Lil’ Kim shook up the hip-hop world when she released her studio debut ‘Hard Core’ in 1996. Embracing a femme fatale persona, Kim challenged gender stereotypes with songs that combined fashion and sexually explicit references with gangster rap styles. Her provocative and empowering approach set a precedent for her career, but it also helped create a lane for other women–such as today’s hitmaker Cardi B.

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