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La Bella Mafia

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La Bella Mafia
Studio album by Lil' Kim
Released March 4, 2003
Recorded 2002–2003
Length 75:33
Label Queen Bee/Atlantic Records
Producer Kimberly "Lil' Kim" Jones (exec.), Havoc, Scott Storch, Timbaland, Swizz Beatz, DJ Bless, EZ-Elpee, Ron Browz, Kanye West
Lil' Kim chronology
The Notorious K.I.M.
La Bella Mafia
The Naked Truth
Singles from La Bella Mafia
  1. "The Jump Off"
    Released: February 28, 2003
  2. "Magic Stick"
    Released: April 8, 2003
  3. "Thug Luv"
    Released: October 14, 2003

La Bella Mafia is the third studio album by rapper Lil' Kim, released March 4, 2003 on Atlantic Records. It debuted at number five on the U.S. Billboard 200 chart, selling 166,000 in its first week and reached number four on the Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart. A commercial success, La Bella Mafia was certified platinum by the RIAA, selling over one million copies in the US and over 3.5 million worldwide, becoming the highest selling female rap album of 2003.

The album marked Kim's return after a musical hiatus. La Bella Mafia received positive reviews from music critics upon its release, marking Kim's lyrical ability as impressive and her presence as formidable. It produced two singles that attained Billboard chart success. The lead single "The Jump Off," peaked at number 17 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 and at 16 on the UK Singles Chart chart.[1] The second single "Magic Stick", featured 50 Cent, peaked at number two on the Billboard Hot 100.[2] The singles "Magic Stick" and "Came Back for You" earned Kim a Grammy nomination for Best Rap Performance by a Duo or Group and Best Female Rap Solo Performance, respectively.[3]


In late 2001, Lil' Kim left Junior M.A.F.I.A. and severed ties with all members. She also ended her friendship and business relationship with longtime collaborator Sean "Diddy" Combs.[4]

Recording sessions for La Bella Mafia began in the spring of 2002. In April 2002, Lil' Kim stated in an interview that she had begun working with Dr. Dre in the recording studio. She told MTV, "I've been talking to Dre a lot. And Dre and I are talking about possibly doing some collaborations. He's a cool cat. I love Dre. Our chemistry in the studio was just like, cool. We've been working, you know, trying to cook up some things". Kim also stated that she wanted to work with Eminem, Timbaland, and The Neptunes.[5]

The original title for the album was Hollyhood (which was also set to be the name of her clothing line and to her skit), but it was changed to La Bella Mafia (which in Italian means 'Beautiful Mafia') after Lil' Kim watched a film of the same name about a family of mob widows who seek revenge for the murders of their mobster husbands. She stated, "Any girl who's strong and very dedicated to what they do and don't take no mess, they can be a part of La Bella Mafia".[6]

Limited edition collectable cards were included in the first 500,000 US CDs that allowed fans to unlock exclusive content, such as photos and video, from the Internet.[7]


Critical response[edit]

Professional ratings
Aggregate scores
Source Rating
Metacritic (65/100)[8]
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 3.5/5 stars[9]
Billboard (favorable)[10]
Entertainment Weekly (B)[11] (8/10)[12]
Rolling Stone 3/5 stars[13]
Slant 3/5 stars[14]
The Source 4.5/5 stars[15]
Spin (8/10)[16]
Stylus B+[17]
USA Today 3/4 stars[18]

La Bella Mafia received generally positive reviews, as Metacritic reviews scored it at 65 out of 100.[8] AllMusic critic Jason Birchmeier stated her previous album The Notorious K.I.M. was considered a "disappointment" as a follow-up to her debut album Hard Core and La Bella Mafia reestablished her as an "industry icon".[9] Nick Catucci, a critic for Spin Magazine, who gave the album 3 stars claimed, "The King is dead - long live the Queen".[16]

Stylus magazine critic Brett Berliner gave the album a B+ calling the album "one of the top hip-hop albums of 2003" and said, "Kim is now in a class of female MCs that includes only Rah Digga and MC Lyte - and she's more confident, funny, and sexy than any of them". Sal Cinquemani of Slant Magazine gave the album 3 stars stating the album was her "most consistent effort to date," and added the album "plays like one giant bravado about everything: fame, money, power, sex, clothes, rhymes".[14]

Critics were also impressed with her lyrical ability. Jon Caramanica of Rolling Stone gave the album 3 stars stating, "When she really gets her hands dirty, Kim sounds more forceful and engaged than she's been in years".[13] However, some critics felt the album was too long and contained too many fillers. Birchmeier of Allmusic stated the album could use a little "trimming". Brett Berliner of Stylus Magazine said, "I enjoy about eight songs on this album, but they're tracks I only feel like listening to from time to time".[17]

Commercial performance[edit]

La Bella Mafia debuted at number four on the U.S. 's Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart, and at number-five on the Billboard 200, with a successful first week sales of 160,000 copies, and ultimately spent a little over 29 weeks on that chart.[19] The album sold over 3.5 million copies worldwide,[20] and received a platinum certification by the RIAA,[21] for sales of over 1.1 million copies.[22] Outside the States, it debuted at number 81 on the Swiss Albums Chart, at number 105 on the French Albums Chart and at number 82 on the German Albums Chart.[23][24]


Altogether La Bella Mafia spawned two international singles and a third US only single. The lead album's first single, "The Jump Off" peaked in the top-twenty on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 chart with a peak position of number 17, becoming Kim's biggest single since her 1997's "Not Tonight (Ladies Night Remix)".[1] It also reached number 8 on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart, number 7 on the Hot Rap Tracks chart, and number 16 on the UK Singles Chart.[25][26][27] The second single, "Magic Stick", featured 50 Cent, peaked in the top-ten on the Hot 100 chart reaching number 2, without a music video, and it wasn't even released as a single. It ended up spending 14 weeks on the chart, becoming Kim's biggest and highest single on that chart.[2] It also reached number 2 on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart, number 7 on the Pop chart and number 1 on the Hot Rap Songs chart.[2] The song "Thug Luv", featuring Twista, was serviced to U.S. radios only. It reached number 60 on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart and number 14 on the Hot Rap Songs. A CD single was also released in the US.[28]

Track listing[edit]

No. Title Producer(s) Length
1. "Intro"   Shaft 1:25
2. "Hold It Now" (featuring Havoc) Havoc 5:25
3. "Doing It Way Big"   J. Waxx Garfield, Jesse "Corparal" Wilson 4:00
4. "Can't Fuck with Queen Bee" (featuring Governor and Shelene Thomas with Full Force) Full Force 4:58
5. "Hollyhood Song" (skit)   0:51
6. "Shake Ya Bum Bum" (featuring Lil' Shanice) J. Waxx Garfield 3:18
7. "This Is Who I Am" (featuring Swizz Beatz & Mashonda) Swizz Beatz 3:16
8. "The Jump Off" (featuring Mr. Cheeks) Timbaland 3:54
9. "This Is a Warning"   Kimberly "Lil' Kim" Jones 3:42
10. "(When Kim Say) Can You Hear Me Now?" (featuring Missy Elliott) Scott Storch 3:12
11. "Thug Luv" (featuring Twista) Scott Storch 4:36
12. "Magic Stick" (featuring 50 Cent) Fantom, Sha Money XL 6:00
13. "Get In Touch with Us" (featuring Styles P) EZ Elpee, Christian Rich 3:47
14. "Heavenly Father" (featuring Big Hill) Shaft 5:07
15. "Tha Beehive" (featuring Reeks, Bunky S.A., Vee & Saint from The Advakids) DJ Bless 8:07
16. "Came Back for You"   Kanye West 4:20

Sample credits[edit]

  • "Juicytro" contains a sample of The Notorious B.I.G.'s "Juicy".
  • "Hold It Now" contains samples of Beastie Boys' "Paul Revere" and Kurtis Blow's "Christmas Rappin'".
  • "Can't Fuck with Queen Bee" contains an sample and interpolation from the hit Deniece Williams song "Free"
  • "Shake Ya Bum Bum" contains a sample of Saregama India Ltd's "Hum".
  • "The Jump Off" contains an interpolation from The Lost Boyz's "Jeeps, Lex, Coups, Bimaz, and Benz".
  • "This Is a Warning" contains a sample and interpolation of R. Kelly's "A Woman's Threat".
  • "Magic Stick" contains a sample of B.B. King's "The Thrill Is Gone".
  • "Get In Touch with Us" contains a sample of Saregama India Ltd's "Zindagi Ban Gaye To Tum".
  • "Heavenly Father" contains a sample of The O'Jays's "A Prayer".
  • "Came Back for You" contains a sample of Irene Reid's "Didn't We".

Leftover tracks[edit]

  • "Knock 'Em Out the Box" (featuring Method Man)
  • "Back Together Again" (featuring The Notorious B.I.G.)
  • "Flow So Sick" (featuring Ice Drake)
  • "What's The Word?" (featured bonus track on the Japanese album release)


  • Executive Producers: Kimberly "Lil' Kim" Jones & The Notorious B.I.G.
  • Associate Producers: Hillary Weston & Jean Nelson
  • Queen Bee A&R: Jean Nelson & Dre Weston
  • Atlantic A&R: Huston "Hutty" Miller
  • Atlantic A&R Administrator: Lanre Gaba
  • Atlantic A&R Coordinator: Chris Wade
  • Queen Bee Project Manager: Jamel "Mann" Jackson
  • Atlantic Project Manager: Joi Brown
  • Album Assistant Engineer: Greg "Gee" Stewart
  • Management: Hillary Weston
  • Legal Affairs: L. Londell McMillan, P.C.
  • Business Affairs: David Berdon LLP & Co.
  • Album Sequencing: DJ 45 & Dan "The" Man
  • Cover Photo & Photos 1, 2: Vincent Soyez
  • Hair: Tre Major
  • Makeup: JJ
  • Styling: Derek Lee and Kimberly "Lil' Kim" Jones
  • Prop Stylist: Linda Keil
  • Jewelry: MiMi So
  • Additional Jewelry: Prestige Diamonds
  • Photos 3, 4: David LaChapelle
  • Hair: Cessy Lima
  • Makeup: Scott Barnes
  • Styling: Andrea Leiberman
  • Jewelry: Diamond Quasar
  • Art Direction: Lynn Kowalewski
  • Design: Kevin Wolahan

Charts and certifications[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Lil' Kim and Mr. Cheeks - The Jump Off". Retrieved January 16, 2013. 
  2. ^ a b c "Lil' Kim Chart History". Billboard. Retrieved August 26, 2012. 
  3. ^ "31st American Music Awards". Rock On The Net. Retrieved September 30, 2012. 
  4. ^ "Lil' Kim: Keep It Moving". MTV. March 9, 2006. Retrieved February 26, 2012. 
  5. ^ Moss, Corey (April 19, 2002). "Lil' Kim Has List Of Men She Wants ... For Her Next LP". MTV. Retrieved February 26, 2012. 
  6. ^ Reid, Shaheem (March 11, 2003). "Lil' Kim Battles Butterflies, Invites Strong Girls To Join Her Mafia". MTV. Retrieved February 26, 2012. 
  7. ^ Holloway, Lynette (March 17, 2003). "Lil' Kim Surprises Critics as CD Catches On". The New York Times. Retrieved August 27, 2012. 
  8. ^ a b "La Bella Mafia Reviews, Ratings, Credits, and More at Metacritic". Metacritic. Retrieved May 30, 2012. 
  9. ^ a b Birchmeier, Jason (March 4, 2003). "La Bella Mafia - Lil' Kim". Allmusic. Retrieved February 26, 2012. 
  10. ^ Rashawn Hall (March 15, 2003). "Lil' Kim La Bella Mafia". Billboard: 33. Retrieved February 26, 2012. 
  11. ^ Weiner, Jonah (March 28, 2003). "La Bella Mafia Review". Entertainment Weekly: 68. Retrieved February 26, 2012. 
  12. ^ Juon, Steve (March 4, 2003). "Feature for March 4, 2003 - Lil' Kim's "La Bella Mafia"". Retrieved February 26, 2012. 
  13. ^ a b Caramanica, Jon (March 11, 2003). "Rolling Stone Review: La Bella Mafia by Lil' Kim". Rolling Stone. Archived from the original on June 17, 2009. Retrieved February 26, 2012. 
  14. ^ a b Cinquemani, Sal (March 7, 2003). "Lil' Kim: La Bella Mafia". Slant Magazine. Retrieved February 26, 2012. 
  15. ^ "Lil' Kim's 'Naked Truth' Gets 5 Mic Rating In October Issue Of The Source". AllHipHop. March 21, 2006. Archived from the original on March 21, 2006. Retrieved March 16, 2012. 
  16. ^ a b Catucci, Nick (July 1, 2003). "Lil' Kim, 'La Bella Mafia' Review". Spin. Retrieved February 26, 2012. 
  17. ^ a b Berliner, Brett (September 1, 2003). "Lil Kim - La Bella Mafia - Review". Stylus. Retrieved February 26, 2012. 
  18. ^ "Lil' Kim's 'Mafia' is a hit; Hootie hangs in". USA Today. March 4, 2003. Retrieved February 26, 2012. 
  19. ^ a b "Billboard 200 Chart". March 22, 2003. Retrieved February 26, 2012. 
  20. ^ Shanel Odum (October 2007). "Where My Ladies At?". Vibe: 50. Retrieved November 4, 2012. 
  21. ^ "Recording Industry Association of America". RIAA. Retrieved February 26, 2012. 
  22. ^ "Lil' Kim Revealing 'Naked Truth' Pre-Prison". Billboard. July 26, 2005. Retrieved February 25, 2012. 
  23. ^ a b c "Lil' Kim - La Bella Mafia - Music Charts". Retrieved August 27, 2012. 
  24. ^ a b "Lil' Kim - German Albums Chart". Retrieved August 27, 2012. 
  25. ^ "The Jump Off". March 15, 2003. Retrieved August 26, 2012. 
  26. ^ "The Jump Off - Rap Songs". March 15, 2003. Retrieved August 26, 2012. 
  27. ^ "Lil' Kim - UK Chart". Official Charts. Retrieved August 27, 2012. 
  28. ^ "Thug Luv". MTV. Retrieved July 5, 2012. 
  29. ^
  30. ^ "ラ・ベラ・マフィア リル・キムのプロフィールならオリコン芸能人事典-ORICON STYLE". Oricon. Retrieved February 26, 2012. 
  31. ^ "Billboard Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums Chart". March 22, 2003. Retrieved February 26, 2012.