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Interview: Lil Kim Talks Remy Ma vs. Nicki Minaj Beef and More

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Lil Kim sat down with a candid interview with Billboard to talk about everything from being mother to her forthcoming fifth solo studio album. Kim also spoke about her brand new clothing line and gave her thought on the Remy Ma vs. Nicki Minaj beef. Take a look at some of what she had to say below and read the full interview here.

Billboard: First off, congratulations on your own clothing line. As an artist who has been a part of fashion for 20 years, what took you so long?
Kim: It’s always been an interest, but you got to understand I came in the industry as a little baby. I was a baby. I was 16 or 17 when I made my first hit record. At that age, you’re not really thinking about [making a fashion line]. Timing is everything. At this point, it’s like I’m really trying to just bloom and blossom as an artist in certain instances, because there was a lot of current events that happened in my life. I’m a very spiritual person. I believe in God so God’s timing is the right timing, period. Enough said.

Billboard: What is the clothing line called?
Kim: I don’t want to get into it, but I’ve always had the name 24/7 Star. That was the first part of my line. When I had my shoe line with Petite Paton, it was called Hollyhood, but we changed it to 24/7 Star. We’ve got different lines inside of the lines that we’re working on, and we might change up a couple of them. We’re working on that right now.

Billboard: Let’s talk about that a bit. You shaped hip-hop music in such an amazing way through your four previous albums…
Kim: This is very important to me that this is clear: I was a child. A lot of people don’t even know that because I was marketed to kind of be and look a little older and look a little older, the lyrics of my album was the way it was. I didn’t mind, because when you’re 16, 17, you want to be older so bad anyway. But at that point, I was becoming a child star. At a young age, I didn’t get to fully tell my story. I mean you would think that in the time I’ve been in the game that I would have 10 albums out or something, but I haven’t. If you looked at it like that, this is one of the reasons why my cult following is still there, because I never truly finished telling my story through my music.

So basically for my fans, I’m still kind of a novelty to them. I’m still very much a mystique to them. They’re still very interested in this story. I’m blessed to be well-respected, but at the same time, I would not allow anyone to try to date me because of the simple fact that I was a child. I’m like a child star, like Bow Wow — he was 10 years old [when he came into the business]. I came in the game seven years later as an artist at 16, 17. 17 is still very young. You’re a kid. You don’t know what’s up at that point; you’re still getting your life together. By the time I was 21, I was a multi-millionaire. I had no clue what I was doing, because I was still very young. At this time, I want to be allowed to tell my story without people like, “Oh you’re such a legend, you’re such an icon in this game!” I will take that icon and the legend talk, that’s fine and I love that! At the end of the day, I’m gonna embrace that. But like I said, I won’t allow no one to make it seem like what I’ve accomplished is all I had to give because I never really got the chance to tell my story and really say, “Okay, I’m gonna go for my own Grammys in time.” I got a Grammy, yes, and that’s one of my biggest and proudest accomplishments, but I want one for my own album. It’s like at this point, that’s where I’m at with it, and I never really truly got to display my fullest talent.

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Billboard: Also, it was 20 years ago. You started as a kid, and your career is just getting started again. Even though a lot of other artists have struggled with this, regardless of gender, it has a lot to do with how in the industry, people want to give just one identifier to a woman. People just wanted to remember Lil ‘Kim as Lil ‘Kim, age 19 in a purple wig in one video, and not give you the opportunity to evolve. I can understand your frustration in wanting to break past that with this project.
Kim: I mean yeah because if I wore that same damn outfit to the club, you would look at me like I’m a damn fool. People still say, “Put that purple outfit back on!” That’s bullshit. They don’t want to see me in that [1999 VMAs] outfit. First of all, if I was still with my record company and we were still moving — I would update. My music is gonna be updated, my look is gonna be updated. You just update. But there are some fans who don’t understand the meaning of updated. They just think you do the same exact thing and put some blonde stuff in your wig instead of it being all purple. It’s not possible. That’s what I like to constantly do, and that’s what I was known for — being a trendsetter and always reinventing myself. That’s the moral of the story of my life — reinvention. Whoever don’t like it, they’ll get with it sooner or later. I like to do what I like to do and I’ma also give that feeling of when I first came out with Hard Core, but on a different level. A classic is a classic for a reason. You don’t touch it. You try your best to top it, and you try to do something just as great as that, but you don’t try your best to duplicate it. I’m not going to try to beat Hard Core, I’m going to try to be just as great as Hard Core on this album or better.

Billboard: There’s also a possibility you may be doing another type of “Ladies Night” collaboration on this project.
Kim: I’m glad you brought that up, because in the media the other day, I had a show and I hate stupid blogs when they try to take my damn situations and clip them. We all know the situation that’s going on with Remy and ol’ girl. That’s their situation and I have nothing to do with that. They have a rumor out there like, “Kim is gonna do a diss track with Remy.” First of all, let me tell you this. Number one: y’all giving ol’ girl too much credit. I’m not even thinking about that. I’m not even thinking about ol’ girl! I’m so far past that. That’s never on my mind. Ever. Ol’ girl has never been on my mind for a long ass time at all. So I hate the fact of that being in the equation. But the situation with Remy, for them to say that we were coming together to do a diss track? First of all, after hearing “ShETHER,” that shit is so hard, Remy don’t need no damn help! Why would I need to come together for that? I mean, I’m into the music and I’m speaking musically wise — the song is just hard, period. Just like [Drake’s] “Back To Back” was hard — just good hip-hop music. But I got nothing to do with that. When I had my situation and my situation came up, I handled my business. If anybody comes to me, if ol’ girl came to me, I’ma give them the business. That’s just the bottom line of it. So if it ain’t coming my way, I ain’t got nothing to do with it. Me and Remy is cool. I hate when media do that. That’s the thing.

Billboard: You’re taking complete control over the business aspect because you started so young and said a lot of times that you weren’t in the driver’s seat. It feels like you’re really in the driver’s seat now.
Kim: Exactly. I’m independent. I’m not signed to a record company. I do have a situation going on that I can’t really talk about until I can talk about it, but I have a situation going on and it’s kind of a partnership. Again, like I said, it feels good to be in the driver’s seat, be independent and do my thing. It feels really good. At this point, it’s about the artistry. It’s also about the entrepreneurship, the boss moves this time around. At the end of the day, I’m good at certain things behind the scenes as well, so that’s just basically something that I wanted to make good on.

Billboard: When are you looking to actually drop the album?
Kim: I don’t have a specific date, but it’s definitely coming out this year. I have a couple people I want to work with. I’m not gonna tell you who but there’s a few people I want to work with, so I’m just getting those people together and getting them on the album. With me traveling, performing and doing music, it’s kind of hard. Plus I got my baby so I’m just leveling everything now. But I’m going hard.