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Interview: the wrath of Lil Kim

In 1996, the diminutive Kimberly Denise Jones, AKA Lil' Kim, came blasting out from under the wing of her mentor and lover Notorious BIG, proving that it wasn't just men who could brag about coitus, cars and cash. Five years later, she became the first female rapper ever to have a US No 1, teaming up with Christina Aguilera, Pink and Mya on a version of Lady Marmalade, stealing the show at the Grammys in knee-high boots and a gold dressing gown. Her last album, The Naked Truth, was her third in a row to reach the US Top 10.

But that was back in 2005. Since then, Kim has served 12 months in jail for perjury and spent more time on reality TV than in the recording studio (Pussycat Dolls Presents: Girlicious was a low point, although Len Goodman did compliment her "bionic booty" on Dancing With The Stars). In the meantime, her rap throne was usurped by Nicki Minaj, with Kim reduced to beefing from the sidelines; the cover of her Black Friday mixtape ("Tragic shit," said US hip-hop magazine Vibe) imagined a leather-clad Kim decapitating her rival with a broadsword.

However, as Kim's publicist sternly insists before our interview, I am to emphasise the positive when I come to speak to her. That means no questions about Biggie, Nicki or plastic surgery, lest I find our call terminated. What follows is a highly awkward game of elephant-in-the-room avoidance…

Hello. How should I address you? Lil' Kim? Kim? Kimberly? Queen Bee?
"Lil' Kim is fine."

Where are you right now?
"I'm at home in New Jersey."

What can you see?
[Annoyed] "I'm in New Jersey, I'm in my home doing this interview. Getting ready for my show that I have tomorrow."

Are you fully recovered after your recent car accident [Kim was in a neck brace for a few weeks]?
"Erm, yeah. I'm still going back and forth to my doctor, but I definitely feel much better. It was scary."

You're playing Lovebox in London. Are you excited?
"I'm super, super excited. I can't tell you how excited I am."

How do you feel about the UK?
"To be coming back is just an amazing thing and it's also a blessing."

What can people expect from your set? Any special guests?
"I love reinventing my music and myself as well, and that's something my fans love about me. People are going to have so much fun."

So… any special guests?
"We'll just have to see, huh."

Can you talk me through a typical day for Lil' Kim?
[Testily] "I can't tell you all my business. I love spending time with my dog, my niece and my family. I'm very family-oriented."

When can we expect a new Lil' Kim album?
"It's coming. I don't like to say when, because we're getting ready to drop a few singles. We're doing things a little different and we're setting up for the singles, and then after that I'm sure the album will drop."

I saw that you were in the studio with [Celine Dion collaborator] Diane Warren, which is slightly surprising. How did that come about?
"That's what I'm talking about. Those are the things that people aren't going to expect from me. I love doing things people don't expect. The fans will be well fed."

Have you written a ballad together?
[Ignores question] "Diane Warren to me is just awesome."

Do you write your lyrics down before you get in the booth?
"Yeah. Sometimes I'll be driving and a lyric will come into my head, and I will have to pull over and record it on my phone."

Have you woken up in the middle of the night with an idea?
"I wake up in the middle of the night a lot."

What do you make of the state of hip-hop at the moment?
[Raises voice slightly] "OK, no disrespect, but I don't like that question. Music is music. It could be 20 years from now or 20 years ago you could ask me that question and I still wouldn't like it. "The state of hip-hop"? I mean, when a good song is a good song it goes to the top. I. LOVE. GOOD. MUSIC. Period."

Right. So is there an artist on your iTunes that would surprise people?
"I tweeted Gotye about his song Somebody That I Used To Know. I think people would be surprised to hear that I love that kind of music."

If we were to collaborate on a song right now, what would we do? How would we start?
[Long silence] "I'd have to see what your talent level is first."

It's pretty high.
"When it's in your heart, you have to follow that. That's what makes me special."

Do you think you paved the way for female performers to be more experimental in terms of attitude and image? For example, I can see your influence in people like Rihanna and Miley Cyrus.
"I love Rihanna because I see a lot of Rihanna in me and a lot of me in Rihanna. Miley and I have clicked. She told me that the two artists she's ever wanted to collaborate with are me and Dolly Parton."

I'd love to see Lady Marmalade 2013 with you, Miley Cyrus, Rihanna and Dolly Parton.
"That's hilarious!"

It's a good time for female MCs at the moment , with Azealia Banks, Angel Haze, Iggy Azalea to name a few. Does that make you proud?
"Yes, yes, yes. I'm proud of my ladies. It would be great if we could all stand in a line, it would be really awesome. It's the time for females. You're going to see a lot from us this year. Something amazing is going to happen."

Are you a feminist?
[Laughs] "I'm pretty feminine."

True.
"I'm definitely pro-females, but I wouldn't say I'm 'female power, you men don't matter'. That's not me. I think women should always be respected. I'm not going to stand on the corner with a picket sign, but I'm going to support my ladies all the way. But I also understand the views of men as well."

Are you annoyed that your achievements – the first female rapper to ever have a US No 1, etc – sometimes seem to get lost amongst all the bullshit?
"I think, when you're great, not everyone's going to give you your props, and you can't really worry about that. In my eyes, I'm still climbing. I'm still taking myself to the next levels in my career, and that's fine with me. When it's time for my rewards, I will get them."

One of my favourite quotes of yours is this: "I haven't had sex in eight months. To be honest, I now prefer to go bowling."
"When did I say that? I don't remember that. I might have said that."

Are you any good at bowling?
"I like bowling. I suck at it, but I like it. You know what's so funny? I have days when I'm absolutely great at doing it, and then I have days when I just don't understand it."

How was Dancing With The Stars?
"That was one of the best things I've ever done in my career. I was surprised at how much I learned about the dancing and how much I learned, period. It just opened me up in a way I have never been opened up before. It was the best thing. I would do it again."

Your rumba was incredible.
"Thank you! My favourites were between the tango, the jive and the pasodoble."

Have you been offered any other reality TV show or talent-show jobs?
"I get offered reality shows all the time. Some of them just aren't my tastes at all."

Do you think people have a misconception that your life is a crazy whirlwind, when actually it's pretty straightforward?
"I think people have a misconception of me, period. My life has been a whirlwind sometimes, but it's different to what people think. I definitely feel like there's a misconception about me and who I am."

Last question, then. You seem like you're in a positive place right now – so are your beefing days behind you?
[Voice rises again] "That's a premature judgement to make, because I've always been a positive person. People say things about me that they don't understand. No disrespect to you, but you really have to look at what you said – "You seem to be in a positive place now". You don't know me. When have you ever seen me be negative?"

Lil' Kim plays Lovebox at Victoria Park, E8, Sunday (credit Guardian)

Posted on 20 Jul 2013 by LilKimZone

[updated] Kim at Club System


Pic credit: thegod_father, ?

Posted on 14 Jul 2013 by LilKimZone

Miscellaneous

Picture 1: Floyd Mayweather gifted Kim a pair of shoes on her b-day.
Picture 2: Kimbella posted a pic from Kim's b-day party on her instagram: "Last night we turnt up for my sis @lilkimthequeenbee Birthday!!! We was "Still Pretty!" after the sauna we were in last night !! I LOVE my sis too much!!! Part 2 tonight!!"



Pictures from the set of the Looks Like Money video shoot?


Date night with Mr Papers (Instagram video)

Posted on 13 Jul 2013 by LilKimZone

UK Metro Interview

‘I’m a girly girl,’ says Lil’ Kim. ‘I’m strong but I’m very timid. Very dainty.’

This, it should be noted, is the same Lil’ Kim who wrote Shut Up Bitch, Suck My D*** and How Many Licks. She’s the New York rapper who took on hip hop’s big boys, the pint-sized catwalk model who dresses like a hooker and gets into beefs with rivals.

The convicted perjurer who spent a year in prison after lying to a federal grand jury about a 2001 shooting. The member of Notorious BIG’s Junior MAFIA who dated Biggie until he dumped her for Faith Evans. The diva who won a Grammy for chart-topping single Lady Marmalade, alongside Christina Aguilera, Pink and Mya.

Unfortunately, we can’t really talk about these things. Half an hour before our scheduled interview – which coincides with her headlining the Lovebox Festival, her first British date since 2001 – a US publicist calls.

She tells me Lil’ Kim will not answer questions about prison, Biggie, plastic surgery or her numerous feuds. Otherwise, the call will be terminated. ‘I am doing this to protect my client,’ says the publicist. ‘Lil’ Kim is a legend and she is in a different place now.’

I keep the questions inoffensive. Two members of her US management team and a faintly embarrassed British press officer are monitoring every word, ready to intervene if the Queen Bee is in any way traduced. I learn that Lil’ Kim is, for the duration of this phone call, wearing a T-shirt, panties and a pair of Louis Vuitton slippers.

That she has a lot of shoes (‘I have turned one of my bedrooms into a shoe closet’). That she has a tennis court in her backyard (‘I suck at most sports but I love playing tennis. And volleyball. And I can do double dutch pretty well’).

That she loves cooking tilapia fish (‘with asparagus and rice’). That she had three beauty parlours (called Salon Se Swa By Queen B) but fell out with her business partner and now has only one, in Charlotte, North Carolina.

That she gets sick of outlandish press stories (‘apparently I’m pregnant every damn month!’) and that she’s just done ‘some next-level things’ for a Hollywood movie but doesn’t see any relationship between singing and acting.

‘I ain’t acting when I’m on stage,’ she says. ‘That’s why all the little love bugs who’ll come and see me at Lovebox love me. They know it’s the real me.’

Just as things seem to be going well, I ask her what hip hop she likes at the moment, and the conversation grinds to a halt. ‘Don’t take this as a disrespect,’ she says, haughtily, ‘but I hate that kind of question.’

Why? ‘When you are a real artist who is serious about your craft, you love good music. Period.’

Well, what music have you been listening to lately? ‘Everything.’

Really? Opera? Free jazz? Thrash metal? ‘Every type of sound.’

After several minutes of guff about ‘good music being good music’, she says she likes 2 Chainz, Drake, Gotye and some Justin Bieber songs, as if confiding a state secret. She also reveals that, although her upcoming album (as yet untitled and with no release date) has been produced by Shondrae ‘Bangladesh’ Crawford, it also features a collaboration with songwriter Diane Warren, queen of the power ballad.

‘Nobody who knows Lil’ Kim and Diane Warren would think that the two would record together,’ she says. ‘She gave me what I think is going to be one of the biggest songs ever. It’s mainstream pop mixed with hip hop.’
Lil’ Kim is still one of the very few major international female rap stars. Is hip hop an inhospitable arena for women?

‘It can be but it’s getting easier,’ she says. ‘That’s where people like myself and Missy Elliott and Lauryn Hill come in, ’cos we had to break that barrier. But think about it – all of us came through a man. Even Missy came in through Timbaland. So it’s tough.’

Kim has become notorious for escalating petty feuds – with the likes of Foxy Brown and Nicki Minaj – to dangerous levels. Does she think she’s had to exaggerate certain confrontational traits that we might describe as macho?

‘I don’t know,’ she ponders. ‘I’m the first woman to come into the industry who actually dressed like a fricking girl! Before me, women in hip hop were predominantly dressed baggy. Salt-n-Pepa were sexy but you never saw them in bikinis and bathing suits. I brought a different type of sexy.

‘But, at the same time, you gotta get down and play with the guys. It’s a great treat. It’s like being a woman who can beat the guys at basketball and still get on the runway and look like a freaking drop-dead gorgeous model. That’s what it’s all about.’

Posted on 12 Jul 2013 by LilKimZone

Looks Like Money Full Song

Lil' Kim uploaded "Looks Like Money" for her fans on her b-day on her Twitter page "Here's just a LITTLE gift from ME to U on MY birthday that U guys have been waiting for!!"



Happy B-Day Lil Kim

Posted on 11 Jul 2013 by LilKimZone

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