Legendary Hip-Hop artist from Brooklyn NY Lil Kim is back after a 14-year hiatus. She returns with her album titled “9” released on October 11th. During that time, Lil Kim released several mixtapes including “Ms. G.O.A.T”, “HardCore Mixtape”, and “Lil Kim Season”. She appeared on the reality series Dancing With The Stars and instantly became a fan favorite. Earlier this year Kim was the executive producer on VH1,s reality series Girls Cruise, a 10-day cruise in the Caribbean visiting the countries of Barbados and Trinidad just in time for Carnival festivities.
Lil Kim spent chunks of the 2010’s feuding with rival rapper Nicki Minaj over the title of “Queen of Hip-Hop” However, there is little to no doubt that Kim has pioneered the way for all female artists who have come after her. Lil Kim recently won BET’s “I Am Hip-Hop Award” where she gave her acceptance speech, performed several songs, and many artists and fans alike paid homage to her career milestones and achievements.
Through the years age hasn’t slowed Kim down one bit. She opens the album with “Pray For Me” feat. Rick Ross, Musiq Soulchild. The track starts with Kim and Soulchild sharing vocals over keys and a light set of drums. When the hook passes, the song transitions into trap drums and synths while Rick Ross performs a solid verse. However, the decision to let Kim follow up Rick Ross is a head-scratcher. Kim follows up with vocals that were mixed way too loud! Not only is the verse too loud, but the mix does not compliment her vocals at all. Not enjoyable to listen to.
I understand that artists and producers alike have creative control over their music and make decisions based on song direction. however, engineers are supposed to be able to point these kinds of things out from a mile away. I also wonder what was the idea behind the way this album was being mastered. Or could it be something with the mixes? Not sure.
At number 2 is the song titled “Bag”. Considering how long Kim has been in the industry I have to give her credit for being able to reinvent herself. She sounds great whether she raps or sings over trap beats. My issue with this song is the song structure. I feel the Hook might have been inserted more than it should have. But its the outro I particularly don’t like. Again these are Mix/Production issues, not Kim’s ability as an artist. In the outro, they over-use the hook and have these background vocals that should not be on the song. It comes off as annoying.
Next, we get into a song titled “Catch My Wave” feat. Rich The Kid. Hands down this is a solid record. Hard-hitting drums and 808’s fill out a spooky synth-like sound that haunts the record. Lil Kim slays on auto-tune and is followed up with a solid performance by Rich The Kid.
Next is “Go Awfff“, quite possibly the best record on the album. I would hope to hear this record being promoted more. There is a spectacular music video for it. Her voice is fantastic on this song, compliments the drums and brass that make it sound huge.
“Too Bad” is solid, although it feels to me like a pop record. She sings dramatically over auto-tune, backed by 808 drum-kits, 808 basslines, and synth-pads that fill the air underneath it.
I take issue with the way “You Are Not Alone” is structured. To put it simply, It is messy. Another record I feel was misused was “Auto Blanco”. It does not fit this album, it feels more like a miscellaneous freestyle that failed to make a mixtape. “Jet Fuel” is a record that makes me feel truly shocked that it made the album. There’s no way I can believe that there weren’t any other options. I will not even get into it. However, I have to ask once again where are the producers and engineers when these decisions are being made? I can’t put this on Kim.
I have another Brightspot on this album. Enter “Found You” feat. O.T. Genasis & City Girls. This could be a Hit and its just a matter of time. She should release a “Tip Drill” like video and promote via social media with challenges, contests, etc. What makes it so catchy is they remixed the Bubba Sparks “Ms. New Booty” and did a 2019 version. Everyone Provides solid performances on this record.
Lil Kim recently appeared on “The Build” in NYC and did a great interview promoting the album and taking questions from fans. one interesting thing she said was that she had about 3 records that could not make the album due to sample clearance. She also said one of the records was to be featuring Missy Elliot and Paris Hilton. I believe due to this setback they couldn’t get the album done the way they wanted to originally and had to settle for what they could. Interestingly enough, there are 3 records that I believe should not have been on this album aside from the fact I didn’t like the mixes or mastering.
I have always had criticisms of artists doing their own albums. This album was released by “Queen Bee Entertainment” which explains enough. As great as an artist Lil Kim is, it takes a rare individual to wear every single hat in the process of releasing an album and have that album be up to par with albums being worked on by big teams on major labels. I say that because I would have loved to have seen Lil Kim do this album with Bad Boy or Roc Nation. I would have loved to have seen this on G.O.O.D Music and employ Producers and engineers from these labels. The bright side of all this is that today’s music industry is digital. I would suggest remixing and mastering the album. I would remove “Auto Blanco”, “Jet Fuel” and “You Are Not Alone” and replace them with the 3 Songs they were supposed to be clearing. She should then Re-upload the album and say its an update.
You can listen the album here