Kimberly Denise Jones known by her stage name Lil’ Kim, is an American rapper, songwriter, record producer, model, and actress. She was born and raised in Brooklyn, New York, living much of her adolescent life on the streets after being expelled from home. In her teens, Jones would freestyle rap, heavily influenced by actress/singer Diana Ross, and fellow female hip-hop artists like MC Lyte and The Lady of Rage. Performing a freestyle rap for The Notorious B.I.G. got her music career start in 1995 with his group Junior M.A.F.I.A., whose debut album Conspiracy generated two top 20 singles in the United States. She has a young daughter whose name is Royal Reign.
Jones was born in the Bedford–Stuyvesant neighbourhood of the New York City borough of Brooklyn, the second child of Linwood Jones, a former U.S. Marine, and Ruby Jones (later Ruby Jones-Mitchell). She has one older brother named Christopher. As a child, Jones attended Queen of All Saints Elementary School in Brooklyn. At the age of 9, her parents separated, and Jones was raised by her father, with whom she had a tumultuous relationship. After being kicked out of her house by her dad, Jones dropped out of high school and started living out on the streets.
While still a teen, Jones met The Notorious B.I.G. aka Biggie Smalls (real name Christopher Wallace), who was a key figure in both her personal and artistic life, particularly after Wallace gained popularity and influence through his relationship with Bad Boy Records, founded by Sean “Puff Daddy” Combs. Jones attended Sarah J. Hale Vocational High School for two and a half years. Many of her friends also went there and she would often skip school to hang out with them. Since her school work wasn’t being completed, the decision was made for her to transfer to Brooklyn College Academy to finish her remaining year and half of school. It was the same school that fellow rappers Nas and Foxy Brown also attended.
After a year with Junior M.A.F.I.A., Jones began a solo career by making guest performances on R&B albums and recording her debut album, Hard Core, which was released in November 1996. The album debuted at No. 11 on the Billboard 200, the highest debut for a female rap album at that time, and No. 3 on Billboard‘s Top R&B Albums, selling 78,000 copies in its first week of release.
On June 27, 2000, Jones released her second album The Notorious K.I.M. The album marked a new image and revamped look for the rapper. Despite the limited success of its singles, the album debuted at No. 4 on the Billboard 200 and No. 1 on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart, selling 229,000 copies in its first week.
It was on this LP that the well-known hip-hop feud between Jones and Foxy Brown escalated. In 2001, Jones teamed up with Christina Aguilera, Pink, and Mýa to remake “Lady Marmalade”, which was featured on the Moulin Rouge soundtrack.
On March 4, 2003, Jones released her third studio album, La Bella Mafia. It debuted at number 5 on the Billboard 200, selling 166,000 copies in its first week, giving Jones her second consecutive top 5 album.
On March 17, 2005, Jones was convicted of three counts of conspiracy and one count of perjury for lying to a Federal grand jury about her and her friends’ involvement in a 2001 shooting outside the Hot 97 studios in Manhattan. During the trial of her co-manager, Damion “D-Roc” Butler, and her bodyguard, Suif “Gutta” Jackson, a former member of the hip-hop group Junior M.A.F.I.A, she testified not to have known they were at the scene. However, video footage from a security camera placed all three at the scene, exiting the building. This directly contravened testimony before the grand jury. Butler and Jackson have since pleaded guilty to gun charges. Jackson was sentenced, in U.S. District Court, to twelve years in federal prison as part of plea bargain in which he admitted to firing at least twenty rounds during the incident. The length of the sentence was said to have been influenced by his previous gun-related convictions. In July 2005, Jones was sentenced to a one-year and a day in prison, thirty days home detention upon release from custody, and three years of probation. She served the entirety of her sentence at the Federal Detention Center, Philadelphia in Center City, Philadelphia. She was released on July 3, 2006, after serving approximately 12 months
Jones released her fourth album, The Naked Truth, on September 27, 2005, while serving a federal prison sentence.
On March 9, 2006, BET premiered the show Lil’ Kim: Countdown to Lockdown, which was filmed before Jones headed to prison. The show became the highest rated premiere in BET history, averaging 1.9 million viewers.
Jones has been embroiled in a feud with rapper Nicki Minaj since she gained her breakthrough success with Pink Friday. With Jones and critics noticing resemblances with her on the Sucka Free mixtape, Jones accused Minaj of copying her image saying, “If you are going to steal my swag, you gonna have to pay. Something gotta give. You help me, I help you. That’s how it goes to me.” Minaj’s single “Roman’s Revenge” with Eminem was believed by critics to be a response to Jones’ comments, although she later denied this, she responded to the situation in an interview on The Angie Martinez show saying “She picked a fight with Foxy, then she picked a fight with Eve, then she picked a fight with Remy, then it was Mrs. Wallace, then it was Nicki Minaj”, said Minaj. “Every time you in the news, it’s ’cause you gettin’ at somebody! Where’s your music? Put your music out, and when I see your name on Billboard, that’s when I’ll respond to you. Other than that, goodbye. It’s Barbie, bitch.”
Jones reignited the feud following the release of her mixtape Black Friday, an album that directly referenced Nicki Minaj, via her debut album title and songs such as “Did It On’ ‘em” (that became “Pissin’ On’ ‘em”); and with artwork that showed Jones decapitating Minaj with a sword. A fragment of Minaj’s diss track “Tragedy” was released online in April 2011, featuring lyrics “Pink Friday, Eminem, 8 Mile/ It must hurt to sell your album on PayPal.” Following the release of Minaj’s second album, Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded, critics suggested that the tracks “Stupid Hoe” may have contained attacks at Jones. Jones later suggested in an interview with 105’s Breakfast Club that the song “Automatic” from Minaj’s second album was similar to her unreleased material, also calling Minaj “obnoxious” and “catty”.
In a recent Instagram photo collage, Lil Kim looked almost unrecognisable with her very pale skin, slim nose, and long blonde hair.
Dr. Jennifer Levine, a board-certified plastic surgeon, can spot the differences too. “It’s clear that there has been some skin bleaching. She’s probably used chemicals, which contain very high doses of acids, on her face, combined with high-acid creams to lighten her skin,” she tells Us Weekly.
Levine, who’s based in New York City, adds that Kim has probably had her eyes done as well: “They seem elongated and completely different,” she observes. “Kim would have had to have surgery to remove the fat, skin and tissue to create this new eye shape.”
Kim’s numerous nose augmentations are no secret, either. In a 2005 interview, the hip-hop star (real name: Kimberly Denise Jones) told Angie Martinez that she went under the knife after an abusive ex-boyfriend broke her nose. But the biggest differences, according to Levine, are “to her jawline. She could have had Botox injections under the jaw for a more chiselled look,“ she tells Us. “And in case it’s not obvious, Kim probably had filler injected into her cheeks.”
Kim has a 3 year old daughter called Royal Reign, with musician Mr Papers who it seems has no claim to fame other than being Lil Kim’s ex.