NEW YORK Rapper Lil' Kim kicked off the arrival of her latest album, Notorious K.I.M., by meeting fans and signing autographs Wednesday afternoon at an HMV record store in Harlem.
Sporting a long, curly blond wig, and dressed in a tan suede bikini top and matching shorts, the 24-year-old rapper (born Kimberly Denise Jones) sat behind a table in a small room and greeted 250 fans some of whom had been waiting for more than five hours who had bought advance copies of the album.
Among Lil' Kim's entourage milling about the store were Junior M.A.F.I.A. members Lil' Cease, who appears on the album, and Mr. Bristal, a new artist on Lil' Kim's Queen Bee label.
Outside the store, a crowd of about 200 gathered. They cheered when the singer arrived in a black stretch limousine and peered into the car's windows. Sixteen police officers stood among the crowd, directing onlookers back from the barricades around the sidewalk.
HMV supervisor William Rivera said Lil Kim's in-store appearance drew the largest crowd of any visiting musician, and he estimated the store had sold 500 Notorious K.I.M. CDs that day. Past artists who've visited the HMV include R&B singer Mya and rapper Rah Digga.
Kimberly Martin, 18, of Harlem said she'd come to meet Lil' Kim because she liked the rapper's attitude of "telling it like it is."
"She's a real woman," Martin said. "She isn't afraid to talk about things like blow jobs and stuff that other women think about but won't say. She speaks her mind."
Phyllis Rodgers, also of Harlem, said she liked the singer's new sound on Notorious K.I.M. "She's grown up a lot since her first album," Rodgers said. "You can hear it in her voice."
The title Notorious K.I.M. alludes to the rapper's one-time boyfriend, the Notorious B.I.G. The album, which also pays tribute to the slain rapper, includes appearances by singer/rapper Mary J. Blige, Goodie MOb's Cee-Lo, R&B singer Sisqó and rapper Puff Daddy. A tour is planned but the dates haven't been finalized, according to Atlantic representatives.