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Rap Radar Interview
http://www.rapradar.com/qa/lil-kim.html Interview: Brian "B.Dot" Miller
On the track “Notorious B.I.G.” from Biggie’s posthumous album Born Again, Lil’ Kim bragged about switching her style like the hottest new dancers. Well tonight, Kimberly gets a chance to cut a rug on the season premiere of the hit ABC reality program Dancing With The Stars. Hours before slipping into her heels, Kim spoke to RapRadar about the show, her label situation, and what she thinks Biggie would've made of Notorious.
Dancing With The Stars seems like a career stretch. How were you approached to do the show? When I first came home from prison they actually called to get me on the show then, but my life was so hectic. I was still on house arrest for a month, and it was hard for me to maneuver. They wanted me to come in then, but I couldn’t do it. Wasn’t the right timing. So I said, “Let me do it this year” cause we really love the show.
How were you able to watch the show from jail? I was in a federal prison, so we had a little bit more amenities than most of the prisons. But, it was really a bad prison. It wasn’t like I was in a camp or anything. I was in a prison, prison. But the prison I was in, we only got to watch 10 channels.
Were you controlling the jailhouse television set? [Laughs] We had to agree on what channels we were watching because sometimes fights break out. The crazy thing is all of us like the same shows, mostly. But what happens though is that when there are fights over the shows, they take the TV from us for the whole week. But Dancing With The Stars believe it or not was the number one show [in jail].
What do you think of all the dancing in hip-hop these days? The times change. I like it. I really don’t have a problem with it because music is music. If it’s a song that I don’t like, I don’t like it. But I know a lot of people who have their little sayings about the Soulja Boy dance. I ain’t gon' front, I like it. I was doing it—the Superman in my kitchen. I ain’t gon front. [Laughs]
Aside from a few features, you’ve been relatively quiet on the music end. What gives? I been getting my priorities and my business straight. I mean, the last couple years was a fight for me because I been trying to get off my record label and I finally did it. So, I’m independent now and that’s one of the reasons I was under the radar.
So, what’s the status of Queen Bee Records? I got tons of offers, sort of like a small bidding war right now for who is going to be my partner. I’m definitely trying to get [that] off the ground cause a lot of artists come to me and say, “Kim, I wanna rock with you!” and I be like, “Dag, only if my shit was set up right now.”
Your new record, “Download” samples Zapp’s “Computer Love." What was the motivation behind that? “Computer Love” was one of my favorite, favorite, favorite records. And just before I went to prison I heard the song. I was like, “Yo, with computers being the new wave of communication and the new cell phone, and the new everything, I’m like this is so perfect. I got to do this song over.” So I said I’m a make a song that’s strictly about making love on the computers.
Is your new album entitled Vintage? No, that’s was something somebody put out there. I’m hoping the time the show is over I can release my album or at least my first single.
So “Download” isn’t your first single? Well, it depends on when the album comes out. But, I’m praying that I get the chance to put it on there because the record is with the Track Masters whom I had a deal with. They are going to have that record on their [DJ Envy's] compilation. But, I feel positive that we can put it on my album. So we’ll see. It depends on how soon my album comes out also.
Switching gears, you’ve been publicly unsupportive of Notorious. If Biggie were alive, do you think he would’ve been pleased with the film? I’m a very spiritual person and he’s come to me many of times in my dreams. But, I don’t think he’s happy at all, at all! Because Ms. Wallace doesn’t know Biggie at all and she barley knows Christopher, if you know what I mean. At all! And I was around. Even before he blew up so crazy, so I know how he felt about his mom. And Biggie was so much more than what they put him out to be in that movie. And to be honest with you, I know for a fact he’s not happy. He’s not satisfied at all. At all. And regardless of the fact, everybody who is involved in this movie, he has love for. Everybody. But at the end of the day, he knows who’s who and what’s what. Believe that. And let me tell you something, the way he’s feeling is going to come out. Like, trust me. Everything is going to come out later. You’re going to see who he really loved and the ones that’s standing up for him the right way is the ones representing him the right way.
At this point, do you think he’d want you to reconcile with Lil’ Cease? I think after what Cease did, no. I’m going to tell you what my spiritual connection from Biggie is telling me, “Don’t look back, just do you” and that’s why my success is right here for me. I’m moving in a very positive direction, I don’t care what nobody say. They can have all the negativity and all the bull. Biggie said “Don’t look back. Forget Cease, forget all of them because they going to be sorry. Cause what they did was wrong” and he knows it.
Fair enough. But didn’t you want Christina Milian to play you in the movie? Just know how they put that crap out there is straight bull. That’s not the truth. Christina Milian is a real good friend of mine and she happened to be on the phone with me at the time and we talked, you know what I mean? And she knew how unhappy I was. And at the end of the day, I had a couple of friends that’s in Hollywood that was like Kim, “I’ll do that, I know you very well. I’ll play it for you.” So I wanted to get someone who actually knew me and knew my sexiness and knew my sophistication and who can pull it off. But at the end of the day, the movie wasn’t about me. If it wasn’t about me, then why did you show the personal [stuff]? Why didn’t you show me as a part of the group? They basically sensationalized the movie around Lil’ Kim. I’m the only person that they’re like talking about.
But what about how your character was portrayed? [The] whole point and the matter of the fact [is that] I should’ve got to pick the girl that played me. And not necessarily Christina Milian or whoever else, but she could’ve damn sure played it better than that girl and I know that because Christina is my friend. But at the end of the day, that’s not who I would’ve picked. I wouldn’t have picked Chrisitina Milian to be honest with you. I wouldn’t have picked a known actress. I would’ve went to Brooklyn [and] had a casting call to be honest with you. Because there is nobody who could’ve pulled off that Lil’ Kim-Brooklyn feeling besides a Brooklyn girl who grew up in Brooklyn and knows what that’s like. That’s what I would’ve done. ----------------------------------------
Tonight, the new season of “Dancing With The Stars” begins, which will include David Alan Grier and Lil' Kim. The show has become an American phenomen, garnering a strong following.
Recently, I spoke with Lil' Kim via phone from Los Angeles, California about returning to reality television, hip hop and more. The interview seemed to be going fine, but when I respectfully asked the question that is on the minds of many of her fans and has been blowing up on message boards for years, the call was swiftly disconnected... Considering BET and the African-American community have been so supportive of Kim, I wouldn't have expected her to hang up, especially after she was one hour and 45 minutes late for our interview.
Anyway, you be the judge. Here is the “Queen Bee.”
There have already been two people injured in rehearsals for “Dancing With The Stars.” How are you handling these intense rehearsal sessions? They're very intense; I could see something like that happening. It’s a lot of work, it's really not easy. I’m really sad about it; I was looking forward to getting to know them. “Dancing With The Stars” is a little family. The cast, we're all together—we're a really friendly competition. It's sad because I was looking forward to getting to know them.
You've previously said you were a fan of “Dancing With The Stars” because you saw it while you were incarcerated. How did you make it on the actual show? It's really funny, maybe a couple years ago they called for me to do it, but my life was crazy a couple years ago. It just didn’t fit in with the scheduling and all of that. The opportunity came back around again, they called and I was so excited. I couldn’t believe I got this second chance and opportunity.
You've said you don't look at yourself as a dancer so to speak. Did you have any hesitation signing up for a strictly dance competition? I don’t remember actually saying that I’m not really a dancer. I know I always say my occupation is not dancing, but dancing is in my heart, dancing makes me feel good. I’ve never taken any dance classes or anything like that. Just to clear that up and clarify that—dancing is in my heart, but, yeah, I'm not a dancer, that's not my occupation. I’m not a professional dancer at all but after this show I will be! [Laughs]
Do you still identify as hip-hop or do you feel like you've transcended that category or label? I feel like I have a really great opportunity of balancing the two. I love both of them. It's not an abandon type of thing so I feel like I have a great opportunity of balancing them both.
Do you plan on combining hip-hop elements with the dancing? I don’t know if they're allowed to. I am taught dances by my partner. They've been on the show, they know what the show is like so obviously the show is very strategic and you have to follow the rules. I don’t know if the rules allow you to mix that type of dance. I do know there is a chance where you get to freestyle and do whatever kind of dance you want. It's obviously still choreographed. You will be seeing a little bit of Lil’ Kim in there.
This was a big controversy a couple months ago. People are wondering if you have gotten a chance to see “Notorious” yet and what did you think of it? I don’t really want to talk about that right now, but at the end of the day everybody knows I’m very unhappy with it. I was never asked to be involved. The girl that played me never tried to reach out. Everybody knows my feelings on it. I stand totally against the movie. The movie to me and to a lot of people who was around in that era is a lot of false things.
Are there any songs that you look back, now that you are a grown woman, and you say, "I can’t believe I said that!" Sometimes, not a song maybe a couple lyrics I say, "Oh shoot, I can’t believe I said that." But, I don’t reject them. I'm not hiding under a rock because I said it. It was a part of who I was at the time and my character at the time. You know what I mean? One thing about me is that I’m very much like the Black Madonna. I love to reinvent myself and that's because I am a very free person. I do what I feel and I love who I am. So, it's like everytime I get a chance to reinvent myself and do something different that's just me. You can't do a hundred things twice.
What is the difference between Lil' Kim and Kimberly Jones? I don't like to say there is a difference. They are both a part of each other, but they definitely have their own personalities. Lil' Kim is my stage name and a character I use when I'm out working my livelihood. Then you also have Queen Bee who is just the queen of everything she does. That's personal, business, on stage and my career. Kimberly Jones gets to relax, be with my family and my dogs and do the things that I love. They all make up who I am.
Do you have any thoughts on the Chris Brown and Rihanna situation? I really don't want to comment on the two because they are both like my brother and sister. I just really, really want them to pull through. I really want people to understand that nobody is perfect and that things happen in life beyond our control. At the end of the day, I wish them both the best. I still love Chris and I still love Rihanna, I love them both—and no one can judge anybody on what decisions they make. This situation is going to make Rihanna a woman and Chris a man. That's all I have to say.
Where do you think the state of women in hip hop is going? It feels like it has been very quiet —they deleted the category from the Grammys. Well that is the first mistake. What are you saying by deleting the category of female hip hop? That's why I feel everyone should still pull for them to come through. At the end of the day, no one is helping any of the females. We got to go out and hustle on our own. We're living in a time where everybody is just for themselves. By deleting that it's almost like—and I'm just going to say this—it's almost like coming down on the gay community. It's not fair. If there was a category that the gay community was in and just because no one showed up in awhile in the gay community—you don't delete it. Like, what are you saying? Why is that? Okay, maybe it's just not the era of the females right now, but you don’t delete it because we are a huge part of why the industry is so sexy and so fly. At the end of the day, female rappers like myself, Missy, Eve—we've sold a lot more records than a lot of guys.
Do you feel like you get the respect that you deserve in hip hop? No, I don't, but it's okay because God is going to give me that. I give the word to Him. No, I don't, it's cool. I take what I deserve and that's what I'm doing now. I’m doing what I have to do and I'm doing what's going to make Kim satisfied.
Do you have any thoughts on Remy Ma now that she is in jail? No, I don't even think we need to bring her into this conversation. I wish her the best. When I was locked up she kicked me when I was down, but I won't do that to her. You know what I mean? Because I've been there and I know how it feels to be locked up. To be honest with you, my condolences and my heart goes out to her, but at the end of the day she's not my friend. I’m just making a point I won't do what somebody else did to me. When I was locked up she kicked me, but I wouldn’t kick her. I don’t do that because I’m a real person. I won’t do that.
Let me ask you this Kim, this is a big question that we get from everybody and you can decide if you don't want to answer it or not. There is a perception in the African-American community that Lil' Kim didn’t like the way she looked as a Black woman so she got plastic surgery to make herself look less Black. What's your reaction—
Note: Kim's publicist called shortly after the call was disconnected to say Kim was running into rehearsal and I was not hung up on. Yeah right, if she was being rushed away she would say, "I'm sorry, I have to go - thank you BET for all your support," or something. As Kim once said, "I got no time for fake ones."