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Is Lil Kim Still Relevant?

Last week, Lil Kim hit up Kay Slay’s Streetsweeper Radio show on Shade 45 to throw another pebble in the ocean, this time going at Nicki Minaj — again— and the whole YMCMB camp. I’d quote the rhymes, but they’re embarrassingly bad (worse than “you’re a Kim clone, clown”) and my one-time love for Kim keeps me from participating in the tarnishing of a one-time great.

On the show, Kim also revealed plans to release a new book called The Price of Loyalty, as well as an untitled documentary—neither of which have been given release dates.

Never in my life did I think I would question Kim’s relevancy. I remember the first time I saw her, chilling in the back of a limo, short natural cut, adorned in fur and looking like one of the most sophisticated and smooth Black ladies I’d ever seen as she spat her verse in the video for “Player’s Anthem.” It had an undeniable affect on me. I cut off my perm to get Kim’s natural the following weekend, a 17-year-old suburban girl’s hope at channeling that amazing aura.

A year later I was riding shotgun in my best friend’s car headed way too fast to I-95 when he popped in a Hardcore CD. “I used to be scared of the…” The whole album, an undisputed classic, was equal parts filthy, flirtatious and funny. It was love at first listen. I headed to the record store—remember those? —the next morning to get my own.

By sophomore year, her verse in “All About the Benjamins” had become my club anthem: “All that bulls--- you kick/ playa hatin' from the sidelines/ get your own sh--/ why you bitin mine?”

But who Kim was then and who she is now? It ain’t the same. I’m not thinking about the surgeries. That’s too cheap a shot. (Her face? Her business.) The one-time Queen is acting like a jester with her sad attempts to stay relevant. Sometimes you have to know when to say “when,” and Kim’s long past time to push away from the bars.

Kim’s been working on her comeback since 2006, when her prison sentence took her out of the game for one year and one day. (If you recall, she lied to the grand jury about details surrounding a shooting outside of Hot 97’s New York City headquarters in 2001.) She’s thrown a lot out there— Dancing with the Stars was her most visible attempt— but still nothing’s stuck. She keeps tongues wagging these days by going up against Nicki Minaj with wack songs, underwhelming mixtapes and radio interviews killing any hopes of a respectable resurgence.

I don’t want to see Kim give up. Music is obviously important to her, and far be it for me to knock another woman chasing a big dream. I respect the grind, but the approach is all wrong. Everyone knows Nicki “borrowed” her look from Kim back in the day (with a dash of Missy thrown in for effect), but constantly reminding anyone who will listen of what she was then isn’t doing anything for Kim today. It’s a reminder of who did her thing, and worse, who is doing it better now.

 

Demetria L. Lucas is the author of “A Belle in Brooklyn: The Go-to Girl for Advice on Living Your Best Single Life” (Atria) in stores now. Follow her on Twitter @abelleinbk

 

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Cardi B Awarded Crossover Artist Of The Year At 2019 Billboard Latin Music Awards

2019 has been a pretty successful year for Cardi B. In February, Cardi won a Grammy Award for "Best Rap Album," and as of Thursday (April 26), the Bronx beauty was awarded Crossover Artist of the year at the Billboard Latin Music Awards.

The 26-year-old beat out Demi Lovato, DJ Snake and Drake in the category. Cardi's been featured on some of the hottest Latin records that have ruled both 2018 and 2019. She has her hit song "I Like It" with Bad Bunny and J. Balvin, and she's featured in the tracks "Taki Taki" and "La Modelo" as well.

Cardi's win makes her the first female rapper to ever win a Billboard Latin Music Award. The MC took to her Instagram stories to thank the publication for the award, a move that comes after a recent squabble she had with gossip page "The Shade Room."

On Wednesday, in a series of now-deleted Instagram videos, Cardi slammed the gossip page for posts she felt harmed her husband Offset's image. In the video, Cardi called out TSR for allegedly only sharing negative news about her label mates at Quality Management, rather than uplifting them and the rest of the black community.

“Everybody that they know that I’m cool with, they always try to get them set up for people to talk sh*t,” she said. "Offset donated 25K to the Ellen foundation for the kids in Africa. Did The Shade Room post it? No… are they posting any positive sh*t and investment talk that he’s been talking about in his interviews? No. But they sure post the way he had drama with his baby mom. They sure posting about his court cases, right?"

Congrats to Cardi on her win.

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Jussie Smollett's Potentially Final 'Empire' Episode Draws Low Viewership

It hasn't been revealed whether Empire will return for a sixth season. However, if the show returns, there's no word on if Jussie Smollett will reprise his role as Jamal Lyon.

Regardless of the unknown, it looks like fans weren't all the way tuned-in to what may have very well have been Smollett's last episode on the show. Per Variety, Jamal's groundbreaking wedding episode garnered low ratings for the Fox series.

"The episode, in which Smollett’s character Jamal Lyon tied the knot in TV’s first-ever black, gay wedding, returned a 1.1 rating in the key 18-49 demo and 3.8 million total viewers," reports the site. "Those numbers are a tick up on the 1.07 rating of the previous two weeks, but are still down on the season 5 average, which currently sits at around 1.4."

Smollett's character was written out of the last two episodes of the fifth season, due to his highly-publicized arrest in February for allegedly filing a false police report claiming that he was attacked physically and verbally in Chicago. All 16 charges against him were dropped in March.

Recently, his Empire family penned a letter of support for their cast member, urging the show's producers to allow him to come back for the unannounced sixth season.

"[Smollett] is kind. He is compassionate," the letter says. "He is honest and above all he is filled with integrity. He is also innocent and no longer subject to legal uncertainty with the criminal charges against him having been dropped."

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SWV Reacts To Female R&B Artists H.E.R, Teyana Taylor, And More

SWV recently sat down for BuzzFeed's "Cocoa Butter" video series to react to the new generation of female, R&B vocalists, and the veteran trio's facial expressions said it all.

The first singer the ladies reacted to was H.E.R. "I'm partial because I just love H.E.R. So she could sing dookie on a stick, and I'll still be like, oh she sounds nice," Tamara Johnson-George said.

"I wanna hear her do something different though," Coko chimed in, adding that she should experiment with more upbeat tempos.

Another notable reaction was given to Chloe x Halle. While the women agreed that the duo sounded a lot like their mentor, Beyonce, they felt that they hadn't heard any songs that "pop."

SWV didn't jump up and down for everyone, but they collectively loved Teyana Taylor. "She's going to be around for a minute," Leanne "Lelee" Lyons says.

The trio started to really dive in and dissect the artists when they moved on to Queen Naija. Although two-thirds of the group said they like Queen, Coko's facial expressions said something else. "You heard her sing live?" She askd. "I just like to hear them sing live because nowadays these girls sound like a computer."

SWV also reacted to Jhene Aiko, Kehlani, and Syd. See their reactions below.

SWV Reacts To Teyana Taylor, Queen Naija, H.E.R. & more! pic.twitter.com/vF4CQNZlTq

— Cocoa Butter (@cocoabutterbf) April 25, 2019

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