Arriving during what some consider to be the Golden Era of Hip Hop, Lil Kim earned her start beside the Notorious B.I.G. Their relationship left a lasting impression the rapper. The Queen Bee, exclusively shares with AllHipHop, her most cherished Ready to Die memory on the eve of it’s 20th anniversary (September 13th).
Lil Kim takes us back to 1994:
When we were on stage we had this dynamic chemistry. And there was always a different reaction when we came out on stage. At the time, people didn’t know how I looked. When they saw that I was a little petite girl, you know, I was sexy dressing, you know I looked sexy. I think that the world was going to go crazy when I came out, you know what I mean. It just shocked both of us that we would have this dynamic chemistry on stage. And that was like the fun part of it.
And I remember, like, I was so little that I had all this energy—but there’s such a thing as being so adrenaline-driven that—I don’t know if it was stage fright or whatever. But, I was so filled with adrenaline that there were times when nothing would come out. When I was rapping I had this little little light voice. I had to rap extra extra hard. The crowd would be so hype—when I tried to project it was like the crowd couldn’t hear me—but they loved my verse so much that they would just sing along for me.
It bothered me because I couldn’t hear myself. I really didn’t know how to rock a stage that well. My performance and my presence would get me over. This is what they say, they say, ‘I’m such a good performer that people didn’t even pay attention that nothing was coming out from my voice.’ So, it really bothered me.
I remember one day after a show— I was a young girl myself coming into the industry — I first signed my record deal I was 17 and a half going on 18. By the time we were on the road I was just 19 going on 20. I did not know how to project my voice, but I was a damn good performer. So, everyone, you know, just said my vocals for me.
One day after the show I was just crying. And I was running upstairs to my room and B.I.G. ran right up after me. Usually, him and all the boys were running to the after-parties and having fun. Just being out in the after-parties and stuff— B.I.G. just cut everything short. He was so concerned about me. He didn’t even care about the after-party. He didn’t care about running around with his boys.
He went into my room and asked me what was wrong; I told him. He actually got in the mirror with me. He got behind me and told me to grab a brush. He was actually teaching me how to project my voice and perform. That was a classic moment that I’ll never forget. I really appreciated it because I know how much he liked to party after the shows. So, I was like, ‘Wow, he really cut that.’ That night he didn’t even go out. He saw that it was really bothering me. That really made me feel, you know, special.