Born Kimberly Denise Jones in 1974, Lil’ Kim grew up in Brooklyn, New York. She attended Queen of All Saints Elementary School, but upon her parents’ separation, she and her brother moved with their mother to New Rochelle where she was bullied for her skin color.
Her mother was unable to financially support the family, so Kim had to move once again. Living with her father, their relationship went sour in her teens, and eventually, she left home at the age of 14 and dropped out of high school.
She soon met her mentor and lover Christopher Wallace, aka The Notorious B.I.G., and joined his hip-hop group Junior M.A.F.I.A.
In 1995, Junior M.A.F.I.A. released their first and only album Conspiracy which debuted at number 8 on the Billboard 200. The popularity of the group and the album gave Lil’ Kim the push she needed to embark on her solo career.
Her debut solo album Hard Core came out in 1996 to critical acclaim. The album peaked at number 11 on the Billboard 200, and by 2001, it was certified double platinum.
Wallace’s death in 1997 hit her hard, and her sophomore album didn’t come out until 2000. The Notorious K.I.M. was a major success, being certified platinum only 4 weeks upon its release.
Teaming up with Christina Aguilera, Pink, and Mya, she recorded Lady Marmalade which peaked at number 1 on the Hot 100 and got Kim her first GRAMMY Award.
She produced another platinum album La Bella Mafia in 2003. Her fourth album wasn’t as successful, seeing how she was in jail upon its release and was unable to promote it.
In the News
22 years after Wallace’s death, a street in Brooklyn, New York was finally named after him. Lil’ Kim attended the naming ceremony for the Christopher “Notorious B.I.G.” Wallace Way located at the corner of St. James Palace and Fulton Street.
Lil’ Kim shared a few touching words, stating how she used to dream about a street being named after him.
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