Interview: Vanessa Satten
Pictures: Ahmed Klink for XXL Set Design: Michael Sturgeon
Imagine it or not, Lil’ Kim is shy. She doesn’t like to speak about her accomplishments. She has no need to brag although there’s quite a bit she might brag about. So, on this late April afternoon at a photograph studio in decrease Manhattan, Kim doesn’t know what to say throughout an interview, regardless of being some of the well-known rappers of all time. Kimberly “Lil’ Kim” Jones is a trendsetter. An influencer. A drive. A queen. An icon. And he or she’s been doing it for nearly three many years.
XXL: We’re right here to have fun 50 years of hip-hop, and we’re right here to have fun you and your involvement in hip-hop historical past. Once you first bought into it, did you ever suppose that being a rapper can be your profession?
Lil’ Kim: Once I first bought into hip-hop, I by no means knew that it will take me this far. It was one thing I beloved to do, so, I simply did it, and right here we’re.
So, folks have a look at you as a hip-hop icon for all the pieces that you simply completed and all of the doorways that you simply’ve kicked open. Would you describe your self as a hip-hop icon?
Everybody calls me an icon, and it’s an honor to me. It makes me smile. It makes me blissful to know that individuals have a look at me that approach as a result of I by no means actually noticed that for myself, nevertheless it simply occurred organically, and that is my place in hip-hop.
What have been a few of your largest profession highlights?
There’s a number of highlights in my profession, nevertheless it’s humorous ’trigger I by no means had that “Oh my God” second. Even to this present day, I really feel like that second continues to be coming for me. As a result of I used to be simply doing what I preferred to do usually, and I used to be having enjoyable. I didn’t actually see that this was gonna be a profession for me as a result of I used to be simply this child having enjoyable. Everybody is aware of I began after I was 16, so it’s like, after they have been making an enormous fuss—hair, nails, and make-up—all that accomplished on the identical time, I used to be like, “That is what’s occurring?” But it surely was identical to… I used to be simply strolling, ? And wherever God was taking me, that’s the place I used to be going.
So, it simply was one thing that I beloved to do, and [The Notorious B.I.G.] was like my all the pieces, so, he kinda guided me like an enormous brother, but additionally like a father determine, like somebody who actually beloved and cared about me and believed in me. And Puffy as nicely. So, I appeared as much as them in so some ways. So, one in all my highlights of my profession was, I believe when Diana Ross touched my boob. That was all the pieces, ’trigger I beloved Michael Jackson. I really like Janet Jackson, so assembly Janet, figuring out she was a fan of mine, simply melted me. That was like, my life is full. So, yeah.
Ladies are thriving in hip-hop proper now. There are a whole lot of new feminine MCs on the come up. They wouldn’t exist with out you kicking the doorways down for them. Do you are feeling such as you get that respect?
I’m glad to see; I’m glad that, I’m glad to see all of us girls, , getting our recognition, and all people making us equal. I’m so glad to see girls getting our recognition and, , everybody celebrating us. I believe it’s an exquisite factor. It’s stunning.
Once you look to the long run, what are you most enthusiastic about? Because you stated you didn’t suppose you had that second but personally.
Yeah, I actually didn’t even have that second ’trigger I began as a baby star. Individuals do not even know, half these women, a few of them are like shut in age with me, so, on the finish of the day, I don’t know what that second is. It’s gotta come. And, , once more, I don’t actually care. I’m residing life, having fun with myself, simply doing me. Simply having fun with what the following stage may very well be, what it’s gonna be, no matter. I don’t know. I don’t see no one. I simply be out.
“Icon, Queen Bee, so respect the sport/This s**t proper right here made off the chain”
—Lil’ Kim on Iconz’s “Get F**ked Up (Remix)
What are you engaged on now?
Professionally, I’ve a e-book coming, documentary film, all that stuff is within the works. I’m trying ahead to constructing my very own empire so far as with the ability to have my very own artists and, , simply with the ability to assist another person’s imaginative and prescient come to fruition. Meaning quite a bit to me. I’m solely working with new artists, interval. And I’ve my mates and all the pieces. I’m solely working with new artists. I really like serving to different artists’ goals come to fruition.
That makes me really feel good. So many individuals helped me. I’m giving it again, I’ve my mates, and other people I really like within the business. Clearly, I’ll work with them, however yeah, solely new artists. I’m engaged on one thing large; I don’t need to speak about it but ’trigger it’s coming into fruition. However I’ve one thing actually large I’m engaged on for brand new artists. And, , everybody sees me from years again, help new artists, help girls, so, you
know, I simply wanna have the ability to construct my very own empire. That’s it. Constructing my very own empire, what I imply?
And the way vital is it for you, and has been, to help girls who’re coming by journeys such as you’ve been on since childhood?
It’s tremendous vital for me to help each up-and-coming new artist. You recognize, male, feminine, interval. Interval. I don’t see Black and White. I see all the pieces in coloration; it’s what it’s. For me, it’s one large, simply household. All love, large love.
What do you see for the way forward for hip-hop?
I hope that hip-hop continues to thrive and simply retains elevating. I simply love the truth that , I’m by no means gonna date myself, I’m by no means letting nobody else date me, I’m by no means gonna be put in a field, and I’m by no means gonna enable my new artists that I work with to be put in a field. I would like everybody to be free. Music is a common language that ought to have the ability to be spoken nonetheless you wanna converse it. Interval. And, it shouldn’t matter, timing, or, , wherever you’re in life. Music is a radar that ought to discover you wherever you’re, regardless of who you’re; from youngsters to wherever you’re, it doesn’t matter. There’s no pinpoint of coloration. There’s no pinpoint of race. There’s no pinpoint of nothing; it’s simply music. For those who a nasty bitch, you a nasty bitch. Interval.
What are a few of your favourite songs out of your catalog?
A few of my favourite songs that I’ve accomplished is like “Get Cash,” “Magic Stick,” my music with Kevin Gates [“Mine”]. I really like that music. And that’s the factor; folks don’t know the kind of seems I’ve on the market. However they’re there. Clearly, “Crush On You.” “Crush On You” is simply traditional to me, from all the pieces about it.
Once you consider your first album, Arduous Core, what are your ideas?
Arduous Core is a traditional. You possibly can’t put that album subsequent to the rest. To me, my albums begin from Infamous Ok.I.M., ’trigger Arduous Core is a traditional. It’s simply one thing completely different. It’s a staple. It’s monumental, like one thing that simply is like in a museum. You don’t even put a quantity on it, what I imply? It’s simply one thing like how I have a look at Michael Jackson’s albums, what I imply? It’s only a traditional. And by the way in which, all this speak about writing, I’ve wrote for different folks. I’ve wrote on Diddy’s album. Test your credit, homeboy. Whoever his identify is, I simply discovered about some man that was speaking smack. No matter. Yeah. Do your homework, el stupido.
Watch Lil’ Kim Talk about Her Illustrious Profession
See Lil’ Kim Photographs for XXL’s Legends Cowl
No hindsight music unit displayed.