Just as she became one of the first female hardcore rap stars, Lil’ Kim is about to become the first female rapper to serve time.
The hip-hop star, born Kimberly Jones, was sentenced today to one year and one day in prison for perjury and must turn herself in to authorities on September 19th. Kim was convicted in March of lying to a federal grand jury to protect two associates in relation to a 2001 shooting against rival rap outfit Capone-N-Noreaga outside New York City hip-hop radio station Hot 97 in which one man was injured. While Kim claimed neither of the associates, her manager Damion Butler and Suif “Gutta” Jackson, were at the station that day, the two went on to plead guilty to gun charges. Kim, who turns thirty next week, faced up to twenty years in prison for three counts of perjury and one count of conspiracy.
“I would like to thank all of my supporters who have stood by my side throughout this entire ordeal,” Kim said in a statement. “The many prayers and hundreds of letters of support, e-mails and kind words that have poured in have been overwhelming and critical in helping my family, loved ones and myself stay strong during this time of need. Today was a very difficult day for me, but I am no stranger to adversity and will do whatever I need to do so that I can continue to work hard and give back to my family, amazing fans and community.”
Lil’ Kim began her career as a protege of legendary Brooklyn rapper the Notorious B.I.G. (a.k.a. Biggie Smalls). She was the “lieutenant” of the Biggie-produced Nineties rap outfit Junior M.A.F.I.A., and by 1996 Kim had launched a solo career with her raunchy debut, Hard Core, and become Biggie’s mistress. With Kim’s hard-hitting lyrics, alongside rival Foxy Brown, she became one of the first female breakouts of hardcore rap — she rapped about murder and receiving oral sex and dubbed herself “Queen Bee” — and the album debuted at Number Eleven on the pop chart.
Her following albums, 2000’s Puff Daddy-produced Notorious K.I.M. and 2003’s La Bella Mafia, made it to Four and Five on the chart, respectively. The pint-sized diva even won a Grammy, for her contribution to the remake of “Lady Marmalade” (alongside Christina Aguilera and Pink) for 2001’s Moulin Rouge film soundtrack.
Kim had been spending time in the studio recording the follow-up to the platinum-selling La Bella Mafia, and has a new show in the works for VH1, Lil’ Kim’s Hollywood Makeover. There is no word yet as to how these projects will be affected by the verdict.