Kimberly Jones known by her stage name Lil’ Kim was one of the most controversial and hardcore rappers of her generation. Nicknamed “Big Momma” and “Queen Bee,” Lil’ Kim ushered in a new rap style of sexual content from a perspective of a sexually liberated, confident woman in the mid 1990s. This unique style of rap helped separate Lil’ Kim from her contemporaries in the rap world.
When Lil’ Kim appeared in Junior Mafia’s “Player’s Anthem” music video in 1995, she instantly changed the rap game. Clad in a full-length mink coat and rocking a short, curly hairdo, Lil’ Kim rapped with a big voice that stood her out. The tone coming out of her mouth was bigger than her petite body, which astounded me. I knew Lil’ Kim was a star and could not wait for her solo career.
Lil’ Kim’s infamous Hard Core picture for promoting her debut studio album, Hard Core, was one of the most iconic photos in hip-hop history. Squatted scantily clad in a leopard bikini, Lil’ Kim stared out at the world with her big eyes. The photograph could have easily been mistaken for a cover to an adult movie and a hip-hop erotic novel. She instantly became a sex symbol and the fantasy to many of her alluring male fans. I still have that renowned photo on my bedroom wall.
As she became celebrated, Lil’ Kim’s appearance began changing. By the late 1990s, she had a new image and revamped look. Her hairstyles went from short to straight hair, blonde and colorful wigs. Dubbed the “Black Barbie” by many of her fans, Lil’ Kim was a combination of hip-hop and high fashion. Her style was having a cultural affect on people. She modeled for luxury and urban fashion lines such as Versace, Iceberg, and Baby Phat.
Over the years, Lil’ Kim’s face has gone through many transformations. There are times where she looked unrecognizable. It is sad because Lil’ Kim was a naturally pretty, brown-skinned Black woman from Brooklyn. I wish she had more positive people in her inner circle to remind her how attractive and talented she is. Their influence would have prevented Lil’ Kim from getting plastic surgery. The wrong people she associated and dealt with perhaps led to her destructiveness in plastic surgery.
In my opinion, Lil’ Kim was at the peak of her beauty when she appeared on the cover of the December 1999 Source Magazine. She was fierce, gorgeous, and radiant with that fiery orange hair and toned body. It was one of her most memorable looks ever. I could tell Lil’ Kim felt good about herself during that time.
Regardless how Lil’ Kim looks today, I still remember her as that short, fiery, beautiful Black woman who ushered in a new era of rap in the mid 1990s. She was Big Momma that later became Queen Bee!
Love ya, Kim! And congratulations on welcoming your first baby girl, Royal Reign!