What's So Great About the So-Called 'Queen?'
1:00PM ET January 24th, 2011
Contributor : Monica Coleman
A Rocky Williform Company
Lil Kim is one of hip hop's most celebrated female artists--the 'Queen Bee.' But as she continues to milk publicity from her one-sided beef with Nicki Minaj, there seems to be a rather obvious question that not many fans are asking. Kim seems to feel that Nicki hasn't given her proper respect or shown her the love Kim feels she richly deserves. But, when you think about it--what is Kim really the 'Queen' of? When you look at the career of Ms. Kimberly Jones, does she stack up as the greatest femcee of all time?
Kim's rep is largely built on her first album, Hardcore--a near-classic that was largely written by her mentor/lover, the Notorious B.I.G. (there are several bootlegs of Biggie's demo of Kim's anthem, "Queen B*tch," with all of the lyrics intact.) Her commercial success declined continuously after that stellar debut; and even though 2006s The Naked Truth received five mics in the Source, the general public seemed to disregard it and it fell off the charts quickly after its release.
Now, let's look at some other female hip hop legends:
Salt N Pepa were the first female act to have any major commercial success in hip hop. In addition to longevity (they were popular from 1986-1994, the longest run of hits by any female hip hop artist), they also have the best-selling hip hop album ever by a female artist--1993s Very Necessary.
MC Lyte debuted in 1988 and retained steady commercial success throughout the early to mid 90s. Her biggest pop hits came in 1996, eight years after her first album. That's longevity.
Lauryn Hill dropped one of the most beloved albums of all time and was a super-lyricist as an emcee. Miseducation of Lauryn Hill is easily the most critically-acclaimed work by a female rap artist and it has the Grammys to prove it.
So what makes Kim the Queen? She doesn't have the string of bonafide hits like Salt N Pepa, she doesn't have the longevity of Lyte or the admiration of Lauryn. Rah Digga and Jean Grae are stronger rhymers. Missy had more pop appeal.
Is Lil Kim the most overrated hip hop artist ever?