Lil’ Kim on her Queen Bee status: ‘I love the word icon’
She’s 4-foot-11, but Lil’ Kim has always been larger than life. And since breaking out from Brooklyn in the mid-’90s to become a female rap boss, she has grown into icon status in hip-hop.
“Oh my goodness, I love the word icon,” Kim tells The Post just a few days after receiving the I Am Hip Hop Award for career achievement at the BET Hip Hop Awards. “I love it. I embrace it. I’m happy to own it. I like inspiring other women. I love it — ’cause other women have inspired me.”
But she’s not interested in simply being a nostalgia act who rests on her leopard-print laurels. So — 14 years after her last studio album, 2005’s “The Naked Truth” — Queen Bee comes stinging back with “9,” out Friday.
“I had no idea it would take this long, but it did,” says Kim, 44, of what is surprisingly only her fifth proper LP in a 24-year recording career. “I’ve had so many ups and down and bumps and bruises, some things I couldn’t get around … It’s all about timing. I’m very spiritual, so I feel like God does everything in timing. And this was God’s timing.”
The new album — which, natch, has nine tracks — is only Part 1 of Lil’ Kim’s latest musical jumpoff, with Part 2 due early next year. “I have so many songs,” she says. “I probably recorded anywhere between 30 and 40 [tracks].”
“Pray for Me,” featuring Rick Ross and Musiq Soulchild, kicks off “9” on an unusually soulful, spiritual note. “It was almost like, ‘Pray for me, ’cause I’m ’bout to go in and really get this money now,’ ” says the rapper born Kimberly Jones, sounding as boastfully badass as ever.