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La Bella Mafia

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La Bella Mafia
Lil' Kim - La Bella Mafia.png
Studio album by
ReleasedMarch 4, 2003 (2003-03-04)
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 American rapper Lil' Kim. It was released on March 4, 2003, by Atlantic Records. The album debuted at number five on the US Billboard 200, was certified platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) for selling over one million copies in the United States and over two million copies worldwide.

La Bella Mafia received positive reviews from music critics, 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 US Billboard Hot 100 and at number 16 on the UK Singles 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 Grammy Award nominations 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 "The Beautiful Mafia") after Lil' Kim watched the 1997 film of the same name. 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]


Altogether La Bella Mafia spawned two international singles and a third US-only single. The lead album's first single, "The Jump Off" peaked at number 17 on the US Billboard Hot 100, becoming Kim's biggest single since her 1997's "Not Tonight (Ladies Night Remix)".[1] It also reached number eight on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart, number seven on the Hot Rap Tracks chart, and number 16 on the UK Singles Chart.[8][9][10] The second single, "Magic Stick", featuring 50 Cent, reached number two on the Hot 100, without a music video, and it was not even released as a single. It ended up spending 14 weeks on the chart, becoming Kim's highest-peaking single on that chart.[2] It also reached number two on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart, number seven on the Pop chart and number one on the Hot Rap Songs chart.[2] The song "Thug Luv", featuring Twista, was serviced to US 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.[11]

Critical reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Aggregate scores
Review scores
AllMusic3.5/5 stars[13]
Entertainment WeeklyB[15]
Rolling Stone3/5 stars[17]
Slant Magazine3/5 stars[18]
The Source4.5/5 stars[19]
Stylus MagazineB+[21]
USA Today3/4 stars[22]

La Bella Mafia received generally positive reviews, as Metacritic reviews scored it at 65 out of 100.[12] 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".[13] Nick Catucci, a critic for Spin Magazine, who gave the album 3 stars claimed, "The King is dead – long live the Queen".[20]

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".[18]

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".[17] 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".[21]

Commercial performance[edit]

La Bella Mafia debuted at number five on the US Billboard 200 and at number four on the Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart, selling 166,000 copies in its first week.[23] On October 16, 2003, the album received a Platinum certification by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA),[24] and had sold 1.1 million copies in the United States by July 2005.[25] Intertionally, the album reached number 81 in Switzerland, number 82 in Germany, and number 105 in France.[26] La Bella Mafia had sold over 2,020,558 million copies worldwide as of October 2007.[27]

Track listing[edit]

  • Shaft
  • Big Hill
2."Hold It Now" (featuring Havoc)Havoc5:25
3."Doing It Way Big"
  • Jones
  • Jay Garfield
Jay "Waxx" Garfield4:00
4."Can't Fuck with Queen Bee" (featuring Governor and Shelene Thomas with Full Force)Full Force4:58
5."Hollyhood Skit"  0:51
6."Shake Ya Bum Bum" (featuring Lil' Shanice)JonesGarfield3:18
7."This Is Who I Am" (featuring Swizz Beatz and Mashonda)
Swizz Beatz3:16
8."The Jump Off" (featuring Mr. Cheeks)
9."This Is a Warning"Kimberly "Lil' Kim" Jones3:42
10."(When Kim Say) Can You Hear Me Now?" (featuring Missy Elliott)Storch3:12
11."Thug Luv" (featuring Twista)
12."Magic Stick" (featuring 50 Cent)3:31
13."Get in Touch with Us" (featuring Styles P)
  • Ez Elpee
  • Thorobreads
14."Heavenly Father" (featuring Big Hill)Shaft5:07
15."Tha Beehive" (featuring Reeks, Bunky S.A., Vee and Saint from The Advakids)DJ Bless8:07
16."Came Back for You"West4:20
Japanese edition bonus track
17."What's the Word"
Ron Browz3:03


  • ^a signifies a co-producer.

Sample credits


  • Kimberly "Lil' Kim" Jones – executive producer, styling
  • Hillary Weston – associate producer, management
  • Jean Nelson – associate producer, A&R
  • Dre Weston – A&R
  • Huston "Hutty" Miller – A&R
  • Lanre Gaba – A&R administrator
  • Chris Wade – A&R coordinator
  • Jamel "Mann" Jackson – project manager
  • Joi Brown – project manager
  • Greg "Gee" Stewart – assistant engineer
  • L. Londell McMillan, P.C. – legal affairs
  • David Berdon LLP & Co. – business affairs
  • DJ 45 – album sequencing
  • Dan "The" Man – album sequencing
  • Vincent Soyez – photography, design
  • Tre Major – hair
  • JJ – makeup
  • Derek Lee – styling
  • Linda Keil – prop stylist
  • MiMi So – jewelry
  • David LaChapelle – photography
  • Cessy Lima – hair
  • Scott Barnes – makeup
  • Andrea Leiberman – styling
  • Diamond Quasar – jewelry
  • Lynn Kowalewski – art direction
  • Kevin Wolahan – design



Region Certification Certified units/sales
United States (RIAA)[24] Platinum 1,100,000[25]


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  2. ^ a b c "Lil' Kim Chart History". Billboard. Retrieved August 26, 2012.
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  5. ^ Moss, Corey (April 19, 2002). "Lil' Kim Has List Of Men She Wants ... For Her Next LP". MTV News. Retrieved February 26, 2012.
  6. ^ Reid, Shaheem (March 11, 2003). "Lil' Kim Battles Butterflies, Invites Strong Girls To Join Her Mafia". MTV News. Retrieved February 26, 2012.
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  17. ^ 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.
  18. ^ a b Cinquemani, Sal (March 7, 2003). "Lil' Kim: La Bella Mafia". Slant Magazine. Retrieved May 26, 2018.
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