A lot has happened to Brooklyn-born Kimberly Jones over the last four years. After making her name as a member of the East Coast’s most extravagant hip-hop gangs, Junior MAFIA, she releasesd her XXX-rated solo album ‘Hard Core’ to widespread approval and nationwide controversy. At the peak of the madness, her mentor/lover Notorious BIG was murdered.
Since then, she’s gone on to launch her own label, secure myriad modelling contracts and appear naked in every magazine imaginable. She’s kept her rapping skills sharp by guesting on albums by Mary J Blige, Puffy and Lil’ Cease. Kim‘s even had two years of legal wrangling over the making of this album since she fell out with producer Lance ‘Un’ Rivera – he of the alleged Jay-Z stabbing incident. This summer, she turns 25. On this evidence, it looks unlikely that she’ll be taking the opportuniity to slow down.
(‘No Matter What They Say’). While life at the top may be testing, she’s obviously relishing it.
One of the best things about Kim‘s second album is its eclecticism; so many modern rap albums are plagued by mid-tempo beats and repetitive sampling. Instead, we get the Latin-tinged ‘No Matter What They Say’, the pornographic funk of ‘How Many Licks’, and a duet with Grace Jones on ‘Revolution’, sitting next to the old-skool Junior MAFIA Brooklyn hardnut hip-hop of ‘Notorious KIM’ and ‘Queen Bitch Pt 2’ – both featuring vocals from Notorious BIG.
Easily the best record to come out of the Junior MAFIA gang since Biggie‘s posthumous ‘Life After Death’, this long-awaited comeback proves Kim‘s still the queen of rap.