Lil’ Kim, born Kimberly Denise Jones, made a name for herself in the 1990’s with her debut album, ‘ Hard Core’. Hailing from New York, this petite rapper, songwriter, model, and actress didn’t grow up in a traditional household, reportedly living on the streets for much of her childhood. After dropping out of high school and trying to make it on her own, Lil’ Kim met Notorious B.I.G., aka Biggie Smalls, and soon began making changes in her lifestyle and artistry that would set the foundation for the artist we know today.
After being introduced to Biggie Smalls, Lil’ Kim found herself surrounded by up and coming artists and big time stars such as Sean “Puff Daddy” Combs, Nas, and Foxy Brown. At the age of 19, Lil’ Kim was given the opportunity of a lifetime that proved to be the catalyst for her career with Junior M.A.F.I.A. Junior M.A.F.I.A. dropped their first and only album ‘Conspiracy’ on August 29, 1995. After hitting the charts and making waves in the music industry, Lil’ Kim got the break she needed to pursue solo career.
Fame and Fortune
It wasn’t long before Lil’ Kim was making a name for herself and releasing her own music. The first album being ‘Hard Core‘, soared to number 11 on the top 200 Billboard making her the highest ranking female rapper in history. Four years later she released her second album, the Notorious K.I.M., which marked the first of many image transformations. It didn’t take long before Lil’ Kim made headlines once again, this time dropping her third album and drawing in legal problems. During this time, Lil’ Kim faced serious legal accusations of lying and conspiracy due to her denial of known information regarding her involvement in the 2001 Hot 97 shooting.
Now a headliner, Lil’ Kim started to feel the pressure of the media, fans, and the entertainment business prompting her to push her own body to the limits and transform her outer appearance to fit the tough competition and high expectations of beauty and fashion.
Lil’ Kim’s Transformation
It all started in 2006 after she released a montage of Instagram photos showcasing her newest look. This time, Lil’ Kim was almost unrecognizable to her fans, sporting a much lighter skin tone and newly shaped face. Fans immediately took to social media and began reacting with passion. From the shocked fans posting hurtful and shameful remarks to those defending the once iconic performer, plenty of people had something to say about her transformation.
But what caused this lovely lady to decide such drastic measures were justified? Lil’ Kim told Newsweek, “All my life men have told me I wasn’t pretty enough—even the men I was dating… It’s always been men putting me down just like my dad. To this day when someone says I’m cute, I can’t see it. I don’t see it no matter what anybody says.”
Nearly 10 years later, Lil’ Kim has continued to “work” on her appearance, allegedly going under the knife several more times to result in what some call the most shocking transformation of a female rap star. Now looking more like the infamous “Cat Woman”, Jocelyn Wildenstein, Lil’ Kim continues to struggle with her self confidence, artistic talent, and inevitable aging process. Once a young, beautiful, and well recognized success story, over the years Lil’ Kim has continued to “lose face” so to speak with her fans, the public, and society as she continues to fight her own personal demons.