Size doesnt matter. Because dynamite comes in nine-inch sticks. The same can be said for 5-foot-2 Kimberly Denise Jones (Lil Kim). Clad in her signature provocative outfits, Kims pornographic lyrics and edgy rhythm packs a TNT wallop.
As one of the most successful and acclaimed female rappers, Brooklyn native Lil Kim, 22, has overcome a troubled youth and the murder of her mentor Notorious B.I.G.
Kim and her brother, Christopher, were raised by their strict father. Their parents divorced and Kim and her father fought constantly until she ran away from home.
Kims only refuge was shackin up with friends or drug-dealing boyfriends, until she met Christopher Wallace (Biggie Smalls), who helped her to change her life by convincing her to stop her life of promiscuity and get a job at a local department store. Wallace became a father figure in Kims life a mentor. He helped her develop as a rapper and offered her a spot in the rap group Junior M.A.F.I.A., in which she was the only female member. The groups first single, "Player's Anthem," was a hit as well as the groups debut album, "Conspiracy," which worked its way into the top 10 on the Billboard 200.
As her talents began coming through, Kim began working with established artists such as Mona Lisa, the Isley Brothers and Total.
Collaborating with Puff Daddy, Jermaine Dupri, Prestige and High Class, Kim released her solo album, "Hard Core," in 1996. The album debuted at #11 on the Billboard charts. Kims sexuality had come of age in her uninhibited lyrics.
However, her new-found success was spoiled the next year when Wallace, who had been so instrumental in her life, was gunned down.
Shattered, Kim kept her mind busy working on other artists projects, such as Puff Daddys 1998 Bad Boy Tour, but she put her own recording career on hold. Kims entrepreneurship kicked in and she launched her own label Queen Bee Records.
Finally at the helm of her own business, Kim followed up "Hard Core" with "Notorious K.I.M."
In 2001, Lil' Kim joined Christina Aguilera, Pink, Mya and Missy Elliot for the remake of "Lady Marmalade," heard in the movie Moulin Rouge. The collaboration led to her first Grammy, in the "Best Pop Collaboration With Vocals" category.
Her film career began when she co-starred in She's All That, Scary Movie, Juwanna Mann and the hip-hop western Gang of Roses. She can currently be seen in You Got Served.
In 2003, Lil Kim released "La Bella Mafia," produced by Timbaland, EZ Elpee and Swizz Beatz. The album features collaborations with Missy Elliott, Styles P, Governor, Twista and Mashonda Tifere.