Any female rapper who’s rocked rainbow-colored wigs or felt comfortable getting raw on record and onstage owes something to Lil’ Kim. The hip-hop diva recently sat down with Billboard to discuss her early music, influence on today’s artists and to drops deets on her new single, “Nasty One,” which she officially released today, on her birthday (July 11)!
When it comes to her signature sexy lyrics, the Brooklyn native knows she led the charge for other female MCs who’ve followed in her Fendi footsteps, and the trailblazer shared a moment when she came across a documentary describing her immense influence.
“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.”
She went on, “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!”
The new single “Nasty One” falls right in line with her most raw records, lyrically risqué while embracing her Caribbean heritage.
“I’m from Brooklyn, so that’s all that needs to be said [laughs] and I have West Indian in my family so it’s just there: it’s in my heart, it’s in my soul. And it’s something I’ve done very well. Like with ‘Lighters Up,’ which was one of my biggest singles, it had a Caribbean feel.”
When it comes to the rest of her album, out in November, the “Not Tonight” spitter says there’s something for everyone and even her hardcore fans will be surprised by her breadth of talent on the record.
“I have a few songs that are my favorites, and every song has a different vibe. I think people are gonna be shocked. Even when they hear ‘Nasty One,’ they’re gonna be shocked when they hear that whole song is me. When we got to the video shoot, my glam team was like, ‘Oh is the other artist coming?’ We were like ‘What?’ They’re like, ‘Yeah the other artist on the song.’ Then [my manager] was like ‘That’s Kim,’ and they’re like, ‘Oh shoot! That’s different!’ And I like different.”
Check out the full interview here.
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Born and raised in Compton, California, Jessica Bennett began her career as an intern at The Oakland Post, and later, The Source Magazine. She went on to write for respected hip hop publications such as DJ Booth and Hip Hop DX before becoming the Urban Editor of pop culture website, Wetpaint.com. She joined Ebony as the Entertainment Editor August 2017. Bennett has interviewed such names as Vanessa Williams, Spike Lee, Tyra Banks, Forest Whitaker, Magic & Cookie Johnson and several others.