Core and Brown's Ill Na Na, where the two were shown wearing the same outfit.[149] In 1997, the feud led to the deterioration of their friendship, and also resulted in the cancellation of a collaborative album Thelma & Louise. Brown noted that the breakdown of their relationship was influenced by their conflicting entourages.[145] They first attempted a reconciliation in 1998 after Jones called Brown and her mother after the two were held at gunpoint during a house burglary.[145][150][151]

In January 1999, critics noted the track "My Life" from Brown's second studio effort Chyna Doll for being an "open appeal" to Brown's friendship with Jones, in which she cited the relationship being "lost for pride", but also contradicted herself after making attacks on "pointed mistresses".[152][153][154] Critics indicated the records were in subtle use to diss Jones, especially since during this time, Brown had been supporting Jones' rival Faith Evans in multiple interviews.[153] In February 1999, a significant part of the media took note of Brown "suddenly sound[ing] 'exactly' like Lil' Kim".[155] In late May 1999, Lil' Cease's "Play Around", featuring Jones and Diddy, was released to radio airwaves and was set to be featured on Cease's debut The Wonderful World of Cease A Leo.[147] In the song, after Jones' guest rap, Diddy recites: "Stop trying to sound like her too bitches"; a subliminal diss aimed at Foxy.[147] The line spurred enough controversy that various media sources went on to remark: "It's finally coming out. Foxy Brown bites worse than a pit bull."[156] Additionally, Jones' guest appearance on Mobb Deep's "Quiet Storm (Remix)" and her second album's title track, "The Notorious K.I.M.," were released as diss records to Foxy Brown.[147] Angered by Jones' response, Brown collaborated with longtime associates Capone-N-Noreaga on the track, "Bang, Bang."[147] In the track, Brown mimicked Jones' interpolation of MC Lyte's "10% Dis," and went on to recite: "You and Diddy y'all kill me with that subliminal shit."[147] Towards the ending of her verse, Brown attacked Jones' grieving for the loss of Biggie Smalls by remarking: "Let the nigga [Biggie] rest in peace, and hop off his dick, bitch do you."[147][157]

On February 26, 2001, at 3 p.m., when Jones had left New York radio station Hot 97, a shooting broke out; over twenty shots were fired between two groups of three men.[158][159] One of the men in the groups was Capone, one-half member of Capone-N-Noreaga, who was entering the Hot 97 building in promotion of interviewer DJ Clue's new album, The Professional 2, which happened to have also featured Jones.[160] An affiliate, Efrain Ocasio, from Capone's entourage was shot in the back; both parties from Jones and Capone denied any involvement in the shooting.[160] However, a motive behind the shooting was later determined; detectives informed The New York Daily News that it was a result of the verses Foxy Brown recited in "Bang, Bang."[160]

Shaken up by the incident, Brown tried to reach out to Jones in hopes of settling a truce.[161] Brown stated, "I really don't know how it started. But Russell [Simmons] and I, we got together, and I said, 'Russell, I want to call a truce.' I want to have a sit-down with Kim. I don't care what it is. Let's just end it. We can even do a collaboration. We're bigger than this. If it has to start with me, let it start with me."[161] Brown even extended an olive branch to Jones' camp, however Jones had cut all ties with Diddy and Bad Boy associates and wanted no communication with Brown whatsoever.[161] On July 6, 2005, Jones was sentenced to prison for three counts of perjury and one count of conspiracy.[162]

During the 4-year span leading up to Jones' sentencing, Brown and Jones began to exchange subtle diss records towards each other, among them included Jones' La Bella Mafia,[163][164] "Quiet",[165] and "Guess Who's Back";[166] and in turn, Brown's Ill Na Na 2: The Fever and various mixtape freestyles.[167][168] In the midst of the diss records, Brown was interviewed by Doug Banks in 2003 to disclose any further details pertaining to her dispute with Jones.[169] Brown claimed that Jones was allegedly jealous that Biggie was to include Brown in his Junior Mafia collective.[169] Brown also added that a tell-all book disclosing the feud would be released in Christmas of 2003.[169] In her final regards to the dispute, Brown stated: "Kim is the only female artist that keeps me on my toes. She's the only one that I can look at; and any other artist that says they don't have that one person that keeps them driven... is lying."[169]

Following her release from prison, Jones no longer acknowledged Brown. Brown, on the other hand, has consistently targeted Jones as a prime basis in her music and concert venues since Jones' prison release.[170][171][172][173][174][175][176]

On May 17, 2012, Jones attended an interview with radio show, The Breakfast Club.[177] When asked about whether or not she had spoken to Brown at all in recent years, Jones replied, "I don't even know her. And when I say that; I don't know who she is to these days. I wouldn't even know what her voice sounds like."[177]

Shyne

Jones along with Junior M.A.F.I.A. and Bad Boy Records artist Shyne were caught up in a quarrel when Shyne was being compared to the Notorious B.I.G.. Junior M.A.F.I.A. felt Shyne was trying to exploit the late rapper.[178] Jones directed attacks towards Shyne on The Notorious K.I.M.s title track, rapping "Everybody wanna shine off of BIG/ Get it, Shyne tryna sound like him when they rhyme". Shyne responded: "Me going back and forth with a woman? That's not gangster."[179] In 2000, Jones addressed Shyne, saying "he's bad energy, he's negative energy, and he's just nothing I want to be a part of."[180]

Nicki Minaj

Jones has been embroiled in a feud with rapper Nicki Minaj since she gained her breakthrough success with Pink Friday. With Jones and critics noticing resemblances with her on the Sucka Free mixtape,[181] Jones accused Minaj of copying her image saying, "If you are going to steal my swag, you gonna have to pay. Something gotta give. You help me, I help you. That's how it goes to me."[181] Minaj's single "Roman's Revenge" with Eminem was believed by critics to be a response to Jones' comments,[182] although she later denied this,[183] she responded to the situation in an interview on The Angie Martinez show saying "She picked a fight with Foxy, then she picked a fight with Eve, then she picked a fight with Remy, then it was Mrs. Wallace, then it was Nicki Minaj," said Minaj. "Every time you in the news, it's 'cause you gettin' at somebody! Where's your music? Put your music out, and when I see your name on Billboard, that's when I'll respond to you. Other than that, goodbye. It's Barbie, bitch."[184]

Jones reignited the feud following the release of her mixtape Black Friday, an album that directly referenced Nicki Minaj, via her debut album title and songs such as "Did It On'em" (that became "Pissin' On'em"); and with artwork that showed Jones decapitating Minaj with a sword.[185] A fragment of Minaj's diss track "Tragedy" was released online in April 2011, featuring lyrics "Pink Friday, Eminem, 8 Mile/ It must hurt to sell your album on PayPal."[186] Following the release of Minaj's second album, Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded, critics suggested that the tracks "Stupid Hoe"[187] may have contained attacks at Jones. Jones later suggested in an interview with 105's Breakfast Club that the song "Automatic" from Minaj's second album was similar to her unreleased material, also calling Minaj "obnoxious" and "catty".[188]

The feud has drew attention from various other recording artists and rappers. Minaj's labelmate and rapper, Drake said "[he] didn't give a fuck what Lil' Kim or nobody else is talking about," anointing Minaj the best female rapper.[189] 50 Cent commented on the situation in an online interview with Power 98.3 FM remarking, "It's obvious ... she [Minaj] was inspired by some of Kim's [style]. But that's not bad. There's not a whole lot of female artists that you can make reference to, so you'll see those little influences even stronger. I think she's hot—I think she's got a good little thing going right now, as far as Nicki Minaj is concerned."[190] Diddy spoke of his love and respect for Jones, attributing his personal success, in part, to her, however he defended working with Minaj stating that "I wouldn't be around Nicki if I ever heard anything negative said about Kim. I've never heard anything like that."[191] Mary J. Blige commented on the rivalry, saying, "Kim is my friend and I love and respect Nicki, just met her and got to know the young lady and she's a sweetheart.", adding that the feud had arisen because of "crews" behind it.[192]

Honors and awards

See also: List of awards and nominations received by Lil' Kim

Jones has earned numerous honors and awards. Pop culture have given Jones titles such as, Queen Bee,[193] and Queen of Hip-hop.[194] Jones' debut album Hard Core was certified Double Platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), and is considered a classic hip-hop album.[195][196] Throughout her career Jones has sold over 11 million albums worldwide. Jones has earned several Honors for her music. Her songs "No Time", "Big Momma Thang" and "Ladies Night" were listed on Complex Magazine's "The 50 Best Rap Songs By Women", at number 24, 13, and 7, respectively.[197][198][199] Her song "Lady Marmalade" with Pink, Christina Aguilera, and Mya, is one of the best-selling singles of all time worldwide, with sales of over 5.1 million worldwide.[200] Lady Marmalade went no.1 on the US Billboard Hot 100, making her the first female rapper to have a No. 1 on that chart. The song won a 2002 Grammy Award in the category of "Best Pop Collaboration with Vocals". It ranks at number 30 on MuchMusic's 100 Best Videos. "Lady Marmalade" was also listed at number 47 on the VH1 100 Greatest songs of the 00's.[201] Jones was ranked at #42 in Kool Moe Dee's 2003 book, There's a God on the Mic.[202] The book ranked what he believed were the Top 50 greatest MCs of all time. In 2012, Jones was honorably listed on VH1's "100 Greatest Women In Music" at number 45, making her the 4th highest position for a female-rapper.[203] In 2014, Jones was included in Billboards list of the "31 Female Rappers Who Changed Hip-Hop".[204] That same year, Jones was named the #1 brand dropping artist in hip hop.[205]

Discography

Main article: Lil' Kim discography

Tours

Filmography

Main article: Lil' Kim videography