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NPR: The 150 Greatest Albums Made By Women

#96. Lil' Kim
Hard Core (Big Beat/Undeas Recordings, 1996)


We all knew Lil' Kim from Junior M.A.F.I.A., but we still weren't ready for her solo debut, Hard Core, when it released in November 1996. The album's title speaks for itself: The introductory track features a man pleasuring himself, presumably while watching a porn flick starring the diminutive rap diva. Track two cues up, and Lil' Kim's wordplay immediately lets us know how she used to be scared of the male member. On Hard Core she owned her sexuality; it was a Big Momma Thang. Lil' Kim goes in on these tracks, deftly weaving in between rapper's moll and hard-edged gold digger. She wasn't doing anything that women hadn't done before — using what they got to get what they want — but Hard Core didn't sugarcoat it. Lil' Kim had no time for fake dudes; all they could do was give her orgasms, buy her jewels, cars and designer goods, then disappear. (Except for Biggie, of course, as she reps hard for him on "Queen B@#$H"). Luminaries like B.I.G., Lil' Cease and even Jay Z jump in with some bars here and there on the album. But trust, this is a Queen Bee jawn. Is it feminist? No idea. But Kim did it first, Nicki Minaj. —Tanya Ballard Brown (NPR Staff)

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Posted on 25 Jul 2017 by LilKimZone

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