THE NOTORIOUS KIM

MIKE ROSS

, Last Updated: 3:42 PM ET


THE NOTORIOUS KIM
Lil' Kim
(Warner)

She puts herself on trial before this record even gets going - now it's time to face the music.

The case against Lil' Kim: Were it not for the Notorious B.I.G.'s death, there wouldn't be much substance to this "long-awaited" new album, the most blatant exploitation of the big rapper's memory since Puff Daddy's I'll Be Missing You.

The case for: At least she admits it. In the ballad Hold On, Kim raps, "A lot of people eating off of one man's death." And in the closing track I'm Human: "I'm a goddamned legacy, thanks to B.I.G. and Puff Daddy." Besides, she was clearly in love with the B.I.G. guy.

The case against: This isn't nearly as shocking or original as hoped, bulked with tiresome revenge fantasies, empty threats and pointless bragging - just like any of the dozens of hardcore rap albums released this year.

The case for: A steamy track about the joys of oral sex called How Many Licks? That, plus the occasional gem of a line like "a bitch like me gets it on the first date. Why hesitate?" Yeah, baby.

The case against: After swearing like a mortally wounded crack dealer all the way through, Kim introduces "Lil' Shanice," who flips off Barney and Lambchop before Kim cuts back in: "Rule No. 1: No cursing." Double standard.

The case for: Anyone who can quote the Bible and depict a grisly gangland murder on the same recording has guts. It must be that "eye for an eye" thing.

The case against: This entire album generally seems unfocused, both musically and lyrically. It's as if this bad girl rapper can't decide how bad - or good - she wants to be.

The case for: Notable exceptions like No Matter What They Say, I'm Human and Don't Mess With Me (which manages to sample Pat Benatar and Joni Mitchell in the same song).

Any final words before the verdict? Quoth Kim: "I'm nasty, worse than Howard Stern. Court adjourned."

Not so fast. The jury's still out, but it looks like yet another case of a record failing to live up to its hype.

Track Listing 1.Lil' Drummer Boy
  02.Custom Made (Give It To You)
  03.Who's Number One?
  04.Suck My D**k
  05.Single Black Female
  06.Revolution
  07.How Many Licks?
  08.Notorious Kim
  09.No Matter What They Say
  10.She Don't Love You
  11.Queen Bitch Pt.2
  12.Don't Mess With Me
  13.Do What You Like
  14.Off The Wall
  15.Right Now
  16.Aunt Dot
  17.Hold On
  18.I'm Human
 


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