There is one word to describe Lil’ Kim’s latest effort La Bella Mafia, and that word is not artistic. It’s simply contrived.
From mentioning the late Notorious B.I.G. in almost every song to Lil’ Kim’s inability to carry a song without assistance, her new release oozes the fakeness that is slowly defining the rapper.
On many of the tracks, Lil’ Kim sounds disinterested. However, on powerful tracks like “Doing It Way Big”, “This Is Who I Am” and “The Jump Off”, one must beware of the wrath of the Queen Bee.
The Atlantic Records release includes tracks from notable producers Kanye West, Timbaland and The Roots. There are also guest appearances from Missy Elliot, Twista and Styles P.
Unfortunately for every notable song included, Lil’ Kim manages to incorporate a musical joke. “Can You Here Me Now” sounds like she dug through a bin of rejected Jay-Z tracks from 1997, and “Get in Touch” is reminiscent of a scrapped Truth Hurts song.
Lyrically, she has grown from previous endeavors, but still makes questionable statements. After listening to this album, it is evident there are things that Lil’ Kim should never say again.
These gems include: “Fact is, I’m the legacy of B.I.G.” He would be disappointed in this effort.
“Let me show you what I’m all about/How I make a Sprite can disappear in my mouth.” Is that really what you’re all about? And “I’m the reason this rap game is unisex”; so, Queen Latifah didn’t exist?
Lil’ Kim definitely needs to work through some of her issues before she attempts to lay down completely singing tracks like the all flat, whining and unbearable, “This is a Warning”.
When you first hear the intense steady bass line of “Tha Beehive”, you realize that you may be in for a treat. As the most powerful track on the entire album, it brings Lil’ Kim to a grittier level that she does not explore nearly enough on La Bella Mafia.
The rest of the album follows the traditional bragging, bling and beef that define most hip-hop albums.
It’s not quite time for Lil’ Kim to hang up her rainbow of contact lenses, but she has to step up to the plate with her next album to counteract this unstable production.
Jason Hutchins can be reached at email@example.com.