YRB was invited to tag along on the set of a Three Olives vodka photo shoot this afternoon, where rapstress Lil' Kim posed with the new “Purple” line – the latest addition to the liquor's 18 signature flavors. Though we've got some nifty behind-the-scenes footage on the way, we got the opportunity to talk with the Queen Bee as she got primped and pampered, kicking back in a studio located in NYC's Meatpacking District. In our exclusive interview, Kim chose not to speak on her recently publicized spar with newcomer Nicki Minaj, but instead opted to talk about her love of all things Three Olives, her upcoming autobiography and why the Queen is about to reclaim her throne this summer with a new single on the way.
YRB: Lil’ Kim has become a brand, and you’ve pretty much transcended Hip-Hop. Was that something you predicted back when you first picked up a mic?
Lil’ Kim: Well, I always knew that I was different. I always knew that I wasn’t going to come into the industry and just be labeled as a “female rapper.” I never even saw myself as just a female rapper, because I know that one thing I do very well is entertain. My mama always told me that, ever since I was a little girl. I would put on her shoes and put on her lipstick and stand in front of the mirror with my brush singing. I always knew that when I came into the industry I would elevate. I didn’t know a lot of the things that came to me would come. I thank God for it; I feel blessed. I can only be myself and do what I do the best. So yeah if that means something as wonderful and gracious as Three Olives Vodka comes my way, I’m gonna jump on it because that’s the direction I want to go in. I want to be universal, and that’s the one thing I feel also about Three Olives vodka is that everyone can enjoy it. Except for those who can’t drink… under 18 [Laughs].
YRB: Do these opportunities come to you, or do you search them out?
Lil’ Kim: Fortunately enough, this opportunity came to me. [Three Olives] built the campaign around me, which I thought was really great. That was really awesome. I was really honored. I was amazed they even thought of me. That was [number] one. A lot of times my management finds things, but I would say 90% out of 100%, these things come to me. I’m blessed.
YRB: What other areas do you want to get into as a spokesperson? You’ve done MAC, Louis Vuitton, Old Navy, etc.
Lil’ Kim: I’ve done a lot of things, and… I don’t know… A couple of hair products have reached out to me. Whatever comes my way, I’ll do it. I don’t want to do something typical, and I don’t know if I’d ever want to do like a cigarette thing, but I don’t know. Anything that I feel represents where I’m going at the time, I would probably jump on it.
YRB: Do you feel like this is your vodka? Everybody in Hip-Hop now has their own brand…
Lil’ Kim: I know, right? I do! Because purple is such a royal color, and I’m the Queen Bee! Purple is very royal, and grape is a nice fruity flavor that I think everyone will enjoy. When you think of popsicles, you think of grape and cherry – the first two colors.
YRB: A lot of female rappers aren’t given this opportunity to cross over into other markets the way you have, with luxury items representing them. How does that feel, being able to be that face. When you first came out, you came out as a luxury rapper, demanding the finer things in life from the get go. A lot of people dream about walking into Louis Vuitton and say “decorate me” the way you can…
Lil’ Kim: To be honest with you, I just feel blessed that it happened that way. I really believe that when I came into the industry, we weren’t looking for that. I always knew that I was different like I said, but I never knew that I’d be best friend with Marc Jacobs. I’m just blessed to have these kinds of opportunities. Donatella [Versace] calling me to do her ad with her in it. That’s just like something that’s a blessing. You don’t have to be a supermodel to know how to wear the clothes and not have the clothes wear you. I think that’s what the designers are impressed with when it comes to me. It’s nice, it’s fun!
YRB: You were looking into doing a fashion line. What happened with that?
Lil’ Kim: We’re still looking to do that, but I had put my career on hold for a minute as far as doing music and everything. I wanted to kind of wait until everything came back out – like around now while I’m on my promo tour, getting ready to release my new single, and go back in the studio and do what I do – we kind of wanted to wait and release everything together…along with my new book. I have my new book; it’s called The Price Of Loyalty – how ironic, right? It’s with St. Martin’s Press. We want to launch everything together so the fans have something to continuously pick up. It tells a story. A lot of times my story gets cut short [laughs].
YRB: You mentioned your new single. When is that coming?