Rappers Salute Lil' Kim in Their Lyrics

Way before Beyoncé, rap veteran Lil’ Kim was the first to be crowned the Queen Bee. The Brooklyn, N.Y. rhymer, born Kimberly Denise Jones, changed the rap game with her stellar rap skills, seductive lyrics and glamorous persona in the 1990s.

A protégé of the late Notorious B.I.G., Lil’ Kim caught the attention of rap fans as a member of the Brooklyn rap group Junior M.A.F.I.A. On the group’s 1995 debut album, Conspiracy, Kim lyrically outshined the fellas on three of their hit singles: “Get Money, “Player’s Anthem” and “I Need You Tonight.”

In 1996, Kim released her debut project, Hard Core, which features her lyrical bravado and unapologetic sexuality. Buoyed by the Lil Cease-assisted single “Crush on You,” the album went platinum and established Kim as the “Queen Bitch” of hip-hop.

Following Biggie’s death in 1997, Kim took a break to mourn her beloved mentor. Three years later, in the 2000s, Kim made an impact on the rap game with several guest appearances on lauded hip-hop songs. Her lyrical turns on Diddy‘s classic get-money anthem “It’s All About The Benjamins,” The L.O.X.’s bout it, bout it track “Money, Power, Respect” and the girl power pop hit “Lady Marmalade” featuring Christina Aguilera, Pink and Mya put Kim back in the rap spotlight.

Twenty-five years later, no rapper is more influential to the new female rhymers dominating the rap game. You can see a little of Lil’ Kim’s sexualized influence in rap elites like Foxy Brown, Nicki Minaj and Trina as well as newcomers like Cardi B, Megan Thee Stallion, Kash Doll, Cupcakke, Doja Cat and more.