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  • Writer's pictureAmeen H.

Lil’Kim Album “9” Listening Party

By Ameen H.

I rode from Cobb County, GA to midtown to pick up my friend at his 8th street tower apartment. 27 minutes to his residence, the pick up was quick with no time wasted. We headed to the location on Crescent. I don't know why I thought of another location on Cypress, I can see the building in my mind. Nonetheless, my friend corrected me and 1100 Crescent Ave NE, Traffik Kitchen and Cocktails was in sight, but wait, there's a line, wrapped around the building from Crescent Ave. to the side street/12th street. We rode past the venue looking for parking. We decided to park in a secure garage at the brand new Moxy Atlanta Midtown Hotel. We took the elevator from the parking garage to the street level. The hotel was chic modern with full game room and bar instead of a traditional hotel lobby, but I digress. We exited the building to a cool and breezy night in Midtown Atlanta. Below 70 degrees feeling great.

Walking from the Moxy we were contemplating what would be our angle of approach to Traffik. Should we approach from 13th street to Crescent passing the front door of Traffik, properly scoping the front door, security and handlers? Or should we take Peachtree Walk NE to 12th street bringing up the rear of the line being very discreet? We decided on the latter. Walking through slight inclines and feeling that nice chilly breeze we were happy the cool weather in Atlanta had finally arrived.

Alas we arrived at the rear of the line. We quickly made a friend in line with a fellow Lil'Kim fan. We examined the other fans (BeeHive) and their attire. I must say we are a very calm, snappy when necessary, and good looking bunch of fans. We talked about how excited we were to be there and speculated what time they would start moving the line to let folks in. Tonight was Lil'Kim's big night back in Smyrna at the Cobb Energy Center where the BET Hip Hop Awards was being filmed. Lil'Kim was the highlight of the evening as the "I Am Hip Hop" Icon Award recipient. Huge accomplishment at this point in her career. Over 21 years in the game and still producing music as a female rap artist is very commendable. Her career is longer than Missy "Misdemeanor" Elliot's. After about 10 minutes in line I had my friend do a walk around to view the front of the line and see what was what. He came back reporting that there were two lines. The one that we were in and another for Press. With that information, maybe we did needed to approach passing the front of Traffik, as we were in fact Press as we registered our passes with our affiliating organizations. J2i Tech blog for me and CNA entertainment for my friend. So we switched lines.

Once the doors opened, Press was being let in first and we had a smooth transition through security entering the building. I'm familiar with this location as I've had many Friday night outings here as it was formerly Truth lounge. Now, Traffik Kitchen and Cocktails, the set up was the same with the bar on the right, and many VIP areas on the left. The space was lit up with Lil'Kim album promotional material everywhere. Ice Sculptures of the album title (9) with her name, life size posters of her album cover for fans to take pictures with. The entire bar has digital signage in the background of the liquor bottles. That digital signage was running a continuous loop of Lil’Kim albums, award show looks, fashion campaigns, etc throughout her career. You had to be there to feel the moment. Time passed by and the anticipation of Lil’Kim’s entrance was high.

The Clock struck 12:27am, on October 6, and Lil’Kim has arrived to her iconic song Queen *****, off her Debut album Hardcore……. “if peter piper pecked em, I bet you biggie bust em, he probably tried to F&^% em, I told him not to trust em….” the song plays to Kim being escorted to VIP walking up the steps to an area that is 3 VIP’s wide. She’s dressed in her acceptance speech outfit from the Hip Hop Awards show, fish-nets, with knee high boots, a custom diamond encrusted leotard and her hair is pink with finger waves and a ponytail. She instantly steps onto one of the couches in her heels and starts to dance between two couches as the crowd cheers her on. She is joined by the likes of Lil’Cease from Junior Mafia, Tiffany Foxx, Pretty Vee (Girls Cruise cast mate), OT Genasis (featured on the album 9) later in the night, and many other knowns and unknowns in the music industry.

The DJ is playing old school hits as well as current music…..however we’re thirsting for a new track from album. See Track listing below.

1. Pray for me(feat. Rick Ross & Music Soulchild)

2. Bag

3. Catch My Wave (feat. Rick The Kid)

4. Go Awff

5. Too Bad

6. You Are Not Alone

7. Found You(feat. O.T. Genasis & City Girls)

8. Auto Blanco

9. Jet Fuel

Finally, the DJ Plays a known track from the new album. We are familiar with the song because Kim’s Pre-Orders on iTunes and other platforms started October 4th. The song is “Pray for me” feat. Rick Ross and Music Soulchild. It’s a great opener for the album where Kim sings along with Music Soulchild. Kim describes this track as two songs in one as the beat changes when Rick Ross enters with his hard Mayback Music esq lyrics. Kim starts off the track with smooth slow rapping stressing the “pray for me” theme, before Rick Ross’s delivery on the new beat, Kim returns with a second part in the song rapping moreso and stressing her greatness and the haters who are needing to repent.

The DJ is playing regular music hyping the crowd as the night goes on until he announces he has another track from the album 9. He doesn’t say what song it is, but close listening reveals its 9’s second track “Bag”. At 1:04 AM, the beat sounds like a variation of piano keys, under water, under heavy synthesis as Kim rap/sings “People looking at me different, people looking at me funny……”. The crowd listens intensely as the pre-order didn’t allow for that track to be downloaded as it did with “Pray for me”. Before long the crowd recognizes and mouths along the hook “give me that bag, give me that bag!” when the hook reprises. Sounds like an instant hit and my friend is looking like what he would later reveal that this is his favorite track of the album. After 3 minutes 5 seconds of the track, the DJ transitions into a classic P Diddy and the family track “All About the Benjamins”, saying “Since we talking about that bag”.

The next track off the album comes at 1:16am, and it’s the 5th cut off the album, “Too Bad”. This is a chill track as the beat comes in soft then heavy drums, as Kim starts off “I’ma really, really run through it, run through it….”, the crowd listens again. Kim is telling a story on this track but hearing it the first time I can’t pick up the story, it is captivating, nonetheless. Halfway through the track the DJ announces that OT Genasis has entered the building. The track continues to the end and the DJ transitions into Junior Mafias “Get Money”.

The next track the DJ Plays from “9” is “You are not alone”. At 1:30am, this track was hard to figure until Kim reminds you in the song “you are not alone” many times. She’s telling another story. If you are a hater leave her alone she pleads “Please leave my life alone, Please leave my life alone” singing with long runs and vibratos. If you haven’t realized already this is not Kim from 1996, this is 2019 New Kim and it’s a joy to hear her growth. The track plays for 2 minutes 13 seconds and transitions into Meg The Stallions “Cash ****”.

The night went on and my feet hit their limit in my brown dress shoes. The clock struck 2:01 am and I escorted my new friend and fellow Kim fan out of the venue to the street where we parted ways for our cars. I thoroughly enjoyed the night and have a confidence in this album I’ve never felt since I was in college during the late 90’s.

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