In November 1996, Lil' Kim released her first full album, Hard Core. It was a huge commercial and critical success: an overtly racy album with raunchy lyrics that featured the biggest name (yes, the biggest) in hip-hop at the time, her Junior M.A.F.I.A. cohort, the Nortorious B.I.G., on "Crush on You." In the music video for that song, she debuted her iconic color-coordinated wig-outfit combo, solidifying herself as a serious rapper and camp legend.
Kim's success continued until she ran into some problems with the law. But that didn't stop her from releasing another album... from prison.
This year, she put out a mixtape, which, ironically, is called Hard Core 2K14. It was meant to give fans a taste of Kim circa 1996, which she described in an interview with Stacks Magazine as "cocaine rap." The article emphasizes it's what "the fans" wanted; she appears very invested in them.
Unfortunately, most of those who worship at the altar of Kim and came out to see the femcee at the Manor on Saturday night felt cheated. With a 9 p.m. door time, it was safe to assume she would go on by midnight, right? Maybe just a little bit later? Nope. In fact, she came out much, much later and, according to the venue, didn't fulfill contractual obligations.
Kim took the stage at 2:40 a.m. for a 20-minute set. It was a typical club show (plenty of artists do 30-minute sets in similar environments), and Kim really did seem to be giving it her all. She kept talking about those who had been with her since day one and how grateful she was for them.
During "How Many Licks," loyal fans sang along, at times finishing off the raps or choruses. "The Jump Off" was another fantastic choice for a short set, if, of course, Kim would have actually done the rap instead of spitting some unfinished sentences over a backing track that included both chorus and rap parts.
Kim brought her assistant on stage for the entirety of the concert, citing him as also her best friend. A South Florida native himself, Noel Perez was celebrating his 15 years with the rapper as well as his birthday.
At one point, a drag queen dressed as Kim even brought him a cake onstage. Said drag queen was either trolling Kim or was trolled by Kim's people (whoever brought the cake), because the candles were the kind that kept relighting. So throughout a couple of songs, the drag queen had to keep blowing out the candles while awkwardly standing on the stage. This may have been the highlight of the show for us.
When Kim finished performing, many people were shocked at the set length. Then rumors began to swirl that she wouldn't be taking part in the meet and greet. People paid $75 for this extra time with the artist, and there'd be hell to pay if she left them in the dust.
Kim claimed she didn't know about the meet and greet (via Twitter) before calling the staff from the Manor "#jankypromoters" and stating that "business is business." Whatever that means. She left the venue without fulfilling her obligations, which enraged both fans and staff.
Fort Lauderdale. I love y'all so much. Shit was LIT 2night!!! Please get ur $$$ back from the club. I never knew about a meet n greet.— Lil' Kim (@LilKim) October 5, 2014
Following Saturday's events, the Manor posted the front page of Lil Kim's contract on Facebook. It showed her booking fee ($23,000) as well as her start time (1:30 a.m.). The club also posted a statement to accompany the image, apologizing profusely for the previous night's events and for their lack of clarification on the matter.
"The Manor's Owners and Staff would like to thank our customers and supporters for joining us to celebrate our fifth anniversary last night. Unfortunately due to acts beyond our control the 'Meet & Greet' never happened. Due to upcoming litigation, per our attorneys, we are unable to get into further details about last nights events. The contract is posted for our customers to come to their own conclusions. Everyone who purchased tickets for the 'Meet & Greet' has been FULLY Refunded for their troubles. Thank you for your loyal support."
If only Kim would have shown up on time and done everything she said she would do beforehand (according to the contract, at least), the show might have gone differently. But to be honest, it was exactly what we expected. It wouldn't be Lil' Kim if there weren't any diva moments.
Before the show, we asked Kim's assistant, Noel, what is was like working with Kim in 1999 versus now, and his answer was pretty ironic. "Kim loves change, and she can still freak it like it was 1996 or do the shmoney dance on [their] asses," he said. "She is just the ultimate truth."
The ultimate truth. Coming to a club near you. Maybe.