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Crazy Like A Fox

Back in 1995, Kim was a little girl dressed all in black, surrounded by a bunch of goons in a Junior M.A.F.I.A. ad.
WA
Κείμενο Whoadie Allen

This was Kim about five years before you ever heard of her.
Photos by Terry Richardson.

Back in 1995, Kim was a little girl dressed all in black, surrounded by a bunch of goons in a Junior M.A.F.I.A. ad. She did what Biggie Smalls told her to do and all we knew was that she was a cute little girl in a dress that reminded us of Betty Boop. Then Biggie died and she went nuts. Nobody knew where she was and there were rumors of drug, booze, and sex benders that went on for weeks. Then the smoke settled and a rabid, feral lioness came bounding out of the darkness and everyone said, “What the fuck!?” Kim had exploded back onto the rap scene as a sexpot/fashion powerhouse with endless promo campaigns and fashion endorsements and even some new body parts. And she hasn’t stopped since. Today, despite only selling 1.6 million copies of her previous two albums (platinum is one mil per album) Kim constantly refers to herself as a “multi-multi-platinum artist” and her demand to be treated as such sees no bounds. Shit, the price of doing her hair and makeup alone has reached tens of thousands per appearance. Key grips at a recent video shoot are still talking about their amazement when Kim disappeared for the entire day into the hair-and-makeup trailer, leaving almost a hundred people standing there wondering what was going on (God only knows how much that cost). Despite all this prima donna lunacy, Kim’s album is blowing up. Her fame has reached Vanity Fair proportions, and as this article goes to press, La Bella Mafia has already hit the No. 5 spot. The only possible reason we can come up with is that she’s actually a really talented MC. Who knew? VICE: Did you ever try to get rid of the “sexy rapper” stigma? Lil’ Kim: It’s hard. You’re young when you come into the music industry and you have to go off of what people accept. Unfortunately, with me, people stuck to sex. And once they put you into one category, they want you to stay there. Obviously it’s not fair, I can’t be sexual all the time. But now I can’t switch to the Bible, either. I can’t become a gospel rapper. Somehow you’re still slept-on as an MC. I definitely know that I’m a multi-multi-platinum artist. My record label just hasn’t given me the right push yet. The record sales have to catch up to Lil’ Kim’s personality. It’s ironical because usually it’s the other way around. But I don’t think they understand how to promote an artist like myself. They’re too corporate, too stiff. My situation is like a Marilyn Monroe-meets-hip-hop mogul. As far as being a businesswoman, I’m a savage. I don’t stop until get what I want. But then as an artist, an entertainer, a media personality, you might know me in a real sexual, sensual way. I’m a real girl, that’s what I am. A cute, pretty little girl. A hot tamale. Fellas know what time it is. Right. Of course I’m in different situations than if I was a man. You know, male groupies are more silent with it. Guys don’t want to play themselves out like that. But I got this one guy in jail who sends mepictures. Other men have sent me wedding dresses. One time at the airport, this guy just lifted me up and started running. Some men will show up at my house. Like, they’ll go through the trouble of finding out where I live and tell me that God sent them to me.

So at this point do you think that dudes are a bunch of knobs, or do you still have something to prove? I feel I’m the best female rapper out there, but I want to be recognized the way men get recognized in the industry. It’s not fair that women don’t sell as many records as male artists. You don’t see other women selling five, six million records. And I know I work better than some of the guys. But it’s a male-dominated world, that’s all. They’ll make sure a female doesn’t come up over them. This time around, it’s my best album yet and I want to be respected for my lyrical ability. I want everybody to be able to say, “Yo, that bitch is nice.” WHOADIE ALLEN
Lil’ Kim’s La Bella Mafia is out now on Atlantic.