In the world of hardcore hip-hop, street cred is everything. And Lil' Kim's got a big boost last month when she began serving a 366-day sentence for perjury at a federal detention center. Trading in her notorious couture for a prison jumpsuit, she brings a hard-earned grit and gangsta realness to this, only her fourth disc. The diminutive rapper exploits her legal troubles for lyrical fodder throughout much of The Naked Truth, and the personal drama makes for some juicy listening. "Now the D.A. want to give me time in the feds/I'm from Brooklyn, I could do that time on my head," she brags over the rumbling beats of the Notorious B.I.G.-sampling "All Good." Meanwhile, the soulful "Slippin" reveals some of the deeper emotions behind the brave face. Of course, it wouldn't be a Lil' Kim album without some raunchy raps, and the Queen Bee delivers just that on cuts like the lustful "Gimme That." Like Lil' Kim herself, The Naked Truth is hardly perfect; it's too long and has too much filler. But it sure does leave you waiting to hear what she comes up with when she gets out of prison.
DOWNLOAD THIS: "All Good"