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Today in Hip Hop History | Lil' Kim Released Her Debut Album 'Hard Core'

On this day in 1996, Kimberly Jones aka Lil Kim defied all rap rules and released her first album, Hard Core.

Kim’s vision was crystallised with diamond clarity on her perfect debut.

In 1996, rap fanatics were already familiar with Lil Kim's charismatic nature. She made her first appearance on Notorious B.I.G.'s Ready to Die, and emerged as the breakout star of the deceased Brooklyn heavy collective, Junior M.A.F.I.A., via electric performances on singles 'Player's Anthem' and 'Get Money.'

But, under tutelage from her mentor, friend and lover Notorious B.I.G, it was her solo debut that established the 21-year-old as a true iconoclast.

Hard Core's release in November of that year would serve as her official coronation as rap's new queen pin, not to mention one of its more endearing stars, despite gender.

Led by the hit singles 'No Time' and 'Crush On You,' as well as the star-studded remix to her album cut, 'Not Tonight,' Hard Core peaked at No. 11 on the Billboard 200 and was certified double platinum by the RIAA, with more than 5 million copies sold worldwide, making it the most successful release from a female rapper at the time.

Watch Lil Kim's Hard Core music videos down below.

Crush On You

No Time feat. Puff Daddy

Not Tonight Remix feat. Angie Martinez, Left Eye, Da Brat & Missy Elliott



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