The wait is finally over—Lil’ Kim’s latest mixtape, Hardcore 2k14: Back 2 Da Streets is here after multiple delays. This follow up to 2011’s Black Friday is a huge improvement to that flop of a mix. With features from Jadakiss, French Montana, Yo Gotti, Cassidy, TLZ, Young Bonds, and B. Ford. While there are some weaker tracks here and there, there are definitely some bangers on this mix that you will want to blast in your car with the crew.
Hardcore is somewhat of a return for the Brooklyn-based rapper to her roots on her first full studio album, Hard Core. On it, her verses are raw, uninhibited, though at times over produced. The albums intro’s with a group of male voices discussing the effects of Lil’ Kim’s original promotional poster for her debut back in 1996: “people got murdered over that picture,” they say.
The first hit that really throws it back is number two on the album, “Stadium Music” feat. Yo Gotti. His deep, laid back verse is the perfect intro for Kim and the vibe that she puts out on the album. The track coolly reinstates Lil’ Kim as the Queen Bee of the female rap scene, an assertion that she follows up with “Identity Theft,” a Nicki Minaj diss track that was originally released before the whole mix came out. “I’ll let you live for a while but I’m done with the crown
The queen’s back, bitches, come get it,” Kim taunts Minaj and her ‘Barbz.’
The most popular early release on the mix came from a collaboration that Kim did with Jadakiss on “Real Sick.” This is the biggest banger on the mix. Kim’s verses are thick, slow and the rhythm feels effortless. As the Queen Bee told REVOLT, “I don’t feel the need to change up my style or change the things that I used to rap about. This tape I tried to give a mixture of everything because that’s just who I am.” The track even samples Notorious B.I.G. and Puff Daddy‘s “Victory.”
Diddy is not the only sample on the mix. Track 7 on Hardcore “Whenever You See” feat. Cassidy samples Fugees “Ready or Not,” in a really interesting way. “Trendsetter” is a departure from Kim’s traditional flow, in which she speeds up her verse spitting words like modern day mob rappers. “Work The Pole” feels out of place—it’s a degrading track that is almost uncomfortable to listen to. Normally, Kim is able to use her sexuality as a power play, taking advantage of her raw eroticism. Not only is the track way over produced, but she utterly fails to use her sex in a positive way (this is really the only track that doesn’t measure up at all).
The last track of serious note on the mix is, in fact, the last track on the album, “Haterz,” feat. B. Ford. “I got some haterz
Give me a bitch that hates, cause man, She won’t walk without being hit,” Kim threatens. It’s safe to say that the Queen Bee is back and here to stay. She’s stepped up her game with this mix, with modern production blended with both her classic styles and small tastes of different verse-spitting modes, Kim hits it home. The female rap game could use some spicing up right now and we are glad Kimmy’s back.
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