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Lil Kim by afterseun(m): 3:27pm On Nov 15, 2006
Kimberly Denise Jones (born July 11, 1974)[1], best known by the stage name Lil' Kim, is an American Grammy Award winning female rapper who rose to fame in the mid 1990s. Lil' Kim is known for her hardcore, raunchy style of rapping and her controversial sexual image and lyrics. She is known to have paved the way for many following female artists such as Foxy Brown, Trina, Eve, Shawnna, and Remy Ma.

Lil' Kim is one of the most, if not the most successful female rapper of all-time. With four solo albums, and one group album with Junior MAFIA, Lil' Kim has sold more albums than any solo female rapper in history, with over 19 million albums sold worldwide. She is the only female rapper to have a Classic 5 Mic rated album by The Source. Along with rapper Missy Elliott, she is the only female rapper to have three consecutive Platinum albums to her credit. She has four #1 rap singles, and seven Top 20 hits on the Billboard Hot 100 charts. Lil' Kim is one of two female rappers in history (the other being Shawnna) to ever have a #1 hit on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart, for "Lady Marmalade".

Early years
Kimberly Jones was born and raised in Bed-Stuy, Brooklyn, New York. At the age of nine, her parents divorced, leaving her at home with her father. The relationship between Jones and her father was frequently negative and at one point ended when Kim attempted to stab him after a physical fight. Kim's father moved to another state, which left her homeless. She eventually went back with her mother, where they both lived out of a car. Jones was purportedly living on the streets when she met Christopher Wallace a.k.a. rapper The Notorious B.I.G., 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.

The Junior M.A.F.I.A. and Hard Core

Hard Core (1996)In late 1994, Wallace was instrumental in introducing and promoting the Brooklyn based group Junior Mafia, which included Jones (aka "Big Momma" or "The Lieutenant"wink at the time. The group's first and only album was titled Conspiracy. The group released their first single, "Playas Anthem", which went on to top the Rap charts. Perhaps notably for a young female, Lil' Kim wrote all 16 bars of her verse on the song. The next singles, "Need U Tonight" featuring Aaliyah, and "Get Money," were both certified gold and made the top 20 on the Hot 100. The album debuted at No. 8 on the Billboard 200. To date, the album has sold 1.1 million copies, making it Platinum.

After a year with Junior Mafia, Jones began a solo career by recording her debut album. Hard Core was released on November 12, 1996. The album debuted at #11 on the Billboard 200 and #2 on the Rap Chart's selling over 100,000 copies in the first week, also making it the highest-charting album by a female rapper on the Billboard 200 charts, at the time. The album's lead single "No Time", a duet with Puff Daddy, reached the #1 spot for nine weeks on the Rap Charts. The single quickly went platinum. The album later produced the 2X Platinum-selling single "Crush On You" and the platinum single "Not Tonight"(Remix). "Not Tonight"(Remix) saw Lil' Kim team up with Missy Elliott, Angie Martinez, Da Brat and Left Eye of TLC. The song was released and went to #6 on the Billboard Hot 100, and also earned Lil' Kim her first Grammy Award nomination and was the first of several awards she received. In March 1997, her mentor and secret lover Notorious B.I.G. was shot and killed in Los Angeles. Kim was devastated; she would often pay homage to him in her future recordings. Following this event, she sunk into deep depression, stopped promoting Hard Core, and took a break from the music scene for a while. Meanwhile, Hard Core went on to sell over 2 million copies in the US alone and over 5 million copies worldwide, making it the most successful album by a female MC to date. Although her future album, The Naked Truth, was a 5mic, many critics claim Hard Core to be a Classic Album as well as a major step forward for female rappers.

The Notorious KIM

The Notorious KIM (2000)From 1998-1999, Kim toured and modeled for various fashion and pop culture companies including Candies,Versace, Iceberg, and Baby Phat. In 1999, she performed P. Diddy's "No Way Out" tour. In the same year, she launched her own label Queen Bee Entertainment. In late 1999, she recorded her sophomore album, utilizing a style in hip hop known as Pop-Rap in a few of her songs. On June 27, 2000, Kim released her second album The Notorious KIM. The album marked a new image and revamped look for the rapper. Despite the limited success of its singles, the album was a smash and debuted at #4 on the Top 200 Albums Charts, and #1 on the Hip-Hop/R&B charts. It was certified platinum by the RIAA. It went on to sell well over 3 million copies worldwide.

Moulin Rouge
In 2001, Lil' Kim teamed up with Christina Aguilera, P!nk, and Mýa to remake the soulful "Lady Marmalade," which was originally 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 #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 for five weeks. The song also went to #1 in 50 countries around the world. This was a big accomplishment for female rap, as well as for Kim, who scored her first #1 Hot 100 hit and became the first and only female rapper in history to hit #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 charts. Lady Marmalade also garnered Kim her first Grammy Award.

In 2003, Lil' Kim 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.

La Bella Mafia

La Bella Mafia (2003)On March 4, 2003, Kim released her third critically acclaimed album, La Bella Mafia. Highly rated (4.5 mics) by music magazine The Source. La Bella Mafia spawned the hit "The Jump Off" featuring Mr. Cheeks, which climbed to number 16 on the Billboard Hot 100. Then came the single "Magic Stick" feat. 50 Cent, which hit No. 2 on the Hot 100 without a video ever being shot.

La Bella Mafia debuted at No. 5 on the Billboard 200. It soon went Platinum and sold over 1.7 Million copies by the end of 2003. Kim was nominated for five Source Awards and won two ("Female Hip-Hop Artist of the Year", and "Female Single of the Year"wink. This album also got two Grammy Award nominations: Best Female Rap Solo Performance ("Came Back For You"wink and Best Rap Collaboration ("Magic Stick"wink. 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.

Criminal conviction and The Naked Truth

The Naked Truth (2005)On March 17, 2005, Kim was found guilty of conspiracy and perjury for lying to a grand jury about her friends' involvement in a 2001 shooting outside the Hot 97 studios in Manhattan — involving the entourage of rap duo Capone-N-Noreaga and her reported fellow Brooklynite rival Foxy Brown. She claimed not to have known that her manager (Damion Butler), and another friend (Suif “Gutta” Jackson) were at the scene, despite video footage showing all three exiting the building. Both men have pleaded guilty to gun charges since. In July 2005, she was sentenced to a one-year-and-a-day in the Philadelphia Detention Center. She had requested to go to a camp center in Connecticut to be closer to her mother, but instead was ordered to report to the Philadelphia Detention Center. Many people were outraged over this stern sentence because Martha Stewart, who was also convicted of perjury during the same time period, was only sentenced to 5 months in a small women's camp in Alderson, West Virginia. Her lawyer stated that, "A year and a day is actually less than a year sentence, because according to federal sentencing guidelines, if there's an extra day, time is credited to you". A parole bill was filed that reduced her sentence. Throughout her entire jail sentence, Kim's representatives declared that she was busy working; she wrote over 200 songs while in prison.

Despite her conviction, Kim released a fourth album, The Naked Truth, during her sentence on September 27, 2005. It earned her a 5 mic rating from The Source, making her the first and only female rapper to ever accomplish this feat. The album debuted at #6 on the Billboard 200 charts, giving Kim her fourth Top 10 debut on the charts.

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 second single, "Whoa" was released on February 17, 2006. It reached reached No. 22 on Airplay. On March 9, BET premiered the show Lil Kim: Countdown to Lockdown, which was filmed before Kim headed to jail. The show became the highest rated premiere in BET history, with 1.9 million viewers, 1.7 rating, 1.4 million households. A second season is currently in the works showcasing Lil' Kim in her post-prison lifestyle. The show will air in the Spring of 2007.

In May 2006, Debbie Harry released a Lil' Kim tribute song called "Dirty and Deep" in protest of her conviction. The song is available free from the Deborah Harry Home Page.

On June 6, 2006, Lil' Kim "The Dance Remixes" was released. It features 10 remixes of her most popular songs.

On July 3, 2006, Kim was released from the Philadelphia Federal Detention Center. Hundreds of fans and supporters gathered around the prison as she made her release, holding a "Welcome Home" balloon and a dozen roses. After she waved to her fans and gave speeches to news reporters, Kim left in a 2007 Rolls Royce Phantom with a driver, telling the crowds, "Thank you, I love you all." According to her assistant, Kim was welcomed home by five different parties, including one hosted by VIBE magazine.

Lil' Kim is now looking for a new record deal. The rapper's attorney, L. Londell McMillan, said on Aug. 10 that Kim and her label, Atlantic Records, are currently "having discussions" about her deal and whether or not she will continue to make music under the company's title.

"We do wish Atlantic would release and simply free Kim," stated McMillan, who also said that he "cannot confirm the details at this time" regarding the possible split from Atlantic.

At this time Atlantic Records would like for Lil'Kim to continue to make music under their label, but there has been no word as of yet, whether Lil' Kim will remain with the label. According to her lawyers, Atlantic is offering Lil'Kim a whole new deal, but Interscope is trying to buy Lil'Kim's contract.

There has also been discussion about a possible re-release of The Naked Truth and Lil' Kim has released a re-mastered version of "The Game's In Trouble" to radio, but nothing has been officially stated. Lil' Kim also recorded a mixtape track entitled "Brooklyn 4 Life" with fellow rappers Maino and Papoose. It is unsure at this time if this track will make an official release.

Lil' Kim gave her first post-prison performance at this years VH1: Hip-Hop Honors 2006. Lil' Kim paid tribute to veteran rapper MC Lyte. Kim performed, "Lyte As A Rock" for Lyte's tribute. Lil' Kim stated "MC Lyte has paved the way for many rappers including myself, and I was honored to show respect for an amazing woman."

Lil' Kim is also slated to appear in two new movies, including one about her life. She has both a clothing and shoe line which will be available in Summer 2007. She has also signed a lucrative book deal about her life. The second season of her reality show "Countdown To Off Lockdown" will premiere in Spring 2007 on BET.

Lil' Kim recently started a foundation called "Lil' Kim Cares." It is a charity project that gives help to anyone who contacts the foundation via e-mail at lilkimcares.com. During Christmas 2005, Kim's charity, along with her good friend Zab Judah's charity, donated toys, clothing and food to underprivileged families in Philadelphia.

From 2000-2002, Lil' Kim and best friend, singer Mary J. Blige, were spokeswomen for MAC Cosmetics and raised a record $4 million for people living with AIDS.

In October 2006, Lil' Kim became a Mentor for a young lady from a charity event sponsored by Senator Hillary Clinton, John Kerry, and others from the Democratic Party.

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