Why aren’t there any other women on this album? The question came up during Wondering Sound’s recent Record Club discussion of Lil’ Kim‘s 1996 debut LP, Hard Core (be sure to read our features editor Claire Lobenfeld’s brave essay, Lil’ Kim’s Body Politics are More Than Just Explicit Content). Kim may be alone from her gender on Hard Core, but Jermaine Dupri-produced “Not Tonight,” one of the album’s sexually frank standouts, spawned a Kool and the Gang-sampling remix with a bevy of female guests.
Kim, Missy Elliott and Da Brat reunited to perform “Not Tonight (Remix)” on last night’s Soul Train Awards. The remix, originally from the Nothing to Lose soundtrack, samples Kool and the Gang‘s 1979 “Ladies Night.” The occasion for the latest performance of the track, the first since the 1997 MTV Video Music Awards, was nominally a tribute to that enduring New Jersey disco-funk group, but the joyful rendition quickly transcended its unfortunate, retrograde “femcee” billing.
Angie Martinez, who was on the studio version, didn’t perform, and the late Lisa “Left Eye” Lopes of TLC appeared only via video, but Kim refused to bow fully to nostalgia: Only a few months after rapping her own version of Bobby Shmurda‘s “Hot N***a,” she graced the “Not Tonight (Remix)” with her take on the accompanying “Shmoney Dance.” The Brooklyn MC didn’t join them; the male taking part in the proceedings was neo-soul singer Eric Benét. Watch it all below.