By Rebecca Thomas
THE BRONX, New York — Female MCs, take note: The Queen wants her throne back. On Friday night (May 18), Lil’ Kim strutted into the Paradise Theatre in the BX, and dusted off her ’90s hits and some new tracks, too. And if anyone had come expecting just to bathe in shiny suit-era nostalgia, the pint-size rapper made it clear this show was about looking forward.
The Notorious K.I.M. was on the New York leg of her Return of the Queen Tour, and MTV’s RapFix got a front seat to the Queen Bee’s sound check and pre-show rehearsal. Kim, casual in floral-camo-print drawstring pants, a pink tee and sneakers, kept her sunglasses on as she ran through a selection of song’s from the set list, including the blood-curdling classic “Queen Bitch” and a reinterpretation of the reggae-infused “Man Down.”
But those were just teasers for the main event, a theatrical affair that saw the Bed-Stuy spitter incorporating a flag-waving K.I.M. army, dancers and more. While there was no Biggie hologram like we’d secretly hoped, Kim made good with some surprising special guests as Missy Elliott and Eve helped make it ladies’ night with a performance of Missy Misdemeanor’s “Hot Boyz” remix. Then Harlem’s own Juelz Santana hit the smoked-out stage for a rendition of “Beamer, Benz or Bentley.”
Still, this was Kim’s show, and she reminded the hard-core fans who began filing in on Friday around 7 p.m., by dipping into favorites like “Crush on You” and “No Time” from her 1996 debut, Hard Core. Of course, she couldn’t resist doing recent tracks as well, including the Nicki-baiting “Black Friday,” for which Kim puts her growl to good use. Dipset member Juelz Santana was also on hand to hit the stage.
Check out video via Rap-Up.