York: We wanted her to be sexy. We were thinking of her as a hip-hop Madonna, a hip-hop Erica Kane.
Nzingha (makeup artist): The first video we did together was “Crush on You.” That set the tone for her being a chameleon. My references were Madonna and her hairstyles—from blonde to black straight hair.
Misa Hylton (stylist): I met her in 1993. She had a short cut like Halle Berry. A denim suit. Kim really put name brands on the map, like the guys did with gators and Coogi.
Kory Jackson (A&R, Undeas Records): The [promo] picture with Kim squatting was Un’s idea. We were like, “Maybe that’s a little far-fetched.” But Big said, “That’s it.” It was an immediate response in the street: “Oh my God, you seen that Kim picture?” When I had my street teams out, people were ripping the posters out of our hands.
Michael Lavine (photographer, Hard Core]: She was so passive during the shoot. Very shy.
Daddy-O: Our first image of Lil’ Kim was with a briefcase and a suit. Un had this idea of her looking like Jackie [Kennedy]. When I heard Hard Core, it was like, this is borderline soft porn!
Lil’ Cease: Once he had it planned, [Big] knew who he could write for and who could write for themselves. I didn’t take it serious at all. I wasn’t a rapper. Trife and Larceny were rappers. Kim was a rapper.