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Kimberly Jones, 11 July 1975, Brooklyn, New York City, New York, USA. Having survived some time on the streets as a teenager, the diminutive Lil Kim was aided by Biggie Smalls (the Notorious B.I.G. ) who helped her team up with the New York rap collective Junior M.A.F.I.A. . A strong response to her contributions to their 1995 debut single, Players Anthem, and the ensuing Conspiracy, earned her comparisons with MC Lyte for her adept microphone skills. She then worked on albums by artists including Skin Deep and Total, before launching her own career in 1996 with Hard Core. This sexually explicit hardcore rap album came as something of a shock in the male-dominated world of hip-hop, but an aggressive marketing campaign and strong reviews helped it reach number 11 in the Billboard charts. The album featured an array of star producers, including Puff Daddy, with whom Lil Kim duetted on the number 1 rap single No Time.