Her fashion sense may be questionable at best and her lyrics may be far from wholesome, however whether you like her or not Kimberly Denise Jones has changed the way females rappers approach the mike, for better or for worse. When Kim stepped out of the helicopter in the 1995 video for Junior M.A.F.I.A.’s “Player’s Anthem” sporting a super short leather outfit, a Marcel wave like Betty Boop, red lipstick, and a scarf to protect her do, it was evident that the pint sized MC was not your typical female rapper.
With her candy colored wigs, provocative attire, and more furs than Peta could throw paint at, Lil’ Kim established herself as the Black Barbie of hip-hop while Nicki Minaj was still Onika. She took the male fantasy that runs rampant through hip-hop culture of a ride or die chick, who is sexy and down for whatever and blew it up to ungodly proportions. Her lyrics were laced with sex and label love-which earned her front row seats to many a fashion show, photo shoots with David Lachapelle, and her own D&G campaign google it- and her videos were homage’s to an image that even she struggled to live up to. During the bling era of hip-hop she was the female equivalent to Diddy and his shiny suits, as she assaulted our eyes with bedazzled pasties, corsets, and panties. In an effot to keep up with her Barbie status, which was constantly challenged by other women craving the spotlight and record sales, she went under the knife, changed her hair color to blonde and began wearing blue contacts- its not easy being Barbie. Eventually her image caught up with her and the ride or die chick went to jail for of all things perjury. Now with countless albums under her belt and an almost legendary status, Lil’ Kim has been relegated to reality shows, yet she still holds onto her status as the Black Barbie dressed in Bvlgari trying to leave in somebody’s Ferrari.
Although her influence on fashion and music is not 100% positive, fifteen years after hopping out of the helicopter in Player’s Anthem, every female rapper does look like Lil’ Kim in their videos. She made it okay to sexy and girly, if that’s your trhing, and for better or for worse the way that she embraced and to an extent exploited her femininty has set a standard for what record execs and the public expect from female MCs. Everyone from Eve to Trina and Nicki Minaj all sell sex in some way or another and talk about sporting Loutboutins and Masion Martin Margiela as they smile, talk about taking your man, and whip their Indian Remy around in the wind. Ultimately proving the old adage that sex does sell.
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