Originally part of the late Notorious B.I.G.'s rap collective, Junior M.A.F.I.A., in which she was the lone female, Kim's star power shone brightly on smashes like "Player's Anthem" and "Get Money". Her thugged-out Betty Boop delivery on those tracks helped propel Junior M.A.F.I.A.'s 1995 album, "CONSPIRACY," into the top ten on the Billboard Top 200 chart.
In 1996, under the nurturing tutelage of Biggie, Kim went into the studio to record her debut album - the witty, rugged, sexually bold "HARD CORE." With a team of top producers like Sean "Puffy" Combs, Jermaine Dupri, and Prestige behind her, Kim kicked in the door with hits like "No Time," "Queen Bitch," and "Crush on You" - shooting "HARD CORE" to RIAA double-platinum status and establishing Kim as the reigning queen of hip-hop. But, at a time when the Queen Bee should have been toasting her success, tragedy struck and changed her life forever. Her friend, lover, mentor, and creative partner, The Notorious B.I.G., was gunned down in a drive-by shooting in Los Angeles on March 9th, 1997.
And though Kim always penned her own rhymes, it was Biggie who would be by her side in the studio, guiding her. His death not only shattered Kim personally and emotionally, but also challenged her creatively as she embarked on her highly anticipated follow-up to "HARD CORE." In 1998, with Sean "Puffy" Combs serving as an executive producer, Kim, who had just launched her own label, Queen Bee Records, went to work on "THE NOTORIOUS K.I.M.," a work that both celebrated her infamous raunchy side and found her digging deeper emotionally. She put her mack hand down on the aggressive "Suck My D**K," where she flipped the script on male posturing, and with friend Mary J. Blige, honored Biggie with the poignant "Hold On." With the RIAA platinum plus-selling "THE NOTORIOUS K.I.M.," Kim's star shone once again, as she graced the covers of myriad magazines, including The Source, XXL, Interview, and Vibe.
She landed the coveted role of spokesmodel for MAC cosmetic's Viva Glam lipstick, along with Mary J. Blige, and was also picked to endorse both Candie's Shoes and Iceberg Jeans. Kim also branched out onto the big screen, appearing in the films She's All That and Juwanna Mann, as well as guesting on Pamela Anderson's television series, V.I.P. She brought the heat to the ensemble of Christina Aguilera, Pink, Mya, and Missy Elliott for the 2001 remake of "Lady Marmalade" for the Moulin Rouge! soundtrack - which not only won the MTV Video Music Award for Best Video from a Film, but took home the Grammy for the Best Pop Collaboration with Vocals at the 2002 Grammy Awards. While emcees come and go, there's no doubt that the Mae West of rap is here to stay. A multi-faceted superstar who has barely tapped her potential, Kim has emerged as a true icon. Now, with the release of the eagerly awaited "LA BELLA MAFIA," the belle of the hip-hop ball adds another thrilling chapter to the notorious life of Lil' Kim.