Up Next: Lil’ Mama

18-year-old rapper finds luck with 'Lip Gloss'

Despite seemingly being the thousandth young hip-hopper with “lil’” affixed to her name, this 18-year-old rapper is quickly establishing a reputation that’s anything but diminutive.

Born Niatia Kirkland, Brooklyn-bred Lil’ Mama’s interest in the music business was sparked by her musician father, whose microlabel Familiar Faces was the first to release her debut single, “Lip Gloss,” this past January. After securing a spot on the playlist of seminal Gotham hip-hop station Hot 97, the song quickly became a regional hit, attracting the attention of Jive Records. With the support of a larger label, the single went nationwide, cracking the top 10 of Billboard’s Hot 100 and scoring Lil’ Mama a VMA nomination for “Monster Single of the Year.”

Not bad for a young star who has yet to even release a full-length album. That debut LP, “Voice of the Young People,” is scheduled to drop in late October, with help from the likes of uber-producer Swizz Beatz and the Wu Tang Clan’s resident iconoclast Ghostface Killah.

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