How Did Lil’ Kim Lose All Her Money?

Lil’ Kim is a hip-hop icon with over two decades of experience in entertainment. The original Queen Bee opened doors for other female rappers to follow in her footsteps, and redefined just how sexy women in the music industry could be. Over the years, she accumulated a sizable personal fortune, but only a fraction of it exists today.

Lil Kim performs onstage at the BET Hip Hop Awards 2019
Lil’ Kim | Carmen Mandato/Getty Images

Lil’ Kim has had a successful career

Lil’ Kim first burst on to the scene in the mid-1990s as a part of The Notorious B.I.G.’s group, Junior M.A.F.I.A. She met Biggie while rapping on the streets of Brooklyn, and he knew she was destined to be a star.

Kim released her debut album Hard Core in 1996, and the hip-hop world was immediately put on notice. To date, the album has sold over five million copies. She continued her success at the turn of the millennium with her 2000 album The Notorious K.I.M.; the following year, she notched her first number-one hit on the Billboard Hot 100 chart with “Lady Marmalade” with P!nk, Mýa, and Christina Aguilera.

Kim released her La Bella Mafia and The Naked Truth albums in the early 2000s before reporting to prison for a yearlong sentence. She released mixtapes throughout the 2010s, and released her long-awaited fifth album 9 in 2019.

Lil' Kim attends the BET Awards 2021
Lil’ Kim | Rich Fury/Getty Images

Lil’ Kim’s net worth was much higher years ago

Kim has been a part of several lucrative brand deals throughout her career. Her MAC Viva Glam campaign, the first to feature a female rapper, raised $4 million for the company in one year and became the most successful Viva Glam campaign to date. Over the years, she’s been a spokesperson for Old Navy, Apple computers, Cîroc Vodka, and much more, and even launched her own designer watch collection called Royalty by Lil’ Kim.

Kim had become one of the most bankable stars in hip-hop by the turn of the 2010s. According to WealthyGenius, her net worth a decade ago reportedly exceeded $15 million as a result of record sales, brand deals, and more. As Nicki Minaj burst on to the scene and occupied a spot Kim once did, she “Crush On You” rapper spent less time in the spotlight and focusing more on herself. She gave birth to her daughter, Royal Reign, in 2014.

By 2018, however, Kim hit a major personal financial roadblock, and her money evaporated almost entirely overnight.

Lil' Kim attends the BET Awards 2021 at Microsoft Theater on June 27, 2021
Lil’ Kim | Paras Griffin/Getty Images for BET

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Lil’ Kim’s net worth in 2021 is a fraction of what it used to be

In June 2018, Kim filed for bankruptcy out of necessity. It turned out she owed $667,000 in late mortgage payments, causing her to lose her $3 million dollar mansion in New Jersey to foreclosure. She also owed over $1.5 million in federal income taxes. In total, she was $4 million in debt.

Kim’s net worth is approximately $500,000 in 2021, according to WealthyGenius. She continues to provide for her family today, which includes her daughter and her daughter’s father, rapper Mr. Papers.

Kim’s long-awaited memoir is due for release in November 2021.