When Lil Kim splashed on the scene back in 1996 with Hardcore she came in strong. She was known as BIG‘s protégé, and she was spittin’ hard realism about money, power, respect and sex just like most of the high profile MC’s were doing. The album was deemed a classic. We had just witnessed the coming of Lil’ Kim.

On her sophomore effort, Kim failed the public with the release of The Notorious K.I.M..The release had proven that BIG was definitely the machine behind Kim and with him no longer in the picture, due to his untimely death, Kim was standing on her own. Many thought that the Queen Bee was on her way out the door, but as the game says, true soldiers always survive. Kim is a true soldier.

With the release of her latest release La Bella Mafia Kim has returned with a new-spirited vigor for the rap game. Whether the rejuvenation is due to really missing BIG, almost going broke, losing some friends or an undying love for Hip Hop, it is somewhat evident that Lil’ Kim is here to stay. The album still boasts a lot about Biggie as the other albums have done, but lyrically Kim has grown. On “Doing It Way Big” Kim spits about doing everything in life in a big way. On “Shake Ya Bum Bum” Kim and newcomer Lil Shanice trade bars in the attempt to make you do just as the title suggests. A highlight on the album is the Swizz Beats produced “This Is Who I Am” featuring Mashonda. Here Kim lets us know that she is the legacy to BIG.

“The Jump Off,” featuring Mr. Cheeks is already in heavy rotation on the radio as well as video stations. This is great comeback look for Kim produced by Timbaland. The album sways terribly when Kim tries her hand at singing on “This Is A Warning.” The hook is borrowed from R Kelly and you don’t really know if Kim meant this song to be a joke or if she was serious, but what you do know is that it should not have made the album. “(When Kim Say) Can You Hear Me Now,” with Missy Elliot, “Thug Luv” featuring Twista and “Magic Stick” with 50 Cent are all sure club bangers waiting to explode.

So when it’s all said and done Kim has returned with her forever unusual self to reclaim her mark. Even though she falls short in some areas she will get the point across.