Kimberly Denise Jones (born July 11, 1974 or 1975), better known by her stage name Lil' Kim, is an American rapper, actress, and reality television star. Born and raised in Brooklyn, New York City, she lived much of her adolescent life on the streets after being expelled from home. In her teens, Jones would freestyle rap, influenced by fellow female hip hop artists like MC Lyte and The Lady of Rage. In 1994, she was discovered by fellow rapper The Notorious B.I.G., who invited her to join his group Junior M.A.F.I.A.; their debut album, Conspiracy, generated two top 20 singles in the United States and was certified gold by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA).
Lil' Kim's debut studio album, Hard Core (1996), was certified double platinum, has since sold more than 6 million copies worldwide, and spawned three successful singles: "No Time", "Not Tonight (Ladies Night)", and "Crush on You". Her following albums, The Notorious K.I.M. (2000) and La Bella Mafia (2003), were also certified platinum, making her the only female rapper besides Missy Elliott and Nicki Minaj to have at least three platinum-certified studio albums. In 2001, she was featured on the single "Lady Marmalade" (a remake of the 1974 hit single of the same name, originally recorded by LaBelle), alongside Mýa, Pink, and Christina Aguilera, which topped the U.S. Billboard Hot 100. The remake won two MTV Video Music Awards, including Video of the Year, and a Grammy Award for Best Pop Collaboration with Vocals at the 44th Grammy Awards in 2002. Other notable singles from this period include "The Jump Off" and "Magic Stick", the latter of which reached number two on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100.