While her feud with Nicki Minaj may be making all the headlines, Lil’ Kim had plenty of other things to say when we caught up with her. In part two of her no-holds-barred interview with Rap-Up, the petite raptress moves past the spat and shares the direction of her fifth studio album and collaboration with the iconic Dr. Dre for her project and Detox. The free agent also explains why her deal with Jay-Z’s Roc Nation didn’t go through and provides insight into her upcoming book The Price of Loyalty. Plus, find out why Rihanna is her favorite pop artist right now, what she thinks of fellow provocateur Lady Gaga, and which two buzzed-about rappers are on her radar. Bumble with the Bee below.
Now that your mixtape Black Friday is out, when are we going to get the next studio album?
I’m always working. You’re gonna always hear music from me. I can honestly say I’m so proud of the body of work that I’ve been producing. It’s a new sound for me, something that I think my fans are gonna love and I’m excited about the new direction. I’m basically always working. You’re gonna always hear music from me, but you’re gonna have that coming right after [the mixtape]. We got some surprises and some treats.
Do you have an album title yet?
I have a few, but I really don’t want to mention them now.
Is it going to be more like the Hard Core days or will we see the pop side of Kim?
You’re gonna get a mixture. There’s no way to just go straight Hard Core. I’m not one of those artists that say, “OK, I’m in a Hard Core mood, so everything’s gonna be Hard Core.” I’m not one of those artists. I don’t live my life like that. I don’t wake up every day and feel that same feeling. I live by the nature really. There are artists who will take a certain concept and go with that concept through the whole album; I’m not like that. I’m an artist who likes for everything to be universal.
Which producers are you working with?
Well, just so you know, I’m on Dr. Dre’s Detox album and I can’t wait, wait, wait, wait for that. The song is freakin’ phenomenal. It’s definitely something that my Hard Core fans are going to love, love, love, love, love. In return he’s doing a song for me on my album. I got Timbaland. I’m not the type of person where every name has to be a big name. I just have a really wonderful relationship with Timbaland and a wonderful relationship with Dr. Dre, so I’m lucky to have them as in-house producers. I also have up-and-coming producers, who people are going to get to know through my music. They’re not even out there like that.
There were reports that you were signing with Roc Nation…
I did get offers from representatives from Roc Nation and I did get phone calls from representatives from Roc Nation. A couple representatives from Def Jam had also reached out to me. I think they’re both amazing companies and I think it would’ve been brilliant for me and Jay to collaborate and team up together. However it just didn’t pan out like that. Not to say that something with me and Jay can’t happen in the future, but I doubt if Jay-Z or Roc Nation will be a part of my upcoming album. He and I are really good friends. We both were excited about the idea of us collaborating and maybe me signing with Roc Nation. I think Jay-Z is letting me be Kim at this moment. I think he feels that I deserve to be Kim and also to have everything that… It’s hard for record companies to sign females these days and give them exactly what they want and need. I understand that. It’s a different world out there.
Have you signed a new record deal or are you in the process of doing that?
I have a lot of situations on the table and I have a lot of situations in effect. For the most part, I’m very independent right now. All the situations that I have on the table, whatever the situation is, it’s going to be a partnership.
You previously mentioned a potential collaboration with Rihanna. Did anything happen?
Well, I mentioned I would love to collaborate with her. She’s my favorite pop artist right now. I think she’s just phenomenal. I feel like collaborations with people happen naturally. But I do have three people on my radar that I wanna work with so bad, but I’m not gonna tell you who they are. You know why I’m not gonna tell you? Because there were two people that I wanted to work with that [Nicki Minaj] ended up working with and I feel like it’ll just jinx it when you say it out loud. People hear you and they wanna do the same thing you do. I know that this collaboration is gonna happen. I feel it. I see it happening.
As a hip-hop veteran, who are you feeling these days?
I almost listen to everyone’s music. I’m really loving Wiz Khalifa. I like him a lot. I think he’s a dope artist. And also another up-and-coming artist, his name is Big Sean. I think he’s hot. There’s a lot of pop artists I love. I love rock ‘n’ roll music. I love all types of music. Usher, I’m loving him again. Not to say I stopped loving him, but at one point I didn’t understand the direction his music was going in, but I am in love with everything he’s doing now.
What do you think of Lady Gaga’s new single “Born This Way”?
I love Lady Gaga. Anything she does, I love. Even if it’s not my favorite Lady Gaga record—she’s just phenomenal. She is so cute.
Some people have compared her to you, saying she’s taken a page from your book at times.
I see that. I can see some of my influences too, but you know what I love about it? She just made it her own. She went in a direction that is her own. I would never try to go in that direction. She went in a direction where I love to watch her.
Maybe one day we’ll see a Kim and Gaga collaboration?
[Laughs] She’s wonderful. She’s definitely wonderful.
Any other projects coming out that you’re excited about?
Well, I have a book deal that’s been in the works for a long time. We’re finally starting the process of getting it out. It won’t come out around the same time as my album, but a little bit after my album comes out. I’m excited about that book. The name of the book is The Price of Loyalty. I have a book deal with St. Martin’s Press and I cannot wait for this book to come out because it’s solely about my stay in prison and a lot of the wonderful, beautiful girls that I met in prison. It’s some of their stories mixed with my stories mixed with the whole prison situation, and even how it came to be for me. It’s gonna be an interesting book. I do have some other things that I’m excited about, some endorsement situations.
Anything you’d like to add?
I just want to thank all my fans for making Black Friday so successful. I love seeing my fans smile and cry tears of joy because everywhere I go they’re just freaking so supportive. I want to thank them right now and just let everybody know that they can find me on Twitter @LilKim. -Rap-Up