Not only is she a legendary rap artist, Kimberly Denise Jones also known as Lil Kim, is a rapper, singer-songwriter, author, record producer, model, and actress. The Brooklyn raised star lived most of her young adult life on the streets after being dismissed from home by her father. It was doing her personal struggle that she connected with The Notorious B.I.G. It was B.I.G that help to jump start her career to superstar status. Kim hit the industry and immediately gained a large following. For a year she was with the group Junior M.A.F.I.A but then began a solo career by making guest performances on R&B albums and recording her debut album, Hard Core, which was released in November 1996. The album debuted at No. 11 on the Billboard 200, the highest debut for a female rap album at that time,and No. 3 on Billboard‘s top R&B albums, selling 78,000 copies in its first week of release. Hard Core was certified double platinum by the RIAA on March 14, 2001 after having been certified gold on January 6, 1997 and platinum on June 3, 1997. In 1997, Kim promoted Hard Core by performing on P.Diddy’s “No Way Out” tour. The tour continued though to 1998 and became one of the highest grossing hip-hop tours of all time, grossing an estimated $16 million. That same year, she launched her own label Queen Bee Entertainment.
In 1998, Kim was announced as the face for the fashion brand Candie’s alongside Brandy. She became the first and only rapper to endorse the brand to date. In 2000, Kim signed a deal with fashion house Iceberg, and also with cosmetics brand MAC to help endorse their VIVA GLAM line of and lip glosses alongside Mary J.Blige. The MAC VIVA GLAM III campaign, which was built around a plum-brown lipstick, helped raise $4 million for the company in one year and became the most successful VIVA GLAM campaign to date. Due to the success, the two signed on for a second year. The rapper also modeled for the urban fashion line Baby Phat in August 2000.