It may not be easy to spot now, but going to the big house may be the best thing to happen to Lil Kim's career. Based on a recent interview on BETs 106 & Park she indicated that knows this notion to be true. Im gonna go do what I gotta do for a year and a day and come back stronger than ever, harder than ever, she barked in front of a horde of shrieking fans. They done messed up now...Dont send me [to prison], because all you are gonna do is build this machine stronger.
Since her roughneck debut, Hardcore, Lil Kims subject matter and lyrical poise have developed tremendously, not just her fashion sense. Despite what the circumstances may say, its great to be Lil Kim, as seen with her new album The Naked Truth. Here, Kim explains the plan while she is away, her iconic status and the odd way she linked up with The Game.
AllHipHop.com:On The Naked Truth, it seems like its more topic oriented, how have you evolved since Hardcore?
Lil Kim:Just like the things, I think, Ive gone through have evolved. Just on those things, period. I mean, theres a lot more to talk about, I mean Im always gonna evolved as a artist and Im not gonna stop until I feel Ive reached a peak of being an artist until I dont want to do it anymore.
AllHipHop.com:A lot people put you in a category of sex oriented Rap or whatever, how far have you moved beyond that?
Lil Kim:But see, thats just a thing, Like, they used to do that, after this album, everyones changed their whole song - and I like that. Im glad, not just about sex anymore, nobodys gonna do a whole album with just be sex, sex, sex, sex, sex. I dont believe that thats easy to do. Even some of the most sexual artists from back in the days that have been out there, you get their album its not only just about sex. I used to hate that. With this album, Im happy that everyone is taking a whole different approach to who I am as a artist and the music I make.
AllHipHop.com: Because Hardcore is so revered in some circles, I have to wonder if you would you call this new work your best album to date?
Lil Kim: I think its my best album. I think on Hardcore, theres a lot of classics and you cant take away that, you cant take away classics. But this is definitely gonna be my best album. As far as the most important album, I think La Bella Mafia was the most important album and it didnt really it didnt really get what it needed, it didnt get the nurture that it needed. To Hip-Hop, to me, for my career - it was very important that was and important and I think people will understand later why that album was very important later. Notorious K.I.M., although it wasnt the better album out of any of these albums, we cant ignore that album because that album was that was right after Biggie died and that album is gonna very important and very necessary. In the future, I think that people will understand the evolution of Lil Kim.
AllHipHop.com: As you discuss importance, I cant ignore that Syracuse University had a class devoted to you. How do you look at that?
Lil Kim:A lot of people thought it was bulls**t, some people thought it was bogus. I thought it was a great thing. They had a class on Tupac, I think they even were even trying to make a class on Biggie. Why not do a class on the first female of Hip-Hop who brought the evolution of being sexy to the game, why not? You know what Im saying? I wouldnt even mind if they have had a class on like the first female rapper ever. Why not? Whats wrong with it? I dont see anything wrong with it. I sat in on a class, its not just, Oh, go find every Lil Kim record, or for every Lil Kim video, and do a study on her. Its a literature class. So when we doing music, music is literate so you have to write, you what Im saying? Music is studying. They have literature books, Maya Angelou books, they have all kind of literature books that you have to study and compare these literature books the life and the times and the style of Lil Kim, my music. And honestly, I havent checked up on it lately, but Greg is the professor of the class and hes a really, really, nice person. And I understand why he pushed for this. And when I went everyone that was on the board at Syracuse, they were so cool and so nice. I havent heard them taking it away or anything like that, but one thing I do know is that the classes were over booked. There were so many people trying to get into the class so there must be something in a reason for it. So instead of hanging on and on, rejecting it, they need to accept it and embrace it cause it is a part of life and culture.
AllHipHop.com: In the uncertainty of now, will your line of wrist-watches still come out?
Lil Kim:Yeah. As a matter of fact, Im wearing one right now. I like to always like to keep all my stuff new. Were in the middle right now were changing distributors, so the person that distributes this watch which is a the person will not be distributing this watch for me anymore. So right now, were gonna do different designs basically.
AllHipHop.com:Likewise, will there be the reality show, as promised?
Lil Kim:I may possibly have two shows, were not sure. Were not sure exactly where The Reality of Lil Kim is going to placed right now. I mean, were in works with some people right now. Tracy Edmunds is playing a big role in this reality show, thats Babyfaces wife. So shes like my big sister. And shes playing a big role and as you know she has the [BET] project, College Hill, so shes not no stranger to reality TV. And we were really excited about her being really excited about it, because shes someone who Ive known for a long time, shes always wanted to work with me and we never gotten a chance. We linked up again over the last few months and we just started talking about the show and we just agreed to do it. So shes playing a big role in this. I cant really say where were going yet.
AllHipHop.com:So this is different then the other one?
Lil Kim:[Its different] than the VH1 reality show. The VH1 reality show is supposed to be a makeover show, just something because who knows fashion and style better than me in the Hip-Hop industry? So I think VH1 wanted to bring something to the urban community that they could watch and accept and appreciate, and they used me to do that. I think because of my whole situation they still it still supposed to be were still going forward with it but because of my situation, were just trying to pan out the next episode. We did shoot one pilot that VH1 loved, but I wasnt happy about and since I wasnt too happy about it, were trying to figure out better ways to edit it and produce it and make it better.
AllHipHop.com: Would you consider yourself a fashion icon?
Lil Kim: You know, its crazy yeah, fashion-wise, I am. I dont know what it is about me that they love so much. I love that. But I dont know what it is, like Mark Jacobs and I have been friends for a couple years now and hes somebody I love and appreciate. He has a huge Marc Jacobs line, which I love and then he also designs for Louis Vuitton so he is like one of my closest friends in the industry. Hes teaching me a lot too of how to go for my style and be even more comfortable with it. Im always comfortable with it but over the years there was a slight black barricade of me being reinventing myself and that was because I was just let people style me and just letting them do whatever they wanted to do because I had so much other stuff I had focus on. I kinda just didnt just put my heart and soul into fashion no more as much as I could because there was so much other things going on but over the last year I dont call it cleaning up my look or I dont call it toning down, because I hate that I a lot and I hate that cause what happens when I didnt do a look thats over-the-top but its still looks good? Its not toned down. Its not cleaned up. But it looks good. So you cant say cleaned up, toned down. They can say whatever they want to say. I just say taking control of my own career, my own image. Thats all I say.
AllHipHop.com: I think youve shown street-level chicks a way to look classy, and vice-versa
Lil Kim:Yeah. I cant speak for them. I just appreciated the fact that they appreciate me and what I do in with my fashion. I love that. But I dont what it is like Marc Jacobs and I have been friends for a couple years now and hes somebody I love and appreciate. He has a huge Marc Jacobs line which I love and then he also designs for Louie Vuitton, so he is like one of my closest friends in the industry. Hes teaching me a lot too, of how to go for my style and be even more comfortable with it. Im always comfortable with it - but over the years, there was a slight black barricade of me reinventing myself and that was because I was just let people style me and just letting them do whatever they wanted to do because I had so much other stuff I had focus on. I kinda just didnt just put my heart and soul into fashion no more as much as I could, because there was so much other things going on. But over the last year, I dont call it cleaning up my look or I dont call it toning down, because I hate that I a lot and I hate that cause what happens when I didnt do a look thats over-the-top but its still looks good? They can say whatever they want to say. I just say taking control of my own career, my own image. Thats all I say.
AllHipHop.com:So like, the Diana Ross nipple cover thing [from the 1999 MTV VMAs], that wasnt your idea?
Lil Kim:No, actually it wasnt my idea; I just knew how to rock it. [laughs] Everyone can do that, Im sure. But when I did it, it was just something that I understood. People were looking like people who were around at the time that knew that I was gonna do this was like they didnt understand it. But I understood it. You know what I mean? Because just before she showed it to me I was looking in a magazine where Ive seen a dress that looked similar to that but wasnt exactly that. And then my stylist at the time came and brought that to the table.
AllHipHop.com: Lastly, the record you recently did with The Game is getting a lot of buzz. Can you tell us how you two linked?
Lil Kim: That was like a freak accident. First, I met him one time in LA. He was really nice to me, he came up this was way before he became an artist - he came up to me and was like, Yo Kim, I like your s**t. He wasnt like trying to talk to me, nothin like that, he was straight music and I loved that about him, that even that one moment that I met him, I didnt even know who he was. . He shook my hand, you know what I mean, to me thats somebody admiring my work not somebody just being a fan or just saying something just to say something. I respected that and I think he did it right. I liked his introduction and that was cool.
[So recently,] I had a listening party, I wasnt there. But one of his representatives was there and he heard a certain a record that I had, and he went crazy over it. He loved it and he felt like Game would be perfect for the hook, and that was just like his artist and hes cool with my people. So he reached out to my people and was like, Yo, can Game be on this hook, so crazy, I want him to be on this record with Kim. My people said, This record could be even bigger with Game, I think its something nobody would expect. We sent the track to Game, he was in London. I respect him for that, he was doing some [publicity and touring.] He took the time out in London to go in the studio in London, he laid a verse and did a hook, but he the verse is gonna be on a remix. I really respect him because I dont know if I wouldve done that. [laughs]