But the real story is what happened in the four years between her first and second albums. Instead of fading into the background like most other artists, Lil' Kim's persona grew. She used the time between albums to flaunt her personality and her body. She got breast implants
, and began wearing blond wigs and blue contacts. She appeared at parties and awards shows wearing next-to-nothing and boasting that she was "the Queen Bee" of rap.
People began to talk about her, and soon she became a sex symbol of sorts. And in the process, she became perhaps the only female rapper whose personality preceded her rhymes. She was so successful at creating such an unreachable, untouchable, over-the-top image that the haters bashed her AND tried to be like her--all at the same time. And all she could do to comfort them was to say' "If I were you, I'd hate me, too."
Lil' Kim had mastered the art of using her sexuality as the great equalizer. To some, it's reminiscent of what icons like Dorothy Dandridge, Lena Home, Marilyn Monroe and Madonna were so good at. To Kim, being a diva is much like being a rapper--it's all about claiming your spot, marking your territory and letting the whole world know that you are the best at what you do.
"I'm a trendsetter," she says, sporting low-cut designer studded jeans and a revealing white bikini top. "That's what I do. That's just me. What I'm looking to do is set a trend. That's it. You will hear a lot of female albums that have the same feel as mine, the same sound, the same look as me. I don't worry about anybody taking my style anymore, because I know what I have. I'm going to keep going and going and going, and just when they think they have caught me, I'm going to be gone again."
She has no reservations about doing most things (Lil' Kim reveals that she's even considering a lucrative offer by Playboy magazine to pose nude.) and talking about anything, including sex ("I love to have sex," she says. "I don't have it a lot. But when I do have it, I love it.") or about her breast implants
. "That was something I wanted to do because I knew I was going to be doing a lot of modeling and it made me feel sexy," she says. "It was something I always wanted to do, and I did it. I don't know if it was the right thing or the wrong thing, but I did it. It's not like I went out and got big Dolly Parton [breasts]. I did it modestly."