by Hilary Christian
While we all waited patiently for Miss Jackson to bless us with her presence during the BET Awards the other night, Diddy and Co. celebrated the 20th anniversary of Bad Boy Entertainment with performances by some of the label’s best artists. Overall their performances were good and it was nice to go back down memory lane. But the one who shut it down out of all of them was the original Queen B, Lil Kim. Say what you will, but Lil Kim is one of the best female rappers in hip hop of all time. Yes, she’s controversial. Some may even argue that she is the antithesis of feminism, and your arguments are duly noted. Plastic surgery and legal troubles aside, it takes all kinds to help move the needle forward and Lil Kim, for better or for worse, has definitely made her mark. Here’s why she is still the ultimate Queen B.
- Her talent is undeniable. In a sea full of male rappers, Lil Kim had (and still has) mad skills. Since her debut album Hard Core in 1996, she’s made a name for herself in the misogynistic world of hip hop and deservedly appeared on many of hip hop’s greatest emcees lists. Much respect due.
- Her rap on the remake of “Lady Marmalade” made it the hit we all love. Lil Kim had already had her share of hits by 2001. But her remake of "Lady Marmalade" with Christina Aguilera, Missy Elliot, Mya, and Pink propelled her to the top of the charts and scored her a Grammy. The song became one of the bestselling singles of all time and is still considered a classic women’s anthem.
- She is a chart topper. She broke records as the first female rapper to score three consecutive No. 1 hits—including my personal fave, "Crush on You." She’s also the only female rapper, along with Missy Elliot, to have at least three certified platinum albums. Not bad for the petite diva from Bed-Stuy.
- And speaking of timeless women’s anthems, let’s not forget her other classic, "Not Tonight (Ladies Night)."
- Because Diddy’s "All About the Benjamins" and Mobb Deep’s "Quiet Storm" were hot songs simply because of Lil Kim. Period.
- She has the most iconic pose of any rapper. If you were over the age of 12 in the 90’s you probably remember that infamous poster featuring Miss Kimberly Denise Jones squatting and spread eagle in a leopard print bikini. It’s iconic, to say the least, and if there were any Internet to be broken back then, she surely would have done so.
- Her Influence can still be seen, heard, and felt. If there were no Lil Kim, there would be no Nicki Minaj, no Trina, no Eve, no Azealia Banks. Why? Because Kim managed to successfully mix raunchy sexuality with on-point lyricism without apology and then spawned a slew of copycats. Even Miley’s a fan.
- And speaking of #6 and #7… Here’s further proof of her influence on today’s artists. Imitation is the highest form of flattery.
- That time she wore that classic boob-exposing outfit to the MTV awards and everybody had a fit. You can show up to award shows wearing all the raw meat dresses your heart desires and you still won’t get the attention Lil Kim did. Even Diana Ross was impressed.
- Even though she hasn’t put out an album in years, when Lil Kim rose onto the stage from below at the BET Awards the ENTIRE audience—as well as fans at home—completely lost their shit.
Photo: Bad Boy Entertainment
Hilary Christian is a freelance writer and fundraiser from Chicago who is a regular contributor to For Harriet, and her work has also been featured in Wild Sister Magazine and Corset Magazine. Check out her site, follow her at @HilChristian and like her Facebook.