Personnel includes: Lil' Kim, Jay-Z, Junior M.A.F.I.A., The Notorious B.I.G., Adilah (vocals); LaMarquis Jefferson (bass); Fela.
Producers include: Sean "Puff Daddy" Combs, Stevie J., Ski, The Notorious B.I.G., Cornbread, Stretch Armstrong, Prestige, Jermaine Dupri.
Engineers include: Kenny Ortiz, Jermaine Dupri, Tony Black, Phil Tan.
Principally recorded at The Hit Factory, New York, New York.
"Not Tonight" was nominated for a 1998 Grammy Award for Best Rap Performance By A Duo Or Group.
Personnel: Adilah, The Notorious B.I.G. (vocals).
Audio Mixers: Richard Travali; Axel Niehaus; Tony Smalios; Tony Black.
Photographer: Michael Lavine.
While male rappers like the Notorious B.I.G. and Snoop Doggy Dogg are praised for kickin' that hard-core hip-hop and keepin' it real, female MCs who talk dirty or otherwise try to represent from that same lifestyle are usually criticized for it. Double standard maybe? Well, if Too Short can talk about pimpin' and Kool G. Rap can get props for gangsta-fied lyrics, it's high time a rapper like Lil' Kim got hers.
As the only female member of Junior M.A.F.I.A., Lil' Kim named herself the Lieutenant, and stole the show on that band's 1995 debut album, CONSPIRACY. Lyrically, there is no doubt she's talented, but it's her rhymin' delivery that clinches things on HARD CORE. Often reminiscent of the classic album READY TO DIE by her mentor the Notorious B.I.G., the production on every track is phat, and earns Lil' Kim her crown as the new queen of hard-core rap.
Rolling Stone (5/13/99, p.76) - Included in Rolling Stone's "Essential Recordings of the 90's."
Spin (12/96, p.141) - 7 (out of 10) - "...She may be no bigger than your thumb, but Lil' Kim is possessed of so much natural panache and audacity that she packs the attack of a 50-foot woman."
Entertainment Weekly (1/10/97, p.58) - "...Her riveting stage persona--a woman living amid guns, illegal business, and predatory men--is complex and well-rounded. She's skilled, too, rhyming with ease over the silky subtle grooves of her debut album." - Rating: A
The Source (12/96, p.132) - 3.5 Mics (out of 5) - "...a solid debut because phat beats and rhymes are really all it takes, and they're both present..."
Rap Pages (1/97, p.28) - "...Undeniably, she has the makings to become the `Black Madonna'...which is a perfect introduction to her solo debut effort, HARD CORE, guaranteed to hit club rap fans with an unusual abundance of aural masturbation..."
Rap Pages (1/97, p.28) - "...Undeniably, she has the makings to become the 'Black Madonna'...which is a perfect introduction to her solo debut effort, HARD CORE, guaranteed to hit club rap fans with an unusual abundance of aural masturbation..."