Lil Kim's 'The Notorious K.I.M.' is Back on Vinyl

Submitted by notoriousclassics on Fri, 02/26/2021 - 16:02
Lil Kim's 'The Notorious K.I.M.'

Lil Kim's ferocious verses provided a powerful woman's perspective in the hip-hop game. Now, her second album, 2000's The Notorious K.I.M., returns to vinyl as part of Rhino's Black History Month celebration.

Things had changed in Kim's world since releasing her solo debut Hard Core four years earlier. Her friend and collaborator The Notorious B.I.G., who'd mentored her as a member of Junior M.A.F.I.A., had been shot and killed in 1997, and she titled the new album in his honor. "I felt Biggie's spirit while I was working on this album," she explained to Jet.

After the in-your-face come-ons of Hard Core, Kim wanted to shoot for something different. "My whole image, to me, the reason why I came out with Hard Core, the sexy thing, was to make me different from every other female rapper that was out," she told MTV. "Now we have a lot of rappers doing the same thing that I did when I came out the first time. What I'm trying to do is separate myself again from the rappers that are out now."

The result was an album that expanded on what she was known for - "How Many Licks" was as sexually charged as they come - while also asserting her place in the canon of emcees. Highlights included "No Matter What They Say," which built on hip-hop classics by The Sugar Hill Gang, Special Ed and Eric B. & Rakim; and deep cuts like "Don't Mess with Me," an early co-production job by an up-and-coming Kanye West. Her Bad Boy brethren were present, too: Junior M.A.F.I.A. guested on "Do What You Like" while Sean "Puffy" Combs co-produced multiple tracks and contributed some bars to "Queen Bitch Pt. 2."

The Notorious K.I.M. became Kim's highest-charting album, topping Billboard's R&B/hip-hop survey and reaching No. 4 on the Billboard 200.