Picks and Pans Review: La Bella Mafia
On her first new album in three years, Lil' Kim takes lyrical aim at Eve, the woman who has supplanted Kim as the first lady of hard-core hip-hop. "Even being No. 2, your chances are slim/'Cause when God made Adam, he should have made Kim," she rhymes on the disc's closer, "Came Back for You." But when Kim raps on the same track, "I'm back on the scene/ My favorite color is green," she sounds about as hard-core as Kermit the Frog. Elsewhere on her spotty third CD, Kim continues to let rip the raw, sexually explicit lyrics for which she is famous on tracks such as the old-schoolish "Hold It Now." She also makes numerous references to her late lover, the Notorious B.I.G., even sampling one of his television interviews on the disc's intro. The Queen Bee is better off looking forward by experimenting with Middle Eastern sounds and trip-hop beats on party cuts like "(When Kim Say) Can You Hear Me Now?"—featuring a guest rap by Missy Elliott—and the Missy-esque first single "The Jump Off."
BOTTOM LINE: Mafia puts out hit-and-miss results