Love her or hate her Brooklyn's Lil' Kim has earned her place in hip-hop history. The always raunchy ghetto fabulous rap chanteuse came into the spotlight in when she was featured on Junior M.A.F.I.A's debut album. Her first solo CD titled Hardcore was released in 1996.

Her lyrics, laced with sweaty hardcore sexual innuendo and graphic imagery caused a hail storm of controversy. Almost immediately, everyone from nervous Atlantic record execs to politicians like C. Delores Tucker took notice. Kim was vilified in the media and adored by her fans. The album went platinum. Kim dismissed her critics claiming that her brand of entertainment represented a new, alternate (but feminist) approach to sexuality. "I'm a very sexual person...and what I'm revealing on my album is my personality and experiences."

Kim admits that much of her career is owed to Notorius B.I.G who, along with Puff Daddy groomed her to be the mega-star she is. In fact, Kim and Biggie relationship went beyond professional ties. The two were romantically involved up until Big Poppa's death, this in spite of the fact that Biggie was married to Bad Boy lable mate Faith Evans.

Biggie's death brought a lot of speculation as to the future of Kim's career. Kim denies it, but it is rumored that he wrote all the material on her first album. Delays in the release of Kim's second album ,The Notorious K.I.M have only fed the fire. Lately it seems Kim is more apt to be photographed in a fashion magazine or party than seen at a recording studio.

Time will only tell if Lil' Kim has truly has staying power or if she'll go out like a lamb in the face of competition from other femmes fatal like Foxy Brown and Rah Diggah.

--quotes from Atlantic Records/Lil' Kim website

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