Lil' Kim

Lil' Kim's Naked Truth makes a bold move: no breasts on the cover. In light of all her drama, the gimmick comes easy: lustful to lyrical; hustler to humble; Coco Chanel to Dave Chappelle. Forget ashy to classy — this Cartier bustier millionaire went from honey to money to funny. But for all of her "all night" boasts, she fails to follow through on Naked Truth; rappers have sustained conceits longer complaining about parking tickets than the Queen Bee does dealing with some serious jail time. Instead we get a stab at the Shady/Aftermath sound on "Quiet," a chance corprophiliac metaphor regarding a "Kitty Box"; Snoop singing on "Kronik"; and a series of answering-machine sketches!? Nonetheless "Spell Check" has a Timbaland-biting industrial vacuum-cleaner touch and some nifty wordplay involving — you guessed it — spelling. The Biggie-biting "All Good" is seriously bumpalicious, and her tracks with T.I. and Bun B straight kill it. So what if the 25th Hour talk lasts barely half an hour: That's just perfect for the short-attention-span lover or hater in all of us.

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Sterling Clover

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