ARTIST: L’il Kim
TITLE: Hard Core
YEAR RELEASED: 1996
CHART ACTION: #11 US, #3 R&B, #116 UK
SINGLES: No Time (#18 US, #9 R&B, #1 Rap, #45 UK), Crush on You (#23 UK), Not Tonight (#6 US, #3 R&B, #2 Rap, #11 UK)
OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: Big Momma Thang, Queen Bitch
LINEUP: L’il Kim, Puff Daddy, Notorious BIG, Jay-Z, L’il Cease, Junior MAFIA, Jermaine Dupri, Lamarquis Mark Jefferson
WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: Debut from the Junior MAFIA rapper who was in the Puff Daddy / Notorious BIG orbit. It’s absolutely filthy.
SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: Oh, my stars and garters, this one will peel the boxers off anyone listening to it. L’il Kim’s raps, over solid beats and rhymes, and featuring the NYC rap elite of the mid-to-late 90’s, made her a star and somehow got on the radio, too. (How the heck could “Not Tonight” get on the radio, much less hit the Top 10? How? Oh, yeah, there was a remix.)
At times, the relentless hardcore raps gets wearing, but L’il Kim seemingly has a one track mind. She’s got some good flow, and does a pretty good job of being creative with her lyrics.
Working with Biggie, Puff Daddy, Jay-Z, and other helped Kim get success and this is probably her legacy work. Remove the skits (what a plaque on the rap house in this time), and it’s solid.
NOTES & MINUTIAE: The remix of “Not Tonight” also had Da Brat, Left Eye, Missy Elliott and Angie Martinez
IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: No
GRADE: B+: I run hot and cold on this, but really, it’s pretty decent, and it’s FILTHY.