In most current Hip Hop news, Nicki Minaj has more than often been crowned as the Queen of Hip Hop music in many of pop culture's internet blogs and posts on Instagram. However, even IF she IS somehow the current Queen of Hip Hop... she's not the first and definitely won't be the last! There will surely be someone to knock her off her throne. Recently, fans of Hip Hop thought that rightful successor might be none other than Iggy Azalea. However, it seems that Nicki is still reigning champ.
Regardless, someone paved the way for her. The list of icons by name that come before Nicki Minaj include Missy Elliott, MC Lyte, Eve, Foxy Brown and Queen Latifah among others. Yet, Nicki has most been yelled at by fans for having an image to close to that of Hip Hop Queen, Lil Kim!
Around 2010, Lil' Kim 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 Lil Kim comments. "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....[etc.]."
Lil Kim reignited the feud following the release of her mixtape Black Friday (which directly referenced Nicki Minaj, via her debut album title and with artwork that showed Lil Kim decapitating Minaj with a sword). The feud went on from there gaining attention from various other recording artists, rappers and media blogs. Thus, with Nicki on top many began to refer to Lil Kim as what the industry likes to call "washed-up".
Is Lil Kim really washed up? Well, as we have seen with other artists from all genre's of the music business, it is common practice for the industry to push the icons of yesteryear aside when the factors of sexism, ageism, the struggle of staying relevant tied with a change of a new generation of consumers to come in and take the place of the older consumers who have moved on from supporting that market of demographics that artists and labels try to hit when they first come on to the scene to become an icon in the first place. By that time, the artists that people grow up with have gone through things in their own lives and often find themselves taking a break from the spotlight only to return and find that their place has been taken by a new artist.
Still, that doesn't take away from the legacy that these artists have made for themselves through the accomplishments that they achieved. Many fans of music don't feel that it's right to push these talented artists aside the way that the industry does and artist feel likewise. Take Lil' Kim for example. How dare we forget her impact! Lil' Kim met the legendary Notorious B.I.G. and became a key figure in his personal and artistic life. Lil Kim joined the rap group Junior M.A.F.I.A. and released the Conspiracy album in 1995. During the recording of her debut album Hard Core (which recently celebrated it's 19th anniversary on November 12, 2015) Lil' Kim became pregnant by Biggie Smalls, although she decided not to keep the child and the next year on November 12, 1996, Hard Core was released and reached the Top 20 on the Billboard 200 albums chart scoring double platinum status. A remix of the album's track "Not Tonight" featuring fellow female rappers Missy Elliot, Angie Martinez, Da Brat and Left Eye of TLC was nominated for a Grammy. In 1997, Jones promoted Hard Core by performing on Sean "Puff Daddy" Combs No Way Out tour which became one of the highest grossing hip-hop tours of all time.
Although Kim was never signed to Bad Boy Records, she had heavy affiliation with the label through Biggie and label owner Puff Daddy. Bad Boy's beef with Death Row Records and it's owner Suge Knight during the East Coast vs. West Cost rivalry eventually led to death of two hip hop legends... Tupac Shakur (September 13, 1996) and her lover The Notorious B.I.G. (March 9, 1997), leaving Kim heartbroken. The year 1998, Kim stabilized her position as a pop fashion icon by modeling for Candies, Versace and Baby Phat and in 1999 made pop culture history when she showed up to the MTV Video Music Awards with an entire breast exposed and only a tiny piece of fabric over the nipple. Kim's outfit became even more controversial later when she appeared on stage with Mary J. Blige and Diana Ross to present the Best Hip-Hop Video award, and Ross reached over, cupped her hand under Kim's exposed breast and jiggled it while Kim laughed. The moment has since become a Halloween costume favorite among young women including pop star Miley Cyrus.
In 2000 she released her second album and named it The Notorious K.I.M. in dedication and "memorial" to Biggie. The album marked a new image and revamped look for the rapper. The album debuted at No. 4 on the Billboard 200 and was certified platinum. In 2001, Jones teamed up with pop and R&B singers Christina Aguilera, Pink, and Mýa to remake "Lady Marmalade", which was originally performed by the group Labelle (with lead singer Patti LaBelle) 25 years earlier. The song was recorded for the Moulin Rouge! film soundtrack, released in April 2001, and stayed No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 for five weeks. The song also went to No. 1 in 50 other countries around the world and became a milestone as a big accomplishment for female rapper to achieve her first No. 1 Hot 100 hit and became the second solo female rapper in history to hit No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 charts. "Lady Marmalade" also won Lil Kim her first Grammy Award.
After that, Lil Kim released "Magic Stick" with 50 Cent and later had an infamous brush with the law that landed her in prison from 2005 to 2006. She released her fourth album The Naked Truth in 2005 and it's lead single "Lighter's Up" is her most current Billboard smash. In 2006, BET premiered a reality show called Lil Kim: Countdown to Lockdown and became the highest rated premiere in BET history at the time. Since then Lil Kim, like any artist, has been trying to reignite the flames to her success... but in reference to Nicki Minaj's statement: "Where's your music? ... when I see your name on Billboard, that's when I'll respond to you..." - Does she mean her hits, her catalog, her history in Hip Hop or just everything she's trying to do right now? Cause Lil' Kim has already done it!!!