Lil' Kim : London Kentish Town Forum
Star quality, warmth, aggressive sexuality and a foul, foul mouth excite London.
And people go crazy. That is, those who haven't already demanded refunds and left. See, Lil' Kim for whatever reason, is possessed of an abundance of star quality. Aided and abetted by fellow rapper Lil' Cease (who was a lieutenant to the late Notorious B.I.G in the way Biggie was one to Puff Daddy, with DJ Richie Rich on the decks, and another member of her Junior Maffia clique in tow, she radiates warmth. And is possessed of the foulest mouth in the business since Millie Jackson's mid-'70s proto-raps.
'How Many Licks' is dedicated to the women in the house, and features an unfortunate ? or fortunate, depending on how you look at it ? audience member being invited onstage to simulate oral sex with Lil' Kim's diamond-studded, sheer, leather briefs (after her equivalent of a costume change). There's also a sparkling and truncated version of Redman's 'Let's Get Dirty' while Junior Maffia's 'Get Money' and Mobb Deep's 'Quiet Storm (remix)' also get the 16-bar treatment, as Kim reprises her original rhymes.
And what a rhymer she is. Refuse to look beyond the explicit nature of her work and you'll miss a feast of imagery, non-sequiturs, putdowns, real-life experiences and a playfully aggressive sexuality that, when examined, errs on the side of feminism, albeit a warped feminism. Lil' Kim's also a businesswoman, and she brings a kid, Lil' Shanice, onstage for 'Aunt Dot'; sails through the Latinate calypso fusion of 'No Matter What They Say'; and even does her verses from 'It's All About The Benjamins'. Then it's a tribute to Notorious BIG, who has loomed large over the proceedings, because his absence has been felt, and goodnight. So glad she could make it back.
To read all our reviews first - days before they appear online - check out NME magazine, on sale every Wednesday