After perjury, Lil' Kim is singing praises of `Naked Truth'

Rapper diva taking prison cues from Martha Stewart

Pop Music

September 18, 2005|By Jim Farber | Jim Farber,KNIGHT RIDDER/TRIBUNE

NEW YORK - When Lil' Kim contemplates the yearlong prison stretch she's staring down - it will commence tomorrow - she doesn't admit to worrying about the danger of other inmates. Or the depression over confinement. Or the revulsion over the prospect of some really bad meals.

Instead, she complains, "It's so frustrating that I won't be able to promote my album."

She's certainly making up for lost time now. During a 40-minute interview, the rapper mentions the release date of her CD no less than five times (it's Sept. 27, for the record). She pushes a forthcoming DVD (in which she'll talk about her trial) three times and, for a final flourish, yells the title of her album (The Naked Truth) four times directly into the tape recorder.

She willingly answers most nonlegal questions, but with great deliberation - no surprise given the fact that the Lil' one is going to the Big House precisely for the words she offered to a grand jury.

On July 6, 30-year-old Kimberly Jones was sentenced to a 366-day stretch in prison for perjury - something she admitted to doing just before her sentencing. Kim was found guilty for testimony she gave regarding a 2001 shootout between her posse and that of rival female emcee Foxy Brown in front of the New York studio of radio station Hot 97.

The pixieish rapper testified that she had not seen her manager, Damion Butler, at the scene and that she didn't recognize a longtime associate, Suif Jackson, who was allegedly there as well. The judge found her statements to be "shockingly untrue" and "an insult to the system." He asserted that Kim was using her loyalty to old friends as an excuse to "to protect violent men with guns."

The rapper won't speak about the judge's comments, but says of her sentence, "I definitely don't feel that I deserved what I got."

She likens herself to Martha Stewart, whom she considers something of a role model. "Her courage and strength is definitely encouraging," she says.

The rapper adds, with a glow, that Stewart "came out [of jail] looking better than when she went in."

Kim herself is taking pains to look good. She dragged no fewer than a dozen pairs of shoes to her hotel room for the interview, along with scads of jewelry and a half-dozen dresses. "I'm a fashion icon," she notes.

Filming reality series

Kim needs to look spiffy for the camera crew that has been shadowing her almost everywhere she goes these days. Like seemingly half the American population, Kim is being filmed for a forthcoming reality show about her life. There is a production company behind the project, which she won't name, but it has yet to seal a deal with an outlet to air the show.

Though the New York Daily News reported in July that Kim was working on this reality series during her trial, the emcee vigorously denies it. "That was just some evil person trying to make it bad for me when it came time for my sentencing," she says.

But, Kim adds: "They gave us a great idea. Thank you."

Kim asserts that the show she was then filming was a reality makeover series for VH1, which the network says is tentatively slated to air later this year.

The reality-series item, says the rapper, is but one of many misconceptions about her. Chief among them is that she's a diva. "I'm definitely not," she announces, before explaining away the most recent "diva-licious" gossip about her.

According to press reports, Kim got into a tussle with a flight attendant after she gave the rapper a seat she didn't like. "Do you know who I am?" she allegedly said to the attendant.

Kim asserts that she in fact gave up her seat so an older couple could sit together, and was later told by the attendant to "sit in the back of the plane."

"I did not wish to sit in the back," she says. The attendant "started yelling at me for no reason. Just really, really rude. It was prejudiced. And I didn't like it."

`I'm fabulous!'

The rapper's new single, "Shut Up," deals with such rumors and accusations, but in a witty - and funky - way. Kim claims all the snide whispers don't "bother me to the point where it makes me upset. I laugh it off - because I'm fabulous!"

Kim isn't laughing so hard at other points on the album, however, especially the ones where she snipes at people she feels betrayed her during the trial. There are multiple allusions to cowards, snitches and turncoats.

Kim says "it's obvious" to whom she's referring in these raps, yet she won't utter their names. "Get them out of here," says the rapper, with a wave of her hand.

But Kim's experiences with such folks have taught her a valuable lesson: "Not to trust people so much," she says.

Despite all her problems and controversies, Kim says she doesn't want "people to get too lost in what I went through. Let's talk about where I'm going. This album is going to do exceptionally well, which only means a brighter future for me."

"Lil' Kim," she announces, "is going to be OK."

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