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Lighters Up: The Lil' Kim Experience 

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Here's one important thing you need to know about hip-hop queen Lil' Kim: she loves Vermont. Like, a lot. She told us so about 350 times at Wednesday night's show at Higher Ground.

But she doesn't love us in the same way that your grandma loves you. She doesn't want to bake you cookies or tousle your hair. No, she loves us in that freak-nasty, look-where-I-can-put-my-leg kind of way. Basically, she wants to fuck our brains out. Which kind of makes up for the fact that her show, all 60 minutes of it, was really a lackluster parade of old beats and late '90s hip-hop standards.

I hate saying that about Lil' Kim. I mean, she's the Queen Bee, the Original Bitch, the Black Barbie. And she's a felon. She's done hard time. But maybe she lost a little something during her year spent in the Philadelphia Federal Detention Center. For a woman who plied her trade in extreme raunch (read the lyrics to "Suck My Dick"), her vanilla show left a little to be desired.

Of all the shows I have ever attended at Higher Ground, this is the first where I have been greeted at the door by a pat-down. I kind of liked it. It made me feel like the show I was about to see had some element of danger. Like there was going to be some sort of Hot 97-esque shootout. You know, with all our rival hip-hop crews here in Vermont.

After my thrilling frisking, I entered the main room to find a packed house. The show, to my surprise, was sold out. Who knew the 35-year-old Lil' Kim was such a draw here in Whitetown? Apparently all the women there wearing sequined mini-dresses the size of a stick of gum. Immediately I felt like I was wearing too much clothing. 

It only took the Queen Bee about an hour to come out of her hive. But only after about a half an hour of cajoling by her co-MC, who must have hollered, "Make some muthafuckin' noise" like 90 times.

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Someone forgot her shirt again.

So once we were making sufficient noise, the Black Barbie emerged. But she was hidden behind a shroud held up by her two veiled Jersey dancers. When the shroud was removed, Lil' Kim was also wearing a veil. I thought it might be covering her most recent plastic surgery, like she was channeling Michael Jackson or something.

But it turned out, after she removed the veil, it was actually Latoya Jackson Kim was channeling. Her cheeks were as big as peaches and her nose looked like it belonged on a pert little Cabbage Patch Doll. "Work" does not begin to describe what she's had done. It was more like a total reconstruction.

Lil' Kim's outfit was tamer than I would have expected/liked. A friend told me he saw her a couple years ago perform in only a pair of lacy undies and some suspenders. For Vermont, she threw on a few more layers and came out wearing a rhinestone-encrusted bustier, some painted-on jeans and some spike heel boots, making her about 5'3" instead of 4'11". I was sort of bummed because we were wearing the same top. 

Here are some show highlights:

Lil' Kim checking herself out in a mirror held by her "dancers."

Lil' Kim's RV-sized besuited bodyguard.

Lil' Kim getting crowned with a tiara.

Lil' Kim's weave.

Lil' Kim wearing a purple bob wig for a hot second.

Lil' Kim taking a break after 20 minutes of performing (literally, she said "I'll be right back.")

Lil' Kim's back-up dancer chewing gum.

Lil' Kim telling the audience how beautiful we were (lies).

Lil' Kim's "costume changes" (donning a fedora and blazer, then putting on a Yankees cap).

Lil' Kim taking hostages.

Lil' Kim ripping off Alicia Keys (OK, that's not a highlight).

Lil' Kim's bilingual rapping ("I'm the hottest bitch on the planet/ Lemme give it to you in Spanish/ Soy el más caliente perra en el planeta").

At the end of the show, the Queen said she wanted to dance with the crowd so she could go home saying she partied with "her people in Vermont." This was my chance to be best friends with Black Barbie. I knew if only I could meet her, I'd become a member of her Barbie entourage. She already had Jersey Barbie in duplicate in the form of her back-up dancers. She just needed Translucent Barbie to make her collection legit.

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Insert something here.

I pushed my way to the front and waved my arms like a nut to get her or MC Anonymous to notice me. Of course, I wasn't wearing an Ed Hardy T-shirt dress, big sunglasses or a bangin' Pink Lady-style satin jacket, so my chances of being seen were slim. Still, I hoped. She picked girl after girl, but I wasn't among them.

Damn you, Lil' Kim. Don't you know who I am? I am the third place finisher of the 2009 Celebrity Giant Pumpkin Regatta. I won second place in the New York Newspaper Publishers Association 2004 annual awards (circ. 25,000 or below). In fifth grade, I won a free-throw shooting contest at my school. I am an important person.

I'm sort of glad I wasn't picked, because then I would have had to watch the devolution of the show up close. I prefer to watch embarrassing junk shows from afar. For about 10 minutes during the epic "finale," Lil' Kim and her posse implored the crowd to "Put your lighters up." We all complied (well, I just had a book of matches that I lit one by one) and waited for the knockout punch.

But there was no KO. The show just sort of fizzled out. There was no encore, no introducing the DJ and the MC and no dirtiness. She grinded with her hostages and arched her back a couple of times, but we're talking about a woman who once sang, "I ain't out shoppin' spendin' dudes' C-notes/ I'm in tha crib givin' niggaz deep throat." And that's probably the tamest lyric she's ever written. I expected displays of public sex or at the very least some disrobing.

Unceremoniously, she sallied off the stage, the lights came up, and the crowd left. Outside, we were greeted by a virtual platoon of cops, all standing around with their hands on their sidearms, ready to step in and save the day in the event of a Biggie Smalls-style drive-by. The two barking K-9 units seemed like a bit much.  But they made for a lively and somewhat dangerous end to the evening.

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About The Author

Lauren Ober

Lauren Ober

Lauren Ober was a Seven Days staff writer from 2009-2011.


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