Born and raised in Brooklyn, New York, Kimberly Denise Jones was left under the care of her father after her parents got divorced when she was 9 years old. Kimberly and her older brother, Christopher, lived with their mother Ruby Mae at first, until custody of the children was passed on to Linwood Jones.
A rebellious child living under the strict rules of her dad, lil' Kim and her father constantly fought. After therapy sessions and physical fights, she eventually ran away from home. Forced to crash at her friends' apartments, live with drug-delilng boyfriends, and indulge in promiscuity in order to "gold-dig" her way into a man's heart, Kim eventually began to clean up her act upon meeting her mentor and father figure, Christopher Wallace, better known as Biggie Smalls.
While Kim worked as a salesperson at Bloomingdale's, her friends discovered that she could, in fact, rap. Biggie encouraged his protégé to pursue a rapping career, and cast her as a member of the rap group Junior M.A.F.I.A., signed under Biggie's Undeas label. lil' Kim's talent shone with her contribution to the group's debut single, "Player's Anthem", as well as the Junior M.A.F.I.A.'s debut album, Conspiracy.
Obviously the group's star, lil' Kim went on to work on other projects on the side, including appearances on Mona Lisa, the Isley Brothers, Total, and Skin Deep's records. It was time for lil' Kim to come out on her own with a solo album, and that's just what she did in 1996, with the release of her debut solo album, Hard Core.
With collaborating producers such as Puff Daddy, Jermaine Dupri, Prestige, and High Class, Hard Core debuted at #11 on the Billboard charts, and became a critical and commercial success. With hit singles such as "No Time" (featuring Puffy himself and becoming RIAA gold) and "Queen Bitch", Hard Core showcased lil' Kim as a sexually explicit, uninhibited woman and a star female rapper. While everything was rosy in lil' Kim land, her world, along with the East Coast hip-hop world, was shattered with the murder of the Notorious B.I.G. on the 9th of March, 1997.
After that, lil' Kim practically took a hiatus from recording her own music after the tragic death of her mentor, but she still kept busy with a string of other projects. She was one of the featured performers of Puff Daddy's highly successful 1998 "Bad Boy Tour" (at Puffy's request), and ventured into her own business with the launch of Queen Bee Records, with lil' Kim as CEO.
Finally, in June of 2000, lil' Kim followed up Hard Core with her extremely long-awaited album, Notorious K.I.M.. The album marks the second album on Queen Bee Records, after the release of lil' Cease's The Wonderful World of Cease-A-Leo. Just because lil' Kim wasn't heard on a new solo album, that doesn't mean she wasn't seen. The rapper made her big-screen debut with a role in She's All That, co-starring Rachael Leigh Cook; had a guest-starring role on her buddy Pamela Anderson's series, VIP; appeared in this summer's slasher Scary Movie; appeared on the cover of magazines such as The Source, Vibe, and Interview; and is presently the spokesperson for M.A.C.
Cosmetics (along with best friend Mary J. Blige), Candie's shoes and Iceberg jeans. Known for her provocative outfits, pornographic lyrics, edgy rhythm, and groundbreaking success, this diva sure packs more punch than her name implies.