November 12, 1996 an album would drop and literally change the presence of the female rapper forever. That album was Lil Kim’s debut, Hardcore.
I remember I wanted this album solely because I was in love with Lil Kim. Her look, her voice and when those photos dropped, SON! I wanted to know everything about her in real life! As a young teen, Lil Kim was my first Sex Symbol. Yeah, we already had Janet, Halle and J. Lo in 1996, but Kim’s aura to a young teen that still technically hadn’t lost his virginity yet was mind blowing! When I seen Kim; I wanted her. Like I wanted to do nasty secretive things to her. I hadn’t thought that deep into my sexual wheelhouse before I saw and heard her.
The Junior Mafia album was the prelude. If we are all in the interest of keeping it real right now, we know that album was only copped because of Biggie and Kim. No one cared about Cease and the crew. A high demand was in place for Kim off of 2 verses and when they announced Kim was dropping an album, the energy of the female rapper changed forever.
Hip-Hop had Queen Latifah, MC Lyte, Salt N Pepa and Yo-Yo already, but none of them really pushed sex the way Kim would do it. Kim had me wanting to know what she felt like when she delivered her skillfully crafted bars.
When she said things like:
Got buffoons eating my pu$$y while I watch cartoons
With hardcore flows to keep a ni**a d**k rock
Rather count a million while you eat my pu$$Y [Junior Mafia Album]
Hen rock the shots of liquor, it makes me cum quicker
Make him an example with this pu$$y sample
Now watch mama, go up and down d**k to jaw crazy
Uhh! Say my name baby (okay)
Before you nut, I’mma dribble down your butt cheeks
Make you wiggle, then giggle just a little
I’m drinkin babies… [OMFG!!!]
THE ORIGINAL NOT TONIGHT!!!!…..NI**A!!!
My only response was: B**CH! YES PLEASE!!!! I’ll do all that! Just give me a chance!!!
Needless to say the conviction in her delivery made me a believer. There was nothing like this in rap music ever before and although many have mimicked and rehearsed, there is still nothing comparable to this debut album.
Christopher Wallace [Album], Cameron Giles [Crush On You] and Jermaine Dupri[Not Tonight] lobbed several lyrical assist to Kimberly Jones and she slam dunked it into what would be a culture and game changing album. From the lyrics to the videos, Kim became the only woman that hip-hop cared about. She gave us attitude, charisma, gangsta and sex and we couldn’t get enough of that.
To me, this album is a great example of talent meeting skill-set. Kim has natural talent and she aligned herself with people with great talent and lyrical skill. When that happens, you polish your talent and boost your lyrical ability. This isn’t rare for male or female artist; Just read credits. You can make an entree yourself or you can help create a meal. Fans want meals; And 20 years later, you can feast on this album and get all those same feelings you had when you first heard it.
Hardcore is a classic album because of everything and everyone that comes after it. If Kim doesn’t put out hardcore, there is no rivalry with Foxy Brown. There is no Trina, Khia, Jackie-O, Early Iggy Azalea and of course Nicki Minaj. If Hardcore doesn’t come out we probably wouldn’t be as interested in a woman rapping about how good her “stuff” is and not because it’s over saturated content. You can even make the argument that the female rapper doesn’t evolve and has layers before Hardcore drops. No, this isn’t the first rap album by a woman, but it is one of the most important for the movement of women in hip-hop.
Salute to Lil Kim and her classic debut album Hardcore. Hip-Hop wasn’t sexy until November 1996.