From the album "Hard Core" (1997)Lil’ Kim is an American rapper, songwriter, model, actress and producer. Popular known for her strong voice and unrestrained style of rapping, she began her career in the entertainment industry during her teenage years. She started by performing freestyle rap for rapper, The Notorious B.I.G. Initially, she was also part of the group Junior M.A.F.I.A. Later, she released her solo album ‘Hard Core’ that earned her much appreciation. Her other albums include ‘The Notorious K.I.M.’, ‘La Bella Mafia’, ‘The Naked Truth’, mixtape Ms. G.O.A.T. among several others. Her talent has earned her several prestigious awards including the Grammys and the Billboard Music Awards. For her music projects, she has associated with several other personalities in the industry like Christina Aguilera, Young Jeezy, French Montana, Miley Cyrus, Jadakiss, Beyonce and Yo Gotti among many others. Apart from a career in music, she has taken up modelling assignments from her early days and has worked in collaboration with brands, such as MAC, Brandy and Old Navy. She is a philanthropist and has been part of several tours and fundraising events to promote causes like HIV/AIDS, breast cancer awareness, homelessness, child neglect, violence against women and so on.Lil’ Kim was born Kimberly Denise Jones on 11 July 1975 at Brooklyn, New York, to Linwood Jones and Ruby Jones. Her father was a former US marine. She has an older brother named Christopher.Her parents separated when she was nine years old following which she started living with her father. However, she had a strained relationship with her father.She did her initial schooling from Queen of All Saints Elementary School, Brooklyn. Later, she went to Sarah J. Hale Vocational High School for a few years and was shifted to the Brooklyn College Academy to complete her school education.At the age of sixteen, she was kicked out of the house by her father. Subsequently, she dropped out of high school and started living out on the streets.During her teen years she was introduced to The Notorious B.I.G. aka Biggie Smalls, who played a key role in her personal and artistic life. In 1994, he was instrumental in initiating and promoting the Brooklyn-based group, Junior M.A.F.I.A which she was part of.‘Conspiracy’, the first album of the group was released in 1995 to moderate reviews. Lil’ Kim came into the limelight with the album’s single ‘Player’s Anthem’. Her voice was appreciated by the industry.In 1996, she released, ‘Hard Core’, her debut work as a solo artist. Her unapologetic style and lyrical wordplay made the album a success. The album debuted at No.11 on the Billboard 200, which was the highest debut for a female rapper at the time. The album went on to be certified double Platinum by the RIAA in 2001.In 1998, she was signed by agency Wilhelmina Models. She was also made the face of fashion brand ‘Brandy’, making her the first rapper to endorse the brand till date. Other brands that she has worked with include cosmetics brand MAC, clothing brand, Old Navy, AOl Internet Service.Following the success of the album ‘Hard Core’, Lil’ Kim was preparing a show in New York City when she got the news that the team’s mentor Biggie has been killed. As a result of Biggie’s death, Lil’ Kim and her team faced uncertain future. She cancelled her plans for a sophomore album, and featured in projects by Puff Daddy and Mobb Deep.In 2000, she released her second album Notorious K.I.M. The album though not as successful as her debut album, was listed on the Billboard 200 at No.4. It was certified Platinum by the RIAA after four weeks of its release.In 2001, she along with Christina Aguilera, Pink, and Mýa teamed up for the remake of Patti Labelle's "Lady Marmalade" for the soundtrack of ‘Moulin Rouge’. The single was an immense hit and also won several awards that year including the Grammys. With the success of this project, she became one of the most sought after rappers of the time.In 2003, she released her album, ‘La Bella Mafia’, featuring Kanye West, Timbaland and Missy Elliot. She also collaborated with Christina Aguilera for a song ‘Can’t Hold Us Down’ from the latter’s album ‘Stripped’.The following year she made a cover recording for ‘These Boots Are Made for Walkin’ that went on to be utilized for Victoria Gotti's series ‘Growing up Gotti’. She was also featured in Beyonce’s ‘Naughty Girl’ in 2004.In 2004, she also inaugurated her designer watch collection by the name ‘Royalty by Lil' Kim’. Her clothing line was also released with the title ‘Hollyhood’. Soon after, she got associated with shoe brand Petite Peton.Her next album ‘The Naked Truth’ was released in 2005, while she was serving a prison sentence. She received a 5 mic rating from ‘The Source’, making her the only female rapper to ever receive the rating.