|Birth Date||11 July 1975|
|Hometown||Bedford–Stuyvesant, Brooklyn, New York|
|Highest Score||28 (Jive & Paso doble)|
|Lowest Score||19 (Cha-Cha-Cha)|
Life and Career
Jones was born in the Bedford–Stuyvesant neighborhood 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 nine, 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.
In 1994, B.I.G. was instrumental in introducing and promoting the Brooklyn-based group, Junior M.A.F.I.A., which included Jones, who was only nineteen at the time. The group's first and only album, Conspiracy, was released to mediocre reviews and moderate sales 29 August 1995 and debuted at number eight on the U.S. Billboard 200 chart, selling 69,000 copies in its first week of release. Wallace wrote (and ghostwrote) most of the album's material. Three hit singles came from Conspiracy: "Player's Anthem" (peaked at No. 7 on the Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart and No. 2 on the Hot Rap Tracks chart), "I Need You Tonight" (No. 43 R&B, No. 12 Rap), and "Get Money" (No. 17 on the Billboard Hot 100, No. 4 R&B, No. 2 Rap). The RIAA certified Conspiracy Gold 6 December 1995. "Player's Anthem" and "Get Money" were certified Gold and Platinum respectively. Jones' increasing popularity as a member of Junior M.A.F.I.A. allowed her to start a solo career shortly after the Conspiracy album was released, and she began working on what would become her debut album Hard Core by late 1995.
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 and has sold over five million copies worldwide. Hard Core was certified double Platinum by the RIAA 14 March 2001 after having been certified Gold 6 January 1997 and Platinum 3 June 1997. The album's lead single "No Time", a duet with Combs, reached the top spot of the Billboard Hot Rap Tracks chart and was certified Gold by the RIAA. The following single, "Crush on You", reached No. 6 on the Hot 100 and No. 2 on the rap chart. A remix of the album's track "Not Tonight" saw Jones team up with Missy Elliott, Angie Martinez, Da Brat and Left Eye of TLC. The song was part of the soundtrack to the Martin Lawrence movie Nothing to Lose, nominated for a Grammy Award, and certified Platinum. In one stockholders' meeting of Warner Bros. Records, activist C. Delores Tucker criticized the label "for producing this filth," referring to perceived graphic sexual content in Jones' lyrics, and labeling them "gangsta porno rap". In 1997, Jones promoted Hard Core by performing on P. Diddy's "No Way Out" tour. The tour continued though to 1998 and became one of the highest grossing hip-hop tours of all time, grossing an estimated $16 million. That same year, she launched her own label Queen Bee Entertainment. From 1998 to 2000, Jones continued her road to stardom under the management of B.I.G.'s best friend, Damion "D-Roc" Butler's "Roc Management", touring and modeling for various fashion and pop culture companies including Candie's, Versace, Iceberg, and Baby Phat. and even though she had not had an album of her own released, she was seen on dozens of remixes and guest appearances on other artist's records.
On 27 June 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 certified Platinum by the RIAA, four weeks after its release. 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 originally written about a bordello in New Orleans and performed by the group Labelle (which included diva Patti LaBelle) twenty-five 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 countries around the world. This was a big accomplishment for female rap, as well as for Jones, who scored 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 garnered Jones her first Grammy Award. Jones also performed in two international hit singles. "In the Air Tonite", a remix of the Phil Collins song "In the Air Tonight" and duet with Collins, was released as a single from the Collins tribute album Urban Renewal. The second single, "Kimnotyze", was released as the lead single of record producer DJ Tomekk's compilation album Beat Of Life, Vol 1. It was released in Switzerland, Austria and Germany only. The song was successful, becoming Jones third consecutive top 10 hit in Germany after her number 5 hit "Lady Marmalade".
In 2002, Jones recorded a new entrance theme for then World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) Women's Champion Trish Stratus entitled, "Time to Rock 'n Roll", which was used during broadcasts, until Stratus' retirement. The single was released on WWE Anthology, a compilation of entrance theme music to various professional wrestling superstars. Jones released the buzz song "Whats The Word" in mid-2002. Despite not having an official release, it went on to peak at number 9 on the Bubbling Under R&B/Hip-Hop Singles chart. It would later be released on the Japan edition of her third studio album, La Bella Mafia, as a bonus track.
On 4 March 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. The album received generally positive reviews from critics, receiving a score of 65 on Metacritic. A buzz single, "Came Back For You", was released ahead of the album, the music video for the song featured reality television personality Victoria Gotti. The first single, "The Jump Off", featuring Mr. Cheeks, peaked at number 16 on the Billboard Hot 100. Follow up single, "Magic Stick", featuring 50 Cent, peaked at number 2 on the Billboard Hot 100, staying there for three weeks. The song never had a commercial release or a music video, but was successful due to high radio airplay, peaking at number 1 on Billboard's Airplay chart. A third US only single, "Thug Luv", featuring Twista, was released in the last quarter of 2003 at peaked at number 60 on Billboard's Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart. The album was certified Platinum in the US, selling over 1.1 million copies. Jones promoted the album with a string of concerts, which also featured DMX and Nas. Jones was nominated for five Source Awards and won two ("Female Hip-Hop Artist of the Year", and "Female Single of the Year"). The album also got two Grammy Award nominations for Best Female Rap Solo Performance ("Came Back For You") and Best Rap Collaboration ("Magic Stick"). She was also nominated for Best Pop Collaboration with singer Christina Aguilera for the song "Can't Hold Us Down", from Aguilera's album Stripped.
Greg Thomas, an English professor at Syracuse University, began teaching "Hip-Hop Eshu: Queen B@#$H Lyricism 101". Jones herself was a guest speaker at the school. Professor Thomas considered Jones' lyrics "the art with the most profound sexual politics I've ever seen anywhere." David Horowitz criticized the course as "academic degeneracy and decline". Jones also made an appearance on the multi-platform video game Def Jam: Fight for NY. Jones provided voice-overs for her part in the storyline, where the player may fight an opponent to have Jones as their girlfriend. In 2004, Jones recorded a cover of "These Boots Are Made for Walkin'" which was used as the opening theme for Victoria Gotti's reality series Growing Up Gotti. The same year Jones was featured on the remix of "Naughty Girl" by Beyoncé. In December 2004, Jones began recording a pilot for a VH1 reality show titled 718 Makeover. The 718 in the title is the area code for Brooklyn, where Jones grew up. The show never made it to air.
On 17 March 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 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 3 July 2006, after serving approximately twelve months. Jones, Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) Register #56198-054, was released from BOP supervision 2 August 2006.
Jones released her fourth album, The Naked Truth, 27 September 2005, while serving a federal prison sentence. It earned her a 5 mic rating from The Source, making her the only female rapper to ever receive a 5 mic rating. The album debuted at No. 6 on the Billboard 200 chart, selling 109,000 copies in its first week of release, giving Jones her third Top 10 debut on the chart. The Naked Truth did not sell as well as her previous works, it only managed to reach a Gold certification by RIAA. She said that her prison sentence left her with no time to promote the project. The music video for The Naked Truth's first single, "Lighters Up", was number one on BET's 106 & Park for two weeks. "Lighters Up" was a Top Ten hit on the Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Singles & Tracks chart. The single also reached No. 67 on the German Single Chart, No. 12 on the UK Top 75 and No. 4 on the Finland Single Chart. The second single, "Whoa" was released 17 February 2006. It reached No. 22 on Airplay.
On 9 March 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. In May 2006, Debbie Harry released a song in tribute to Jones called "Dirty and Deep" in protest of her conviction. The song was available for free from her official website. The Dance Remixes, her first compilation album was released on June 6, 2006. The album featured remixes of songs from The Naked Truth and Hard Core. A limited pressing released only in the US, it received no promotion, due to Jones being in prison at the time of release, and failed to chart. On 31 August 2006, Jones presented the award for Best Male Video at the 2006 MTV Video Music Awards, it marked her first televised appearance since being released from prison. She also made appearances on the show The Pussycat Dolls Present: The Search for the Next Doll and Pussycat Dolls Present: Girlicious in 2007 and 2008 as a judge.
In January 2008, Jones announced that she had parted ways with Atlantic Records, choosing to release future projects independently. She stated she had no hard feelings towards Atlantic but felt more comfortable in her knowledge of the music business to do it alone. Jones released her first mixtape, Ms. G.O.A.T., an acronym for "Greatest of All Time", on June 3, 2008. It was produced by New York City DJs Mister Cee and DJ Whoo Kid. Among critics, the mixtape received generally positive reviews. It has been called a representation of Jones's return to the streets. Tito Salinas of All Hip Hop says "Lil' Kim shows that her time behind bars did not rust all of her swag away" on Ms. G.O.A.T. On the other hand, Ehren Gresehover of New York Mag says that although one of the tracks "The Miseducation of Lil' Kim" is not bad, he wished that it was Lauryn Hill who was making a comeback instead.
On 10 March 2009, the song "Girls" by Korean singer Seven featuring Jones was released through digital stores as his U.S. debut single. Jones appeared in the music video that was released on the same day. "Girls" was produced by Darkchild. On 24 March 2009, she released the song "Download" featuring R&B singers T-Pain and Charlie Wilson. It was written by Jones and T-Pain and produced by Trackmasters. The song samples "Computer Love" by Zapp. Although it missed the Hot 100, it did chart on the Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart, peaking at number 21.
On 16 February 2010, the Ludacris song "Hey Ho", which featured Jones and Lil Fate, was released as a promo single for his seventh studio album Battle of the Sexes. In June 2010, Jones started her 2010 Tour, her first headlining tour since 2000. It took her across the US, as well as Canada and Europe.
Jones released her second mixtape, Black Friday, 14 February 2011. The video for the title track was released 16 February 2011. The mixtape received mostly negative reviews from critics. It was made available for purchase via PayPal with the first 100,000 copies sold being signed by the rapper. In May 2011, Jones performed in South Africa as part of the music festival ZarFest alongside Fat Joe, Timbaland and Ciara. On 19 June 2011, Jones performed alongside G-Unit member Shawty Lo and hinted a possible working relationship with G-Unit Records. That same month the song Jones, along with Rick Ross, was featured on titled "Anything (To Find You)", by R&B singer Monica was leaked. The song, which samples The Notorious B.I.G.'s "Who Shot Ya?", initially featured just Jones, but her second verse was removed to make room for Ross. Her vocals were then removed fully due to contractual issues with B.I.G.'s estate. In August 2011, Jones performed four dates in Australia as part of the WinterBeatz Festival alongside Fabolous, Mario, 50 Cent and G-Unit. During the 17 August date in Perth, she joined 50 Cent on stage for a performance of "Magic Stick". It marked the first time the pair had performed the song together. On 28 November 2011, Jones released a buzz single called "I Am Not the One". She also announced that she would release an EP, but it was later shelved for unknown reasons.
In the summer of 2011, Jones began recording material for her fifth studio album, as a restriction banning her from releasing new material as a result of her settlement with Trackmasters was lifted.
On Valentine's Day, 2012, Jones released the song "If You Love Me" produced by "Prince Saheb" of Knockout Entertainment as a gift to her fans. That same month it was announced she would make her return to the stage on BET's Rip the Runway. It marked her first televised performance in years. In March 2012, during an interview with MTV's Sucker Free, Jones revealed that contract issues with production duo Trackmasters were the reason behind her album delay, saying "...contractually, by the courts, I could not record any music – I wasn't supposed to put any music out." On 23 March 2012, the song "Keys to the City", a collaboration with Young Jeezy, was leaked to the Internet. Jones first mentioned the song during an interview with MTV's RapFix, saying "I have a song with another celebrity person that I know the world and my fans are gonna love... It's vintage Kim mixed with the new Kim." During the same RapFix interview, Jones also revealed another song, titled "I'm Ready", which she hopes to do with rapper 50 Cent. Jones also commented on the direction of her music, saying she was in "Kanye West mode", adding "...You do whatever you want to do ...it's all about taking chances".
Jones kicked off her Return of the Queen Tour 17 May 2012 to positive reviews. In a radio interview at 99 Jamz, Jones stated that her upcoming book, The Price of Loyalty, is on hold to coincide with the release of her new album. It was also revealed in 2012 that Jones had signed upcoming female rapper Tiffany Foxx to her label, IRS Records.
On 6 March 2013, Jones returned to Rap Fix Live and revealed that Bangladesh would be executive producing her album with her, and that she had signed a business deal with former Chairman and CEO of EMI Records, Charles Koppelman. however Bangladesh later stated in an interview that "[didn't] think it was going to work out.". During an interview with XXL 26 April 2013, Jones revealed that she did not have a name for the album yet, but the first official single would be out by mid year. Jones described the single, produced by Bangladesh, as "different" and "sweet dessert". On 11 July 2013, Jones released the Rockwilder produced single "Looks Like Money" as a free download to her fans on her birthday. On 26 July 2013 Jones announced and released the cover art for a new mixtape entitled Hard Core 2K13, which will also serve as a sequel to her critically acclaimed debut album, Hard Core. The mixtape was originally set to be released 31 October 2013, but for unknown reasons, was pushed back. To make up for not releasing the mixtape, Jones released the singles "Dead Gal Walking" and "Kimmy Blanco" to the public, along with the track list. The track list revealed collaborations with French Montana, Miley Cyrus, Jadakiss, and Yo Gotti.
On 17 January 2014, Canadian make-up artist and photographer Samantha Ravndahl filed a lawsuit against Jones, claiming that Jones had stolen an image from her Reddit page to use for her "Dead Gal Walking" single artwork. Ravndahl first tried amicably resolving the issue soon after the single was released in November by asking Jones to remove the image from her social media sites, but after continued social media posts containing the artwork, she followed through with a lawsuit. The stolen image depicts Ravndahl herself modeling a "zombie-style" make-up design of her own creation. In the lawsuit complaint, Ravndahl's attorney's claim that: "Ravndahl believes that Lil' Kim, acting through her agent, Whosay, Inc., slapped Lil' Kim's name and copyright notice over Ravndahl's face and makeup design on Ravndahl's photograph before distributing it all over the web." The case has been filed through a Federal District Court in California and Ravndahl is seeking $150,000 in damages from Jones, plus attorney fees. A jury is being requested in the trial. Jones has not made any public statements concerning the issue other than crediting her graphic designer on her Twitter page, as well as stating in an interview to XXL magazine, "I don't know what the heck is going on, if there were something going on, my team would know better than I would. You have to get that from my team because I really don't know what's going on." On February 18, 2014, Jones released another single from Hard Core Mixtape 2k14. The single, entitled "Haterz," features lyrics by Jones and rapper B-Ford and was released on her Twit Music page where fans could download it. In April, the single was released on iTunes.
Jones announced 2 August 2014 via her Twitter page a concert tour for her much anticipated Hard Core Mixtape. Details have yet to surface about concert dates or locations. Throughout the remainder of the month of August, Jones released a number of songs via her Twit Music account: A remix to Beyoncé's and Nicki Minaj's collaboration of "Flawless" (4 August), "Identity Theft" (6 August), A freestyle entitled "Hot Nigga" (7 August), a freestyle to "No Flex Zone" by Rae Sremmurd (26 August), and a remix to Iggy Azalea's "Fancy".
On 11 September 2014, the Hard Core mixtape was released as free download on Kim's official website. In an interview with Revolt TV on the same day, Jones revealed that she, Iggy Azalea, and Rapper T.I. will be collaborating on a song sometime in the future, citing "I don't know if it's going to be for my album or if we're just going to…we have other plans for it as well. But, I think we're going to do a double release." In the same interview, she explained the reasons why the mixtape was pushed back twice, stating "When this project was supposed to come out I had got pregnant. I didn't know. [...] Once I became fully pregnant, I was working in the studio but at one point I couldn't work anymore, obviously". On March 2016, Jones' fourth mixtape Lil Kim Season was released.
2017 to Present
Jones is set to feature on the song "Lovin You for Life" from the album The King & I, by singer Faith Evans, which will be released in 2017. In February 2017, Jones announced via her Instagram account and a Billboard interview that she is working on a new album set to be released in 2017. Collaborators from this album include Cardi B and Remy Ma. The album is set to be released along with the follow-up mixtape to Lil Kim Season, entitled Lil Kim Season 2: The Originals.
In her teens, Jones began dating Shawn Powell. The pair met at the Empire Roller Skating rink in Brooklyn. After a couple of months of seeing each other, Powell was arrested for robbery and was sentenced to eight and a half years in prison. Jones and Powell continued their relationship with Jones visiting frequently and also kept in touch by writing letters to each other. The couple also became engaged while he was incarcerated. During this time was when Jones met Christopher Wallace, and with wanting to focus on starting her rap career the engagement was eventually called off and the couple split. Shortly after meeting Wallace, Jones had an on and off relationship with him up until his death in 1997. On 23 July 1996, Jones was arrested for possession of marijuana after police raided the Teaneck, New Jersey home of Wallace. The arrest came after police smelt marijuana inside the home when they went to ask for someone to move an illegally parked car. Jones denied she was smoking, claiming she was "upstairs all day sleeping". That same year, during the recording of her debut album, Hard Core, Jones fell pregnant with Wallace's child. Jones never made it public until 1999 during an interview with The Source. Jones decided not to keep the baby, telling The Source "I already knew the kind of relationship that Biggie and I had, and I knew that [having a child] was something that couldn't take place..." Wallace called Jones three days before his death and told her he loved her. On 17 March 1999, Teaneck police issued an arrest warrant after Jones failed to turn up to court dates stemming from her 1996 arrest. The warrant wasn't a top priority for police and wasn't made public until September 2003, after the story was published online by The Smoking Gun. Jones was later removed from Teaneck's wanted list in October 2003, after $350 in bail was posted on her behalf. Jones' attorney told reporters that she didn't appear in court as she believed the case had been resolved.
In 2002, Jones started dating Damion "World" Hardy, the couple split in 2003. It was during this time that Jones had been a victim of physical abuse. Telling The Source in 2004 that she had suffered from black eyes, bloody lips, blood clots and even had to have an MRI. Jones also stated how she had to have multiple nose jobs due to being punched. On 20 June 2003, Jones had $250,000 worth of jewelry stolen from her while catching a flight at New York's John F. Kennedy International Airport after a bag, which she intended to carry on, was mixed up with eight other pieces of her luggage. The missing jewelry was recovered 10 days later, found wrapped up in a rag in a locker room for airline employees by a United Airlines worker. On 1 July 2003, John Acheson was charged after trying to extort $25,000 from Jones in exchange for her stolen jewelry. Acheson, who was never in possession of Jones' jewelry, called Jones' lawyer, Mel Sachs, on 23 June saying he had the jewelry and would exchange it for an initial $5,000 and $20,000 at a later date. Acheson was charged with third degree attempted grand larceny, fourth degree attempted grand larceny by extortion, and attempted coercion in the second degree. In March 2004, Acheson was sentenced to five days in jail and a $500 fine after pleading guilty to a minor charge of attempted grand larceny. In 2004, Jones dated record producer Scott Storch. The two met when Storch offered Jones a ride to her hotel. The couple split after only two months together. In 2013, Storch revealed that he would've married Jones if the relationship had worked out. In 2007, Jones and Ray J briefly dated. On 9 June 2014, Jones gave birth to a baby girl, named Royal Reign.
Dancing with the Stars 8
Jones appeared in the eighth season of reality series Dancing with the Stars, which began airing 9 March 2009. She was paired with professional dancer Derek Hough until the dance couple was eliminated 5 May 2009 against Ty Murray and his partner Chelsie Hightower, putting her at fifth place from all thirteen contestants that season. Her elimination was met by many boos from the audience, as she was a consistent high-scorer and a fan favorite.
|Week #||Dance / Song||Judges' Scores||Result|
|1||Cha-Cha-Cha / "Nasty"||7||7||7||No elimination|
|2||Quickstep / "Diamonds Are a Girl's Best Friend"||8||7||8||Safe|
|3||Samba / "Remedio P'al Corazon"||8||8||9||Safe|
|4||Argentine Tango / "Taquito Militar"||9||8||10||Safe|
|5||Viennese Waltz / "I'll Be"||9||8||9||Safe|
|6||Jive / "Jailhouse Rock"||10||8||10||Safe|
|7||Rumba / "Lost Without U"||9||8||9||Safe|
|8||Paso Doble / "El Gato Montes"
Team Tango / "Womanizer"
|9||Waltz / "When I Need You"
Salsa / "Por Arriba, Por Abajo"