Illustration by Michael White. Words by Cain Kerner.
This week’s Inside The Lines pulls from track 3 of Lil’ Kims debut album, Hardcore, released on November 12, 1996, No Time.
The Puff Daddy assisted debut single speaks on living the lavish life and frivolously spending vast amounts of money. And being that it’s a Lil’ Kim record, she says a hellllll of a lot of ol’ nasty sexual shit as well. In 1996, Bad Boy Records was on top of the rap-charts and growing larger by the day.
The intro of the record consists of Puffy talking about “sippin’ Cristal with his real ones” and “counting bank funds”, two activities that Bad Boy recording artists and the Junior M.A.F.I.A. as a whole were devoted to doing as much as they possibly could. Bad Boy represented all that was lavish in the world of Hip-Hop and are often accredited with ushering in the grandiose and luxurious fixation still
plaguing inspiring the young Hip-Hop hopefuls of today. In the record, Queen Bee is quoted as saying…
“Yeauhhh, I Momma, Miss Ivana
Usually rock the Prada, sometimes Gabbana
Stick you for your cream and your riches
Zsa Zsa Gabor, Demi Moore, Prince Diane and all them rich bitches.”
Most would take this as a simple flexing of the gums by a rapper. I totally get that. But, we could dig a little deeper and find something of profound substance in the last line of those 4 bars.
Before Lil’ Kim, without a doubt the most successful female MC of her time until Lauryn Hill rose to stardom, there had never been a female MC to make claims such as the one stated above. You can claim that she was speaking on sticking “all them rich bitches” up and robbing them for their “cream” (money), but I take the line as Kim grouping herself with the wealthiest white women she could immediately think of and simultaneously rhyme her previous bars with.
What presumably would be dismissed as cocky rapper shit may actually be an attempt at inspiring those who may not share a similar complexion to “all them rich bitches” to see themselves at equal or greater value. At the time, Bad Boy was raking in an enormous amount of money and hitting the charts with damn near every record they released. They were borderline untouchable. Kim being the first lady of Bad Boy served as inspiration to black women and women as a whole that they could be taken seriously as MCs and business entities. Although her shtick revolved around hyper-sexualization and overall raunchy shit, I digress.