Kimberly Denise Jones, known professionally as Lil' Kim, is an American rapper, songwriter, model, and actress. Born and raised in Brooklyn, New York, she lived much of her adolescent life on the streets after being expelled from home. In her teens, Jones would freestyle rap, heavily 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.
Lil' Kim's debut studio album, Hard Core, was certified double platinum by the RIAA, has since sold more than 6 million copies worldwide, and spawned three successful singles: "No Time", "Not Tonight", and "Crush on You". Her following albums, The Notorious K.I.M. and La Bella Mafia, 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.
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