|Monday, July 10, 2000||
Volume 65, Issue 157
Movie Review: The Kid
|Notorious for raunchy
lyrics, Lil' Kim returns with more mature album
The Notorious KIM
By Keenan Singleton
Peroxide-in-a-bottle singer Christina Aguilera devoted a song to "What a Girl Wants," but Lil' Kim's sophomore release, The Notorious KIM focuses solely on the increasingly popular topic.
And according to Kim, it's lots of cunnilingus, enough ice to keep a penguin happy and r-e-s-p-e-c-t.
Hoping to avoid the dreaded sophomore slump, Kim held back the album more times than a teenager in the fifth grade.
In the increasingly cramped world of female hip-hop, Kim has separated herself from her nearly interchangeable archrival, Foxy Brown, by taking her sexually tinged, no-holds-barred attitude to previously uninhabited heights.
The foundation of Notorious, Kim's first release since 1996's Hardcore, is solidified with backing from many of Bad Boy's remaining stalwarts: Puffy, Carl Thomas, and her partners in rhyme, Junior M.A.F.I.A.
Kim trades sexual quips on "How Many Licks?" with equally sex-crazed singer, Sisqo, while the lush harp orchestration under a riveting storyline and a young star with skills in the making, Lil' Shanice, makes "Aunt Dot" a track worthy of making the rotation.
The lead single, "No Matter What They Say," is the gas that makes this album go. Its steel drum, Caribbean-flavored melody fuels the track that is guaranteed to make a dead man bob his head a lil'.
The fierce mantra of "No matter what people say/we got it going on/ Who cares about what they think/you are the number one," just confirms Kim's transparent narcissism.
The final track "I'm Human" is a puree of Icelandic songstress Bjork's sound and
eclectic R&B singer Kelis' lyric patterns while the album's opening song, "Lil' Drummer Boy," features the southern-infant vocals of Cee-Lo (of Goodie MoB), who defends Kim in a murder trial, and Jersey's finest, the blunt-loving rambunctious Redman, as the courtroom's judge.
"Hold On" isn't just another tribute to arguably hip-hop's greatest, the late Notorious B.I.G. The queen of R&B Mary J. Blige donates her considerable talents to the touching ballad where Kim reveals she carried an unborn child by B.I.G.
"Revolution" falls under the genre of "huh?!?!" She teams with long forgotten midnight black amazon Grace Jones and nearly forgotten Junior M.A.F.I.A. mate, Lil' Cease, for a bland, cookie-cutter rap track about a shoot-up.
The best thing about the title track is that you can skip it. Even the eminent B.I.G. couldn't save this simply lousy track.
Kim's growth on the album is apparent. The four-year hiatus allowed Kim to forge an identity other than as B.I.G.'s lil' sidekick.
Kim's lyrics have not matured, but there is obvious improvement. She
is still light-years away from reigning hip-hop queens Lauryn Hill and
Da Brat in that respect, but she gains ground with her outspoken sexuality
and dare-you-to-battle-me attitude.
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