Lil’ Kim has been a fixture on the hip-hop scene for more than two decades. Now 46, the “Crush On You” rapper’s appearance has changed dramatically over the years, prompting fans to closely examine Lil’ Kim before and after photos to determine if she’s gone under the knife. Are you dying to know if the Lil’ Kim surgery rumors are true? Here, we take a look at her ever-changing face and dissect photos of Lil’ Kim, young and old, to figure out if she’s gotten plastic surgery.
Lil’ Kim First Rose To Fame In The ‘90s
Born Kimberly Denise Jones on July 11, 1974, Lil’ Kim — who’s nicknamed for her small, 4-foot-11-inch stature — grew up in Brooklyn, New York. As a teenager, she met fellow Brooklynite Christopher Wallace (a.k.a. The Notorious B.I.G), who became instrumental in both her professional and personal life. “He became my friend, my lover, my everything,” Kim told Entertainment Weekly in 2016. “I was his biggest fan.”
In 1995, Biggie recruited Lil’ Kim to join his Junior M.A.F.I.A. crew as its sole female rapper, which led to the launch of her solo career a year later. Her first solo album, Hard Core, debuted at number 11 on the Billboard 200 and became the highest-charting for a female rap album at that time.
Lil’ Kim also became well-known for her risqué sense of style, including the legendary purple pastie outfit she wore to the 1999 MTV Video Music Awards. As it turns out, that outfit was inspired by a joke that pal Missy Elliot made about Lil’ Kim’s “ladies.” “My nipples used to pop out so much on their own,” Lil’ Kim told People earlier this year. “They said something in a movie and made it look like it was planned — it was never planned. The girls used to laugh at me and Missy said, ‘Girl, your nipples pop out so much. One day, you need to just come outside with one nipple out.’” Lil’ Kim decided to do just that!
The former Dancing With the Stars contestant is also famous for her years-long affair with Biggie Smalls and the love triangle it created with his then-wife, Faith Evans. Lil’ Kim was devastated by Biggie’s tragic murder in 1997 and found it extremely different to move on after his death. “You’d think it would get easier with time, but it doesn’t,” she told Newsweek in 2000. “I still think about him all the time and every day, even though I know I got to find someone else soon. I can’t always be alone.”
The Before And After Photos Of Lil’ Kim Are Incredibly Different
It’s a bit disconcerting to look at pics of Lil’ Kim through the years, as everything from her skin tone to face shape seems to shift. The first major change seems to occur sometime around 2003 or 2004, with a noticeable slimming of her nose. This would align with the nose job the rapper has admitted to getting to fix a broken nose caused by an abusive boyfriend.
Around 2010 is when her skin tone seemed to change, becoming dramatically lighter in a Michael Jackson-esque way. By 2013, it looks as though some work has been done around her cheeks and eyes. And by 2015, the transformation has clearly become major — lighter skin, higher cheekbones, and a super chiseled chin.
Has Lil’ Kim Ever Had Plastic Surgery?
As mentioned, Lil’ Kim copped to getting a nose job during a 2005 radio interview with Angie Martinez. While she did receive backlash from many fans who noticed the change, the “No Time” rapper said she didn’t let it get to her.
“It don’t bother me because I told you, I’m beautiful,” she said. “People think I did it because I had low self-esteem, but that wasn’t the case. I think I did it ‘cuz I was a little too vain at the time. Trying to be perfect.”
But other than that procedure, Lil’ Kim has repeatedly denied getting anything else done. In 2013, when a number of Lil’ Kim surgery rumors circulated online, she even issued a statement through her rep, C.J. Carter, saying:
“We would like to inform fans, the media, and the general public that this is nothing more than the blog site doing its best to conjure up much needed publicity and what better way to do so, than to take an American music icon and create a fictitious platform in which to disrespect and humiliate. We at Team Lil Kim are not taking this lying down and are taking this matter very seriously.”
While we have nothing but love and respect for the Notorious K.I.M., we have to admit that we doubt her denials. In addition to the photographic evidence, the rapper has frequently admitted to feeling insecure about her looks. In her Newsweek interview, for example, she said: “All my life men have told me I wasn’t pretty enough–even the men I was dating. And I’d be like, ‘Well, why are you with me, then?’ It’s always been men putting me down just like my dad. To this day when someone says I’m cute, I can’t see it. I don’t see it no matter what anybody says.”
Experienced Plastic Surgeons Have Their Own Opinions On The Rumors
We’re not the only ones that strongly suspect Lil’ Kim has gotten work done. In a 2016 interview with Us Weekly, board-certified plastic surgeon Dr. Jennifer Levine weighed in with her thoughts on Lil’ Kim’s lighter complexion. “It’s clear that there has been some skin bleaching,” she said. “She’s probably used chemicals, which contain very high doses of acids, on her face, combined with high-acid creams to lighten her skin.”
Levine also noted that the rapper’s eyes have clearly been worked on. “They seem elongated and completely different,” she observed. “Kim would have had to have surgery to remove the fat, skin and tissue to create this new eye shape.”
Whether or not Lil’ Kim has actually gone under the knife, there’s no denying that the “Lady Marmalade” rapper loves to change up her look. “My whole thing what I do is the image,” she said in 2000. “One day you might catch me in a purple wig, you might catch me in a green wig, that’s what I do. You may catch me in different color eyes, that’s what I do. You may catch me with my own hair, my own eyes, that’s what I do.”
“I’m a person who may get bored with my look sometimes,” she added. “I love what God gave me, but sometimes I want to dress it up.”