Ja Rule forged successful partnerships with the likes of Ashanti, Jennifer Lopez and Christina Milian during his early 2000s heyday, but it was another female artist he was mesmerized with during his appearance on The Breakfast Club on Monday (May 9).

After arguing female rappers don’t get enough love when it comes to conversations about who belongs on Hip Hop’s Mount Rushmore, the Queens, New York native gave Lil Kim her flowers for setting the blueprint that many of today’s biggest stars — including Nicki Minaj, Cardi B and Megan Thee Stallion — have followed.

“Let’s talk about Lil Kim,” Ja said. “When you look at the Cardis and the Nickis and the Megans — every female. And then go listen to the Hard Core album. I understand why she’s so revered like that. That album is crazy. And she’s spitting on that album. She’s going on that album! So I get it when these females are like, ‘Yo, Kim was it for me.’ I get it now.”

Ja Rule’s sentiment echoes that of Mary J. Blige, who in a 2020 interview with Andy Cohen made a similar point about Lil Kim’s pioneering career.

“My baby girl, my little sister,” she said. “I mean, one of the most incredible female rappers to open the door for so many women. She’s a trailblazer and one of the biggest rappers [and] most respected rappers in the business.”

Despite her enduring influence, Lil Kim has yet to work with either Nicki Minaj, Cardi B or Megan Thee Stallion. While her interactions with Cardi and Megan have been nothing but respectful, the same can’t be said for her relationship with Nicki.

The rap queens famously traded diss tracks and subliminal shots during a long-simmering feud that divided fanbases, although things seem to have cooled down in recent years. During her interview with Joe Budden in March, Nicki Minaj saluted Lil Kim’s “influence” and argued she should’ve been given the cover of American Vogue already.

Lil Kim Wants A Verzuz Celebration With Old Foe Nicki Minaj

During his Breakfast Club visit, Ja Rule also revealed he’s trying to get Lil Kim to perform her 1996 debut album Hard Core as part of his cross-country Vibes concert series, which launched in April with Raekwon and Ghostface Killah bringing Only Built 4 Cuban Linx… to life at New York City’s Sony Hall.

Watch Ja Rule’s full interview below.