Lil Kim's "Not Tonight" is a Ladies' Hip-Hop Anthem Two Ways

Submitted by notoriousclassics on Mon, 03/08/2021 - 22:32
Lil Kim in 1997

Lil Kim's Hard Core lived up to its name thanks in part to the eye-popping track "Not Tonight." One of the last tracks on the Junior M.A.F.I.A. standout's solo debut album, the Jermaine Dupri track was stunningly straightforward, featuring memorable lyrics about exactly how Kim should be treated by a lover - none of which could be played on radio stations, then or now.

But you can't keep a good emcee down. A year later, Kim rebuilt the track from the ground up for the soundtrack to the Martin Lawrence comedy Nothing to Lose. Gone was J.D. and the sample of George Benson's "Turn Your Love Around"; in its place was a funky flip of Kool & The Gang's "Ladies' Night" and a posse of female talent trading verses, including Da Brat, Left Eye of TLC, Angie Martinez and Missy Elliott. The accompanying video featured even more ladies of hip-hop and R&B, including Mary J. Blige, Queen Latifah, and members of groups like SWV and Xscape.

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The "Ladies' Night Remix" of "Not Tonight" became a smash hit in the summer of '97, reaching No. 6 on the U.S. pop charts. Ironically, while Elliott says "You ain't gonna use me to just be singin' hooks / who do I look like, Patti LaBelle?" in her verse, she produced and introduced another female team-up in 2001: a cover of Labelle's "Lady Marmalade" for the Moulin Rouge soundtrack that featured Christina Aguilera, Mya, P!nk and - you guessed it - a rap verse from Kim.