The Notorious K.I.M.

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The Notorious K.I.M.
Lil Kim - The Notorious KIM.png
Studio album by Lil' Kim
Released June 27, 2000 (2000-06-27)
Recorded 1998–2000
Genre Hip hop
Length 77:13
Lil' Kim chronology
Hard Core
The Notorious K.I.M.
La Bella Mafia
Singles from The Notorious K.I.M.
  1. "No Matter What They Say"
    Released: July 1, 2000
  2. "How Many Licks?"
    Released: October 28, 2000

The Notorious K.I.M. is the second studio album by American rapper Lil' Kim, released on June 27, 2000 by Atlantic Records and her first album on her new label Queen Bee Entertainment. It debuted at number four on the US Billboard 200 chart, selling 229,000 copies in its first week, becoming Lil' Kim's highest peak and biggest first-week sales yet, and reached the top of the Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart. A commercial success, The Notorious K.I.M. was certified Platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) on August 2, 2000, selling over 1.4 million copies in the United States and over 3.2 million copies worldwide.

The album spawned two singles that attained moderate Billboard chart success. Lead single "No Matter What They Say" peaked at number 60 on the US Billboard Hot 100 and number 15 on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart. The second single "How Many Licks?", featuring R&B artist Sisqó, performed similarly, reaching the bottom half of the Hot 100.

Production and title[edit]

In a 1999 interview with BlackBook magazine, Kim stated that she was thinking about naming the album Queen Bitch, the title of a song from her debut album Hard Core, but decided against it as Missy Elliott had used "She's a Bitch" and did not want anybody being confused.[1] In dedication to The Notorious B.I.G., The Notorious K.I.M. was in a "memorial" to the late rapper. "I felt Biggie's spirit while I was working on this album. I thought it was a perfect name for the album. Also, I am known in a notorious way, my style and lyrics. I've been known in a notorious way over the years." Kim told Jet magazine.[2]

"This album to me is more creative and more versatile than my last album. I think that's what people have been looking for. My whole image, to me, the reason why I came out with 'Hard Core,' the sexy thing, was to make me different from every other female rapper that was out. That's exactly what I'm trying to do now, is make myself different, because now we have a lot of rappers doing the same thing that I did when I came out the first time. What I'm trying to do is separate myself again from the rappers that are out now."

Lil' Kim, MTV News[3]

In a 2000 interview, Kim explained to MTV News that she attempted to collaborate with the original producers of Hard Core, but she was not satisfied with the final results. "Some of the producers that I worked with, they just didn't know what I wanted, so I worked with new producers this time, and I kind of told them what I wanted," Kim told MTV.[3] Production for the album was handled primarily by Mario "Yellowman" Winans, Fury, Richard "Younglord" Frierson, Rated R, Rockwilder, Darren "Limitless" Henson, Shaft, Kanye West, and Timbaland.


The artwork used for the album was shot by David LaChapelle. The album cover was originally intended to be a picture of Kim nude and covered in Louis Vuitton logos, but the then editor-in-chief of Interview magazine, Ingrid Sischy, saw the picture at a gallery exhibit of LaChapelle's work and insisted that it be used for the magazine.[4][5] The image was later used as the cover for the November 1999 issue of Interview.


In the summer of 1999, 12 songs from The Notorious K.I.M. were widely available through Internet file-sharing services and bootleg outlets. As a result, Kim went back into the recording studio and recorded 11 songs in three weeks. The set was initially scheduled for several release delays since 1999 (August 17 and November 9, 1999, and April 25, 2000), due to bootlegging and legal problems involving her record label. In a statement to Entertainment Weekly, Kim explained, "I wanted to put out the best album possible for my fans, and I needed more time in the studio to do this." Sean "Puffy" Combs also explained, "I am a perfectionist and so is Kim, and we will only put out an album when it's right."[6]


The Notorious K.I.M. spawned two singles. The lead album's first single, "No Matter What They Say" made it to the bottom half on the US Billboard Hot 100 chart with a peak position of number 60, becoming Kim's first least successful single. It, however, reached number 15 on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart, number 6 on the Hot Rap Tracks chart, and number 15 on the UK Singles Chart. The second from the album, "How Many Licks?", featured Sisqó, underquoted this success with peak positions of numbers 75 and 36, respectively, on the Hot 100 and Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs. A third single, "Hold On", featuring Mary J. Blige was serviced to US radio only.

Critical reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
AllMusic 2.5/5 stars[7]
Robert Christgau (dud)[8]
Entertainment Weekly B+[9]
NME 8/10[10]
PopMatters Mixed[11] 7.5/10[12]
Rolling Stone 3/5 stars[13]
Slant Magazine 3/5 stars[14]
The Source 3.5/5 stars[15]
USA Today 3/4 stars[16]

The Notorious K.I.M. received generally mixed reviews from most professional music critics. Slant Magazine critic Sal Cinquemani comments that the album "combines essential hip-hop elements – sex, guns, drugs, and cash – with a strange sense of vulnerability," and states her song "Hold On" is a "touching tribute to the late rapper". Cinquemani states "despite ventures into solemn territory and gangsta rap, the album continues down Kim's path of female sexual liberation."[14] Entertainment Weekly journalist Tom Sinclair gave the album a B+, stating "The Notorious K.I.M.'s barrage of aural sex is complemented by strong, often lush production, and surprisingly witty samples and interpolations.[9] Devon Powers of PopMatters called the album "overdone", stating "what Kim has overdone on this album is the camp – she's almost become a caricature of herself" and says "even her props to Biggie lose their sentimentality for being too easily commercial and convenient".[11]

In the AllMusic review for the album, Jason Birchmeier stated that "Biggie had played a large role in the success of Hard Core, and his absence here is gaping."[7] Jam Music critic Mike Ross stated "failed to live up to its hype".[17] Rolling Stone journalist Rob Sheffield gave the album 3 stars, called the album "too weak and retro", and also said that the vocal samples of The Notorious B.I.G. "just make you mourn the man and his moment, neither of which is ever coming back." Despite the album's flaws, critics remained impressed with her raunchy lyrics and attitude. Sheffield states "Lil' Kim still has an admirably tough and nasty mouth on her, and it's good to hear a Queen Bee sting.[13]

Commercial performance[edit]

The Notorious K.I.M. debuted atop the US Billboard's Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart,[18] and at number four on the Billboard 200, with first-week sales of 229,000 copies—almost triple the sales of Lil' Kim's debut album, Hard Core (1996), which sold 78,000 copies.[19] The album ultimately spent a little over 25 weeks on that chart. While it became Kim's first album to reach the top of the Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart, it also scored her her highest peak position on the Billboard 200. Due to the success of the number-one single "Lady Marmalade" (which featured Mýa, Pink, and Christina Aguilera), the album re-entered the Billboard 200 on June 1, 2001, and spent another 12 weeks on the charts, accumulating a total of 37 weeks on the chart. The album was certified Platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) on August 2, 2000,[20] and as of October 2007, it had sold over 1,416,000 copies in the United States.[21]

Elsewhere, the album opened at number 67 on the UK Albums Chart and spent 11 weeks on the charts. It also peaked at number 70 in France and number 85 in Netherlands. In Canada, it debuted at number 11 and spent eight weeks on the RPM Top Albums/CDs chart.[22] In July 2001, it received a Gold certification by the Canadian Recording Industry Association (CRIA).[23] By October 2007, The Notorious K.I.M. had sold over 3,230,000 copies worldwide.[21]

Track listing[edit]

No. Title Writer(s) Producer(s) Length
1. "Lil' Drummer Boy" (featuring Cee-Lo of Goodie Mob and Redman)
2. "Custom Made (Give It to You)"
  • Fury
  • Glogower[a]
3. "Who's Number One?"
4. "Suck My Dick"
  • Rated R
  • Mas
5. "Single Black Female" (featuring Mario "Yellowman" Winans)
Winans 4:14
6. "Revolution" (featuring Grace Jones and Lil' Cease)
  • K. Jones
  • Winans
  • Combs
  • Winans
  • Combs
7. "How Many Licks?" (featuring Sisqó)
  • K. Jones
  • Winans
  • Combs
  • Winans
  • Combs
8. "Notorious KIM"
Rockwilder 3:39
9. "No Matter What They Say"
Darren "Limitless" Henson 4:16
10. "She Don't Love You"
Shaft 3:31
11. "Queen Bitch Pt. 2" (featuring Puff Daddy)
  • Myrick
  • Broady
  • Jay "Waxx" Garfield
12. "Don't Mess with Me"
  • West
  • Deric "D-Dot" Angelettie[a]
13. "Do What You Like" (featuring Junior M.A.F.I.A.)
  • K. Jones
  • Raphael
  • James Lloyd
  • Antoine Spain
  • Jamel Fisher
Shaft 5:16
14. "Off the Wall" (featuring Lil' Cease)
  • K. Jones
  • Winans
  • Combs
  • Winans
  • Combs
15. "Right Now" (featuring Carl Thomas)
Shaft 2:32
16. "Aunt Dot" (featuring Lil' Shanice)
  • K. Jones
  • Winans
Winans 5:25
17. "Hold On" (featuring Mary J. Blige)
Myrick 6:06
18. "I'm Human"
  • K. Jones
  • Thomas
  • Winans
Winans 4:25


  • ^a signifies a co-producer.

Sample credits


  • Hillary WestonA&R, associate executive producer
  • Lynn Kowalewski – art direction, design
  • Dominick Mancuso – assistant engineer
  • Lynn Montrose – assistant engineer
  • Ben Allen – Pro-Tools engineer
  • Jimmie Lee Patterson – Pro-tools engineer
  • Marc Pfafflin – Pro-tools engineer
  • Michael Patterson – Pro-tools engineer
  • Roger Che – Pro-tools engineer
  • Stephen Dent – Pro-tools engineer
  • Christopher "Notorious B.I.G." Wallace – executive producer
  • Kimberly "Lil' Kim" Jones – executive producer, primary artist
  • Sean "Puffy" Combs – executive producer
  • Damion "D-Roc" Butler – associate executive producer
  • Chris Athens – mastering
  • David LaChapelle – photography
  • Joi L. Brown – product manager



Region Certification Certified units/Sales
Canada (Music Canada)[23] Gold 50,000^
United States (RIAA)[20] Platinum 1,416,000[21]

^shipments figures based on certification alone


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