Notorious K.I.M dropped in June 2000, and was later certified platinum. A year later, Kim released her biggest single, a Grammy-winning remake of La-Belle’s “Lady Marmalade” with Christina Aguilera,Pink and Mya, for the Moulin Rouge soundtrack. But in February 2001, Kim’s entourage exchanged gunfire with rap group Capone-N-Noreaga’s entourage outside of NYC radio station Hot 97, reportedly over Foxy Brown’s verse on CNN’s “Bang Bang.” Kim told federal authorities she knew nothing about the shooting. By 2004, she was on trial for perjury, along with colleagues Damien “D-Roc” Butler, Suif Jackson and Monique Dopwell. Kim’s fourth album, The Naked Truth—the follow-up to 2003’s La Belle Mafia—dropped in 2005 while she was incarcerated. She was released from Philadelphia Federal Detention Center in July 2006.
Pooh: Foxy’s verse on CNN was a Kim diss. But their little thing turned out to be a big thing. CNN had nothing to do with it. The beef is over nothing. And that shooting was over nothing.
Dopwell: She told me to come down [to Hot 97]. We were gonna have lunch and go shopping. I go upstairs with her and on the way back down all that happened… [The prosecutors] pulled me in, thinking, This girl doesn’t have much. She’s gonna say everything we need to hear. And she can bring Kim down.
D-Dot: She did what she felt was right based on her codes. She took one for the team, I guess. According to her, she got mad love in [prison].
Duncan-Mao: When she got out of jail, she didn’t trust anybody. I think she had this feeling that no one reached out and no one wrote to her. Her relationship with Junior M.A.F.I.A had already been poisoned after the trial.
Lil’ Cease: Kim knows what really happened. It’s up to her to let it go. We are all grown-ups now. We don’t hold grudges. We all did foul shit. You can’t play the victim. I don’t care if we never speak again. She knows I love her.
DJ Clark Kent: I wish she came to see me. I would have had the right person writing her songs. Jay-Z. Maybe Beanie Sigel. Someone who could really pop for her. I saw her in Miami and I said, “Let’s do a record.” She said, “Okay, I’ll call you.” I knew then that she was going in a different direction.
Scott Storch (producer and ex-boyfriend): I knew “Lighters Up” was gonna be huge the first time I heard it in a club. Being involved with her made it deeper. I would have worked just as hard on her music if we weren’t. In any relationship, I try to be the best boyfriend, no matter what a woman’s history is.
“I think I’m beautiful because of my heart. But like, Halle Berry, Salli Richardson, Stacey Dash, Jada Pinkett Smith? I used to wish I looked like them motherfuckers!” —Lil’ Kim, VIBE 1997
Hector Xtravaganza: I made her the fur bikini for the “Crush on You” video, and she didn’t have much up top. I told her straight up: “You need to invest in some breasts.” She got her breasts done, and she looked like a bombshell. I did not tell her she needed anything else.
York: You have Faith Evans who is blonde and pale. And Big marries her. And then you have Charli Baltimore who is half-German and that’s his girlfriend. I think in her mind she thought she wasn’t good enough because she wasn’t light enough.
Hodari Coker: We were not trying to diss Kim in [the 2009 movie Notorious]. She probably wanted Christina Aguilera [to play her]. She was mad that Naturi [Naughton] is dark skinned.
Shaka Don: Kim had a relationship before Big. She told me [the ex-boyfriend] would say things like, “Your nose is too big.” “You’re an ugly bitch.” I think that had a lot to do with her wanting to change her features. We’d say we’d get our stomachs done and maybe put some implants in. We talked about Michael Jackson and how crazy he was starting to look. Kim said, “I will never go that far.”
Dopwell: Once she did the nose surgery, she had to have it redone because she had an altercation with [then-boyfriend Damion “World” Hardy] and he hit her in the nose. So it wasn’t like she wanted to keep going back because she was addicted. He damaged her face really bad.
Michael Olding, M.D. (Chief, Division of Plastic Surgery at George Washington University): She thinned out her nose a bit, the tip of it. Her nose looks almost too refined.