From the beginning of her career, Lil’ Kim and controversy went hand in hand. Doing for hip-hop what Madonna did for pop, she was one of the first rappers to openly and confidently explore then-taboo issues like sexuality and feminism. Lil’ Kim’s 1996 debut album Hard Core, which effortlessly matches the energy of male rappers while also showing off their femininity, remains a classic to this day. In 2016, she told XXL, “Everything I did was super sexy, and they were just like that, that was dope because it’s never been done in the hardcore gangsta hip hop music that I’ve done.” had been.”
Lil’ Kim continued her breakthrough success in the late ’90s and early 2000s, but came to an abrupt end in 2005 when she was sentenced to a year in prison for perjury. While she quickly returned to music after its release and has been around ever since, her career still hasn’t regained its former momentum. Lil’ Kim’s most recent project, her 2019 EP 9, failed to make the Billboard 200, with longtime rival Nicki Minaj reportedly tweeting about its poor sales.
But even Lil’ Kim’s recent numbers aren’t great, the Brooklyn Femcee will always be an important part of hip-hop history. She’s returned to the limelight with some high-profile performances, and for better or for worse, people are certainly talking. Shall we continue? Yes indeed.
Lil’ Kim’s comeback was met with body shaming
While fans of The Queen Bee are happy to see more of her, including at the 2022 BET Awards and at Pride Island in NYC, others haven’t been so kind. Twitter has had plenty of jokes, in both senses of the word, following Lil’ Kim’s recent appearances. Between the body shaming and criticism of her plastic surgery, they often trespassed on cruel territory. What could have been a beautiful moment paying tribute to longtime boyfriend Diddy was instead overshadowed by the online attacks.
One fan defended the rapper by reminding people how her changing appearance began: “I remember when I first found out that Lil’ Kim’s initial plastic surgery was for corrective reasons of abuse. I then stopped talking about her looks.” In 2005, Lil’ Kim herself revealed that she had experienced domestic violence. On Hot 97 with Angie Martinez, she said she got “a broken nose, black eyes, all that stuff” from a previous relationship.
Additionally, Lil’ Kim told Newsweek in 2000 about her self-esteem: “I have low self-esteem, and I always have. Guys have always cheated on me with women who looked European. You know, the long-haired dude. Really beautiful women that made me think, ‘How can I compete with that?’ Being a regular black girl wasn’t good enough.” While it’s easy to join the digital crowd of the day, Lil’ Kim’s past comments are a reminder to make sure you know the whole story before you judge.