New is out that the reason we haven’t heard much new material from Lil Kim (except Black Friday, of course) is that she has not actually been allowed – for contractual reasons – to record any new music. Unfortunately, this has meant that Lil Kim’s fans have a long wait for a new album from their idol.
The Queen Bee has not officially released any new material since way back in 2005 – a time at which she was releasing the likes of The Naked Truth and her infamous duet, Here We Go Again, with singer, Kelly Rowland. It turns out that Lil Kim’s restrictions are down to a long-standing and ongoing lawsuit with her previous record labels. The news all came out in the open when Lil Kim appeared in a rare interview with MTV. She told of how, in 2005, she was unhappy with her then record label, Atlantic Records, and wanted to look for a way out of the contract. Kim was going through tough times at that point, as we remember, and she ended up spending a stint in prison.
The truth comes out
Kim poured her heart out to MTV, and issued a statement, explaining how she tried to come to a deal with her record label bosses. “When I came home from prison in 2006, I was really unhappy with my label so I wanted to get off, and I didn’t get released,” she said. “I wasn’t dropped. I had to pay them. So, at the end of the day, it’s like that takes time.”
This explains why Lil Kim turned to other means of earning a living; in the years that followed, we saw her on many reality TV shows. She also made a living through sales of an abundance of Lil Kim merchandise – from T-shirts and engraved gifts to the launch of her own clothing line. “For two years, I fought and fought and fought and finally there was a break. During those two years, I did my Hollywood thing, I mean doing reality shows, ‘Dancing WithThe Stars’ and all that good stuff.”
The “break” Kim refers to was the emergence of a new record deal with another label, Trackmasters. However, not long into signing the contract with Trackmasters, it was clear to Kim that things weren’t working out the way she had hoped. Her artistic direction was very different to the one in which Trackmasters tried to steer her. “It didn’t work out,” she said. Getting out of the contract “took another year or two.”
Big break turned into second label disaster
However, things weren’t that simple for Kim. Rumour has it that when she was having issues with Atlantic Records, Trackmasters paid them $200,000 to free her from her contractual obligations. They then spent a further $240,000 on the production of a new pipeline album, which never got released, as well as paying out for her rent each month.
When things didn’t work out, Trackmasters filed a lawsuit, suing Lil Kim for $2.5 million. A clause in her contract also meant that she was prohibited from releasing any new music. If she proceeded to release a new album, she would be liable to pay her former record company even more money.
Black Friday – a mixtape not an album
What about Black Friday, though, the track that Lil Kim released during the climax of her feud between fellow rapper Nicki Minaj? “Technically, Black Friday was a mixtape, so I was able to get away with that,” Lil Kim said during her recent interview with MTV. “But technically, they could have come after me if I were to put out an album. I couldn’t do it.”
“So, this is something that my fans don’t know, but now you know. Legally, I wasn’t allowed or able to do music. And ‘til this day I’m not going to say I’m glad that the lawsuit happened with Trackmasters, but it made me more of a businesswoman.”
Finally on the up
However, the good news is that everything appears to be sorted for Lil Kim now. As we know, she’s just made Keys to the City with Young Jeezy, a track that has had many brilliant reviews. The hard and heavy hip hop track is, according to Kim herself, “the vintage Kim mixed with the new Kim.”