Bella Mafia

Bella Mafia

4.9 15
by Lil' Kim
     
 

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On her sophomore disc, Notorious K.I.M., rap vixen Lil' Kim was both grieving the loss of -- and trying to emerge from the shadow of -- her slain mentor and lover, the Notorious B.I.G. Although that disc had some winning moments, Kim fares better at establishing her own identity on herSee more details below

Overview

On her sophomore disc, Notorious K.I.M., rap vixen Lil' Kim was both grieving the loss of -- and trying to emerge from the shadow of -- her slain mentor and lover, the Notorious B.I.G. Although that disc had some winning moments, Kim fares better at establishing her own identity on her self-produced third disc, La Bella Mafia. What that identity is, however -- beyond a kinky young woman with an affinity for mobsters, plastic surgery, and shopping sprees -- is still a bit hazy. Although blindly boastful lyrics such as, "Y'all get your diamonds from Jacob/I ain't mad at cha/I get mine straight out the Kimberly gold mine in Africa" won't win her any points for being socially conscious (or too bright), love her or hate her, Kim is still the most captivating female rapper in the biz. Continuing in the sexually explicit and materialistic vein of her previous discs, Lil' Kim sounds the most energized on the percussive, Timbaland-produced "The Jump Off"; the Scott Storch club thumper "(When Kim Say) Can You Hear Me Now?," featuring Missy Elliott; and the bluesy, R. Kelly–produced "This Is a Warning," on which Kim sounds a tongue-in-cheek alarm to her rap rivals. In case that track missed its intended targets, Kim reloads on "Came Back for You," where she spits venomous rhymes like: "It's enough I got to put up with this doo-doo Brown chick...Keep your tacky ways/And go back to your stripper days/As long as I'm around/You 'gon bow down." Looks like Foxy and Eve better take cover. With La Bella Mafia, Lil' Kim reclaims her throne as rap's reigning Queen Bee.

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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Jason Birchmeier
After a couple low-profile years where it seemed like Lil' Kim was fading away into the obscurity of rap history, she returned in 2003 with a strong effort, La Bella Mafia, that reestablished her as an industry icon. Her previous album, Notorious K.I.M. (2000), had been somewhat of a disappointment relative to her smash debut, Hard Core (1996). Where her debut had lived up to its title and presented her as a sexually charged gangstress -- the Notorious B.I.G.'s right-hand woman and the momentarily undisputed queen of New York -- her follow-up made an ill-fated bid for pop-crossover success. Overseen by Puff Daddy on the eve of his initial popular collapse, Notorious K.I.M. was a mishmash collection of collabos and overblown Biggie odes that didn't resonate well with her fans, the pop crowd, or critics. It's perhaps fitting then that on La Bella Mafia Kim returns to her sexually charged gangstress image, forgoing overt pop concessions in favor of the sort of hardcore motifs that had always been her stock-in-trade. While she plays up the gangstress image well, there's still plenty of commerciality going on here, as hitmakers like Timbaland, Scott Storch, Kayne West, and Swizz Beatz craft the beats while guests like 50 Cent, Missy Elliott, Styles P, and Twista bring some additional flavor. This results in some edgy yet radio-ready tracks like "The Jump Off," "Magic Stick," and "(When Kim Say) Can You Hear Me Now?" Elsewhere, there are some substantial album tracks that fill out the album, particularly the emotive "Heavenly Father," the slow-jamming "Can't F**k With Queen Bee," and the "Guess Who's Back"-esque "Came Back for You." As with most rap albums, La Bella Mafia could use a little trimming, but it's a relatively solid album with quite a bit of lyrical substance to accompany the first-rate beatmaking. The Queen B has a lot to say here after her long sabbatical, and she's noticeably slowed down her flow, which brings her word choices to the fore. As a result of all this, La Bella Mafia affirms Kim's briefly questionable status as a formidable female presence in a man's world and once again turns the often sexist mindset of rap on its head in the process.
The Source
While the late Frank White (a.k.a. the Notorious B.I.G.) guided her 1996 debut, Hard Core, and P. Diddy sprinkled his commercial style all over The Notorious K.I.M., the Queen Bee's honey comes straight from the source on her third go round, La Bella Mafia. Kim Osorio
Billboard - Rashaun Hall
La Bella Mafia is a testament to the talent that B.I.G. saw in his fellow Brooklynite/Junior M.A.F.I.A. cohort. Lead single "The Jump Off," which features Mr. Cheeks, is classic Kim -- deliciously raunchy, raw, and real.

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Product Details

Release Date:
03/04/2003
Label:
Warner Bros Mod Afw
UPC:
0075678357220
catalogNumber:
83572
Rank:
35519

Tracks

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Album Credits

Performance Credits

Lil' Kim   Primary Artist
Full Force   Background Vocals
Shelene Thomas   Background Vocals
Governor   Background Vocals
Lil James   Background Vocals

Technical Credits

Deniece Williams   Composer
Full Force   Producer
Roy Hawkins   Composer
Jimmy Webb   Composer
R. Kelly   Composer
Adam Horovitz   Composer
Owen Brown   Vocal Coach
Sean "Puffy" Combs   Composer
Leon Huff   Composer
K. Jones   Composer
Terrance Kelly   Composer
James Mtume   Composer
Darryl "D.M.C." McDaniels   Composer
Tim Patterson   Composer
Rick Rubin   Composer
Scott Spencer Storch   Composer,Producer
Lil' Kim   Composer
Lynn Kowalewski   Art Direction
Havoc   Producer
Timbaland   Producer
Nathan Watts   Composer
Ez Elpee   Producer
James Cruz   Mastering
Carlos Evans   Composer
Kanye West   Producer
J."Wax" Garfield   Producer
C.C. Mitchell   Composer
Kamel Abdo   Engineer
R. Evans   Composer
Vincent Soyez   Cover Photo
Big Hill   Producer
J. Garfield   Composer
L.J. Porter   Composer
Fantom of the Beat   Producer
Kasseem Dean   Composer
Greg "Gee" Stewart   Engineer
Shaft   Producer
Lanre Gaba   Administration
Dan "The Man" Humiston   Engineer
Cortez Farris   Engineer
Joseph "Run" Simmons   Composer
Kejuan Muchita   Composer
DJ Bless   Producer

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