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LIVE: F*ck Nicki Minaj?? Lil Kim, Gang, and Poca tha Papergirl, Sonar, Baltimore

Winston "Stone" Ford 06/07/2010 11 Comments

Depressing.

That’s the only word I can come up with after seeing Lil Kim’s trainwreck of a show in Baltimore last Saturday.

Let’s face it. The rap game does not treat its elders well. As a genre that is immersed in pop culture, the cultural references that dropped at the height of 90s excess (Cristal is mentioned in the chorus of “Crush On You) leave the new generation scratching their head.

Unlike rock royalty, hip-hop is always constantly “on to the next one,” and for female rap, that “next one” is Nicky Minaj. Kim and her crew make no bones about their hatred of this fact. What could’ve been a very dope show by a legendary artist was ruined by an obvious obsession with something that Kim cannot change.

As a dude who remember hiding Hard Core from his parents in high school, I expected to see a great show touching on the legacy of Queen Bee. Instead, I saw

“F*ck Nicki Minaj” – Lil Kim

One can only think about what’s going on in Kim’s mind right now. On one hand you see Ms. Minaj selling out arenas while not releasing a single album, while Ms. Kimberly Jones struggles to stay relevant after a career which saw her debut go many times platinum. As she peaked out the side of Sonar, you can only imagine what she was going through as she saw the small, yet enthusiastic crowd in a venue that is one fourth the size of the ones she used to rock in the 90s.

“Puffy should be ashamed of himself.” – Lil Kim

The quote above refers to Puffy’s insistence of managing Ms. Minaj.

Let’s not front–Kim put on a energetic set, and the crowd were appreciative of her and her legacy, but it’s obvious from her stage antics that she’s swallowing a bitter pill. Her set touched little on her debut, Hard Core–and consisted  mainly on her interpretations on current hits, including her dubious rendition of Empire State of Mind Part II all in the name of keeping herself relevant.

The problem with Kim she will never see the glory of her past, and instead of going after the new generation, she should be working with them. And on top of that, she should continue to make good music. “Lighters Up,” was her last great single, and she has been dormant on the release front ever since. In a genre where you’re only really relevant now for 15 minutes, Kim has set too long on the shelf, and her dissatisfaction with the new generation will not win her new fans or keep her old ones.

“Drake Should Go on a vegan diet.” – Lil’ Kim’s protege Keys the Problem

The saviors for the night were an up and coming rapper from the Bronx and an oddly-place punk rock band from Philadelphia.

Poca the Papergirl might have the largest persona in the game right now. Sporting a fashioned military jacket and some Stevie Boi shades, Poca’s looks are already ahead of the curve. But it was her short, yet energetic set which showed promise, and establishing her as a name to look for in the unfortunately shallow female rap game.

The Bronx MC is one of the most promising I have seen in a while, and will hopefully represent for a new generation of future female MCs. Ms Kim should take notice.

Also a winner for the night? The punk band Gang, which although completely not right for the lineup (I’m still scratching my head), won over the overly hip-hop crowd. “F*ck the Police,” shouted lead singer as the all girl trio warmed up the crowd, unlike what the Beastie Boys would have done back in the days were hip-hop and punk intersected.

After the end of the night I felt saddened at the current state of Ms. Kim. A woman who has had so much plastic surgery that she looks vastly different from her 90s self (and shockingly like Ms Minaj) is striving to compete in an industry that values the present over the past. And that’s the problem. Until hip-hop respects the past, artists like Kim will be struggling for relevancy in any way they can.

  • http://originalnajeema.wordpress.com Najeema

    Ouch for Kim. I’m still not impressed with Keys. This sounds like a very odd show, but thanks for the coverage.
    I wonder if the LONGEVITY game is different for female artists than male artists.
    The only reason I ask is because I watched a vid on the Rock the Bells lineup and RZA discussing how groups like WuTang should look to Metallica and Willie Nelson, who have fans across generations AND ARE STILL PERFORMING.
    Does a woman’s “fading” beauty have anything to do with her current and long-lasting popularity in a the realm of hip-hop. Is a female rapper any different from the vixen that uses her body as her commodity?

  • Pingback: mfmusic (Move Forward Music)

  • http://camjus.com Cam JUS

    that’s a good question. I don’t quite know of an example where i can show that everything else stayed constant except looks. Lauryn, Kim, and others it seems had other issues that took them out the game, at least temporarily. And it’s always difficult to make a come back. Is there anybody that kept releasing music without anything else happening to them?

    And then there were plenty of women who weren’t really what I would call a 10. And I don’t know if their looks had anything to do with me liking their music. A lot of women rappers are attractive, but I don’t know if they were that good looking for it to make a difference that I stop checking for their music when they hit 40.

  • http://originalnajeema.wordpress.com Najeema

    Well, it’s almost like anything else, Cam. Women begin to have different responsibilities (marriage and/or children) that cause them to re-evaluate where the music business, recording, and touring plays in their lives. Lauryn is the perfect example of this (along with the going crazy part, of course). Roxanne Shanté decided to pursue a PhD and higher education. Salt found the Lord and Pepa found (then lost) a man. JJFad, turned out to be just that. Kim & Remy went to jail. Rah Digga found out the dudes didn’t have her back like she thought.
    Alright, none of these chicks were knock-outs.
    I guess that’s not fair. One shouldn’t expect a Halle Berry looking brawd to pick up a mic and start rhyming. So, why are we mad when Nicki does it? (Let me stop back. Nicki Minaj has neither the looks or class that Halle Berry has.) I was only making a link between the uber-feminine. But are we mad a ‘pretty’ female rapper? No, I’m mad a girl that used to parade herself as a boy and still talks about elicit sex acts with other females. Now, I love the gheis. But I’m not really a fan of a woman talking about what she does to another woman in her music. I’m just shocked by it. In 1994, S&P, personal sheros of mine, sang Whatta Man. In 2010, Nicki is conspiring to pick up girls for
    Usher. What’s wrong with that?
    Everything. People will argue that there is a place for everything in music. Well, I’m gonna say NO. My bigger concern is the affect music has our on the youth. What they see and hear today will influence who they will become thru many of the seemingly small decisions they make today.
    That was a long way to say that it does come back to looks. No one is thinking WuTang is too old to be producing music, based on their looks. Yes, the guys still have it, and from Stone’s post, it sounds like Kim doesn’t, which is sad. So sad. Kim was legendary. So was Foxy. I still stand for my girl Dirty Harriet, but going forward, Nicki Minaj won’t do for me.
    Let’s continue, if you feel like it. I know I got a bit off topic.

  • http://camjus.com Cam Jus

    Ok. my post is gonna go in different directions too then…

    a.) I think everybody ends up having new responsibilities and agendas eventually. Even men get married, have kids, find new interests, etc.

    b.)I’m still looking for a clear example or way to show that people say about a female mc ‘oh she fell off’ when she really didn’t. and then be able to show that it’s because folks are biased based on the woman’s looks.

    There’s missy elliot. She was talking about 1 minute man and touching herself, etc. and i don’t think looks had much to do with her being popular and then dropping off. (just trying to find an example to prove your original hypothesis).

    c.) I agree a little with your thoughts on music and youth. ‘Lil Freak’ is a banger, but now that i think about it, if I had kids i’d cover their ears if it came on in the car lol. But there IS a time and place for everything with music and art in general. At the end of the day, people gotta express themselves. But I know you can’t say FIRE in a movie theater.

    d.) why can’t women talk about crushing other rappers without being gender specific? They’re always talking about other rap bitches. It makes it look like they’re only competing with other female rappers. does anybody else notice that? listen to Nicki or Kim or Rah Digga. I give props to Lauryn and Jean Grae. they don’t seem to straight up aim just for other females.

    e.) MIA is the best female emcee out right now.

  • JBar

    I hate how the writer makes it seem as if Nicki is “selling out arenas” solely based on her name alone. She’s on Summer Jam bills with 15 othe artists who are “hot right now” nd barely performs a 20 min set. WHY?! Because the BITCH has no album and still hasn’t showcased her authentic persona. She came in the game a Lil’ Kim CLONE (peep her remake of “The Jump Off” on youtube) and will always be considered, by many, an unoriginal, replica ass Barbie. KIM IS THE QUEEN and I have seen her new promo tour in NYC….it was fire!!! Nicki’s energy on stage will never be where Kim’s is even on the QUEEN BEE’s worst day. LONG LIVE LITTLE KIM!!!

  • http://kevinkunitake.tumblr.com/ kevin

    It’s interesting to think about whether a female artist’s “fading” beauty makes her less relevant. But I don’t think that’s the reason. It’s less about “fading” beauty and more about the 15 minutes.

    Yeah, Wu Tang is playing Rock the Bells. But they’re performing the classic 36 Chambers, not new stuff. The same with KRS-ONE, Rakim, Slick Rick… They’re not taking shots at younger artists. They know who their audience is and they play to them. Kim should too.

    But is “fading” beauty a commodity?

    Only if artists want it to be. Sex Sells. If their content’s about sex, then their popularity is bound to fade. Look at actresses and actors. I’m sure Megan Fox won’t be on top of the the box office numbers in 10 years. But Meryl Streep will. It’s about how you sell yourself.

  • http://sondaiexpressions.blogspot.com kim

    I have felt for the longest time that Lil Kim needed counseling. She is insecure about her looks and no amount of plastic surgery is going to make her happy. Grittin’ on Nikki Minaj is just another level of her insecurity.

    I appreciate the comment “Until hip-hop respects the past, artists like Kim will be struggling for relevancy in any way they can.”, so absolutely true.

    Like Lil Wayne stringing a long bits of 4-5 different old skool folks to make one verse and not give the credit to those who came before him. (don’t even ask me what song it was.. i’ont rememba!)

  • Curra

    Build a bridge and get under it cos we’re over it! Hahaha yeeee Wooly Wooly!

  • *M$.VENIA! THE GRAND BEE!!*

    * M$. LIL’KIM THE QUEEN BEE ! OF RAP ! THE GREATEST FEMALE RAPPER OF ALL TIME ! THE FEMALE BIGGIE ! THE MOST COPIED FEMALE RAPPER ! THE #1 FEMALE RAPPER TREND SETTER ! THE QUEEN BEE IS COMING ! *

  • Trinz

    Check out NEW Papergirl Mixtape at:
    http://www.soundcloud.com/pocathepapergirl.

    And save her as a friend at:
    http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100002689936972