Lil Kim brings mediocre return with ‘9’

Lil Kim Ilustration by Alexandria Moore.

Lil Kim Ilustration by Alexandria Moore.

Lil Kim’s “9” is the rap legend’s first studio album in 14 years and the first, fresh collection of songs in three years. While hearing new Lil’ Kim music is exciting, it still sounds like there is something that Kim has lost over the years.

Kim has described “9” as being a reinvention, saying that with this album she is trying something she has never done before. This album doesn’t  really go too far outside of the box. “9” is the typical album one might expect from Lil’ Kim, packed with a mixture of slow jams and freaky sex bops, except with only about 70% of the energy and passion that was once there.

“9” might sound like no other Kim album, but that is only because of the lack of conviction behind many of Kim’s lyrics. “Pray for Me” comes across as melodramatic and almost comical, not because of bad lyrics, but because of Kim’s inability to sell those lyrics.

Yes, Kim has definitely been mistreated, so it is easy to imagine that she would like someone to pray for her, but her delivery makes it sound like she is one of those 12-year-olds who complain about imaginary haters on Snapchat.As a lifetime fan and supporter, though, it is hard watching Kim not deliver to her full potential.

Other than “Pray for Me,” both “Go Awff” and “Bag” are wildly disappointing cuts from Kim. “Bag” probably more so with its grating vocals, sleepy production and laughable lyrics. It is hard not to giggle just a little bit when Kim raps about how she has been absent from the industry because she was “busy getting to the money.”

Kim still delivers a few heavy, hard-hitting tracks like with the O.T. Genesis and City Girls featuring “Found You.” Relying heavily on a sample from Bubba Sparxxx’s “Ms. New Booty,” “Found You” shows what Kim can do best: make nasty, confident bops. Kim wastes so much time on “9” trying to be deep and meaningful when she truly shines brightest on bass-heavy, nasty tracks.

By far the strongest track on “9” is the icy, slick and confident “Auto Blanco.” Kim knows how to brag, talk smack and speak on why she is better than the rest. “Auto Blanco” shows that under the right lead she can still give 100%. It just has to be the right lyrical mood and production.

The album generally has good tracks, but those three unbearable tracks make it harder to enjoy the rest, especially when considering this is the same artist who made “Notorious K.I.M.” and “Hard Core.” Kim is a legend, which means she has incredibly high expectations with every

release. This album definitely would have been better if she swapped those three bad tracks with tracks in the same vein as “Auto Blanco.”

Thankfully, Kim has said that a part two to “9” is coming. One can only hope that this next part will feel a bit more intense and true to Kim. With a to-be-released pop collaboration between Kim, Missy Elliott and Paris Hilton, this second part already seems better than the first.

Kim is a talent like no other, so there is generally positive energy that accompanies the release of “9.” By far an underappreciated legend and talent like no other, the hype for “9” was severe. This hype might be the reason “9” does not initially hit as hard as her classic albums do, but in the end, it is still a good day when Lil’ Kim blesses the world with her music.