July 11: rapper and actress Lil' Kim is 37-years-old today.

Photo by Windy Jonas

Kimberly Denise Jones - AKA Lil' Kim - was born and raised in the Bedford-Stuyvesant section of Brooklyn, New York. Her father kicked her out of the house when she was a teenager, and Kim lived with friends and on the streets.

She started rapping and was influenced by other female MC'S like MC Lyte and Lady of Rage. After The late Notorious B.I.G. first heard her, he decided to guide her career. she began her music career in 1995 with the group Junior M.A.F.I.A., whose debut album Conspiracy generated three hit singles.

In 1996, her solo debut album Hard Core was released. It was certified double platinum and spawned three consecutive #1 rap hits that included: "No Time," a duet with P. Daddy, (then known as Sean "Puff Daddy" Combs), "Not Tonight (Ladies Night remix)" and "Crush on You." The album's lead single "No Time" reached the top spot of the Billboard Hot Rap Tracks chart

Her next albums, The Notorious K.I.M. in 2000 and La Bella Mafia in 2003, both were certified platinum by the RIAA, making Kim the only female rapper besides Missy Elliott to have at least 3 platinum albums.

La Bella Mafia spawned the hit "The Jump Off" featuring Mr. Cheeks, which climbed to number 16 on the Billboard Hot 100. The single "Magic Stick," featuring 50 Cent, hit #2 on the Hot 100 without a video ever being shot.

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Crush On You [Explicit Version]Naked Truth


La Bella Mafia debuted at #5 on the Billboard 200. Kim was nominated for five Source Awards and won two ("Female Hip-Hop Artist of the Year," and "Female Single of the Year"). This album also got two Grammy Award nominations: Best Female Rap Solo Performance ("Came Back For You") and Best Rap Collaboration ("Magic Stick.") She was also nominated for Best Pop Collaboration with singer Christina Aguilera for the song "Can't Hold Us Down," from Aguilera's album Stripped.

In 2001, Kim was featured on "Lady Marmalade," with Christina Aguilera, Pink, and Mýa. Originally performed by Labelle (which included Patti LaBelle) 25 years earlier, the new version was recorded for the Moulin Rouge! film soundtrack, released in April 2001, and stayed #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 for five weeks. The song also went to #1 in 50 countries around the world. That made Kim the first female rapper to earn a #1 on that chart.

In 2005, she served a year long prison sentence for lying to a jury about her friends' involvement in a shooting four years earlier. During her incarceration, her fourth album The Naked Truth was released.

Lil' Kim returned to the public spotlight in 2009 with an appearance on Dancing with the Stars. She was paired with professional dancer Derek Hough until the dance couple was eliminated and finished in fifth place.

In March 2009, the song "Girls" by the Korean singer, Se7en featuring Lil' Kim was released through digital stores for his U.S. debut single. That same month, Kim released the song "Download" featuring R&B singers T-Pain and Charlie Wilson. In December 2010, Kim filmed music videos for the second and third singles from her fifth studio album releasing in 2011.

Kim confirmed in January, 2011 that she would be releasing her next album which is currently untitled in 2011. Kim is working with producer Dr. Dre and 50 Cent on the album.