After leaving fans waiting for fourteen years, Lil Kim returned on Friday with her fifth studio album, 9. While she has solidified her ranking among hip hop's greats and has nothing left to prove, when you take a hiatus that long, you want to come back with a bang. 9 has several highlights, but "You Are Not Alone" is that bang.
The beat on its own is dangerous. It has all the signature sounds that beckon for someone to snap on it. It morphs from throbbing bass to ominous guitar-plucking and Kim alters her delivery to stay firmly planted above all the shifting. Vocal effects play a huge role in this. The autotune and the echoing aid in elevating Kim's performance to towering proportions. A few songs on 9 co-opt contemporary trends to make club anthems and then fall a tad flat. "You Are Not Alone" feels both old-school and futuristic. It bursts with the charisma and brazenness that define Lil Kim as a force and a legend.
You are not alone, I'm always there like your shadow
Haters throwing shots, but ain't got enough ammo
I get low in these streets like a army fatigue Lambo
I camouflage well in this Valentino camo
I dismantle any competition to the coalition
What Big started, I'm 'bout to finish