Lil’ Kim is indisputably one of the most iconic pop culture figures of all time. Born Kimberly Jones, the Brooklyn native kicked in the door to the music scene in the mid 90s, giving off hard core, yet feminine vibes in a mostly male-dominated hip-hop industry. With the Notorious B.I.G, Junior Mafia, Puff Daddy and the rest of Bad Boy Records behind her, Lil’ Kim developed a signature sound and fashion sense that undoubtedly transformed the rap scene. It paved the way for future female rappers like Nicki Minaj, Cardi B and Megan Thee Stallion.
As fierce as her rhymes were, so were her fashions. Her classic verses on All About The Benjamins, Get Money, Quiet Storm (and so much more) were matched by her vibrant, gaudy and sexy style. Kim is a fashion pioneer.
From the visuals in her 1997 classic, Crush on You, to her purple bodysuit at the 1999 VMAs’ Red Carpet, Lil’ Kim– along with her longtime stylist and friend Misa Hylton – have unapologetically used their platforms to turn trends that were once considered “hood” (extra glossy lips, bright colored fur, gaudy jewelry, long colored weave, etc.) into mainstream fashion statements. With this much influence on music and fashion, it’s no wonder we see trends started by the original Queen Bee still showing up on today’s red carpets, designer fashion shows and on mainstream celebrities from Beyonce to Rihanna and even Kylie Jenner.
It’s time we put some respect on Lil’ Kim’s name and recognize her contributions to fashion, the trends she’s started, and her influence on female empowerment among a male-dominated industry.
Lil’ Kim’s Statement Wigs
Before Nicki Minaj started wearing pink wigs, Lil’ Kim made them her biggest fashion statement. Whether she was in a music video, gracing a red carpet or just hanging around in Brooklyn, Kim’s rainbow-colored wigs made a statement and were sure to match her outfit, her mood and her personality. She paved the way for hair to turn into an expressive art form and have inspired girls everywhere to give their hair a color boost in the brightest way possible.
Crush On You Changes The Game
Rihanna is a chameleon when it comes to fashion, which is something we can definitely credit to Lil’ Kim’s influence. Wearing a green fur coat, matching thigh-high boots and sunglasses, Rihanna took the stage to perform during the 2015 iHeartRadio Music Awards channeling the Queen Bee’s signature style which can most memorably be seen in the Crush On You music video.
Lil’ Kim Turned Pasties into Fashion
Originally, pasties were only used as lingerie and limited to private burlesque clubs as they were considered too revealing to be seen in public. That is until Lil’ Kim’s 1999 VMAs appearance when she turned heads donning that purple jumpsuit and clamshell pastie designed by Misa Hylton. This moment made headlines then and is still making headlines today, especially now that it’s known to be part of major fashion moments by notable designers.
Lil’ Kim’s Influence on the Met Gala
Speaking of that purple VMAs jumpsuit, Lil’ Kim’s fashion choices didn’t just influence those within the music industry, they’ve also caught the eye of the Kardashian-Jenner clan as billionaire mogul, Kylie Jenner, channeled the rap icon at last year’s Met Gala. While Jenner has never confirmed if her Versace dress was indeed inspired by Lil’ Kim’s iconic 1999 look, you can’t help but to see the similarities in the fashion choices, right down to that purple wig.
Lil’ Kim is highly respected for all she’s contributed to hip-hop, pop culture and fashion. Her looks are iconic and she remains one of coutures biggest muses. All hail the queen!