Lil' Kim

Active - 1998 - 2008  |   Born - Jul 11, 1975 in Brooklyn, New York, United States  |   Genres - Music, Comedy Drama, Comedy, Action, Culture & Society

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Biography by Nathan Southern

Born Kimberly Jones in 1975, rapper Lil' Kim (her stage name) grew up in the Bedford-Stuyvesant borough of Brooklyn, NY. Just after her ninth birthday, her parents divorced and she fell into the custody of her father, who threw her out of the house several years later. She thus spent her teenage years in a state of virtual homelessness, living with friends and on the streets, but her life turned a promising corner when she encountered maestro rap producer Biggie Smalls. Smalls immediately sensed her ability to rap, reinvented her as Lil' Kim, and signed her to a recording contract, first as a member of Junior M.A.F.I.A., then as a solo artist. In the recording sphere, Kim distinguished herself with an unabashed sexually provocative image and some of the most explicit and graphic lyrics by any female performer in the rap genre.

In terms of cinema, it was perhaps inevitable that Lil' Kim would make her strongest impression in urban material, not unlike rap contemporaries Snoop Dogg and Ice Cube. Thus, even though she first bowed in the Freddie Prinze, Jr.-headlined teen comedy She's All That (1999), Kim fell into a niche with projects including Juwanna Mann (2002), the adult-oriented animated feature Lil' Pimp (2003), and the urban comedy Nora's Hair Salon (2004). In 2008, Kim joined Leslie Nielsen, Drake Bell, and others for the genre spoof Superhero Movie. She served a one-year prison sentence for her knowledge of a shooting.

Movie Highlights

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  • Following her parents' divorce when she was 9, she occasionally lived on the streets and eventually dropped out of school.  Her gift for rhyme got the attention of fellow Brooklynite the Notorious B.I.G., who took her under his wing and helped her launch a rap career. Fueled by the notoriety she garnered as a member of the group Junior M.A.F.I.A., she donned a provocative façade and released her debut album Hard Core in 1996. Became the first female rapper to hit the top of the Billboard Hot 100 chart with the 2001 version of the song "Lady Marmalade," which also featured Christina Aguilera, Pink and Mya. In 2005, was convicted on perjury charges regarding a 2001 shooting outside a New York radio station. Starred in Lil' Kim: Countdown to Lockdown, a reality series chronicling the weeks leading up to her incarceration. Teamed with Derek Hough for the eighth season of Dancing With the Stars.