Lil’ Kim: Being called a hip-hop icon is “an honor to me”

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Lil’ Kim got into hip-hop because it was something she loved, but years later, she’s considered an icon in the game. Speaking to XXL about her musical journey, she says the title is something she considers an honor.

“Everyone calls me an icon, and it’s an honor to me,” she says. “It makes me smile. It makes me happy to know that people look at me that way because I never really saw that for myself, but it just happened organically, and this is my place in hip-hop.”

Lil’ Kim made her entry into the industry back in the early ’90s when she was introduced as a member of Junior M.A.F.I.A. By 1996, she’d released her debut, Hard Core, which she now deems a classic, and went on to break down doors for female rappers as she progressed through her career.

With more female MCs on the up and up, Kim says she’s “so glad to see women getting our recognition and … everyone celebrating us,” noting she’s supportive of “every up-and-coming new artist” regardless of gender or race. She says her vision for the future of hip-hop is that the genre “continues to thrive and just keeps elevating.”

As for what fans can expect in Kim’s personal future, the rapper says it includes a book and upcoming documentary.

“I’m looking forward to building my own empire as far as being able to have my own artists and, you know, just being able to help someone else’s vision come to fruition,” she says. “That means a lot to me. … That makes me feel good. So many people helped me. I’m giving it back.”

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