Lil Kim Drops Single, Talks New Album & How She Put Female Sexuality On The Hip Hop Map

Its been so long since Lil Kim dropped an album that a lot of people thought she had retired.

But the Queen Bee says she’s back in the game with a new single, “Nasty One”, and an album on the way in November.

And she better get to it: the rap legend reportedly is still battling tax liens and bankruptcy.

It will be her first studio album in over a decade: her last album was 2005’s The Naked Truth.

Kim undeniably was the first female rapper to successfully put female sexuality at the center of Hip Hop’s radar back in the 1990s, and it all culminated with a CD cover photo that, to call it controversial back in 1996, would be an understatement:

Kim aptly entitled her debut album “Hardcore”, and it was that and more: Back then, some critics compared her lyrics to porn on wax.

Before Kim’s arrival, fans were treated to Timbaland-wearing female MCs such as MC Lyte and Da Brat, and the militant feminism of Queen Latifah–all successful women rappers, but all of whom focused more on flow and being like one of the guys as opposed to relishing in their own feminine sexuality as a marketing tool.

Lil Kim harnessed it all. In doing so, she carved a path that rappers such as Foxy Brown, Nicki Minaj, Cardi B., and many others would later use as a blueprint for their own success.

That certain female rappers still refuse to give the Queen Bee her props is a mess in itself, but Kim appears confident in her place in Hip Hop history. 

Below, she talks that and her early battle with censorship:

Billboard: In listening to “Nasty One,” I can’t help but recall how many hurdles you had to jump over early on in your career to be this sexually free and expressive. Releasing this song, what does it mean to you, considering you’re the reason why women in hip-hop can even discuss these topics?

Lil Kim: You know, it’s funny because I was on Instagram the other day and sometimes I go on my fans’ pages and go see what new stuff is out about me and whatever. Sometimes they post old stuff, and this one fan was posting video of a man in the UK showing my album when it came out and the Hard Core poster. He was doing it documentary-like [saying], “You guys need to never forget this girl was banned… Her music was banned, and now everyone—especially female rappers—is doing music just like her. You’re dressing like her, you’re singing like her, you’re talking like her. You guys need to always remember this woman that opened that door for you guys to be able to do that, because she broke down those barriers.”

“And then there was another video right behind that of me being interviewed, and I was like, “You know when I first came out, I was so nervous because I was receiving so much negativity for me being sexually free. But it made me bigger.” It was so weird. I was nervous when I first came out like, did I do the wrong thing? Should I not have said this? Should I not have rapped like this or dressed like this? So for me now, to be able to go back to that, and it’s so accepted… I almost feel like I need to do something more, even bigger than that! So it’s comfortable and it’s cool for me to be able to do a song like “Nasty One.”–Billboard

Billboard: It’s funny because any time a female rapper boasts that kind of empowerment, it’s like they need to remember where they got that power from.

Lil Kim: Yes! But you know what? If I could say things to girls now: I want them to use that power in the strongest way. In the song I say I’m nasty, but really only with my boo. And if you treat me right, and if you give me what I need as a woman and you respect me, then I’m gonna give you ten times what you’ve given me”.

Read the rest of Lil Kim’s Billboard interview here.

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