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Lil Mama

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Lil Mama

Lil Mama
Lil' Mama at the Black Girls Rock! New York City tour 2011
Background information
Birth name Niatia Jessica Kirkland
Born (1989-10-04) October 4, 1989
Harlem, New York City, New York, U.S.
Origin Brooklyn, New York City, New York, U.S.
Genres Hip hop
Occupation(s) Rapper, singer, songwriter, dancer, actress, entrepreneur, spokesperson
Years active 2004 - 2015
Labels Jive, RCA
Associated acts Chris Brown, Avril Lavigne

Niatia Jessica Kirkland (born October 4, 1989), better known by her stage name Lil Mama, is an American hip hop recording artist from Brooklyn, New York City, New York. A rapper, singer, songwriter, entrepreneur, spokesperson, dancer and actress, Lil Mama was also a talent show judge for seven seasons on America's Best Dance Crew. She experienced Billboard placement with the release of her debut album, VYP (Voice of the Young People), which spawned the hit single "Lip Gloss". She was also cast for the role of Lisa "Left Eye" Lopes, in the VH1 biographical film CrazySexyCool: The TLC Story, which aired in October 2013.

Life and career

1989-2005: Early life

Lil Mama was born Niatia Jessica Kirkland in Harlem, in 1989. She was raised in Brooklyn, New York where she attended Edward R. Murrow High School. Kirkland is the third child and eldest daughter of eight kids. Being the eldest daughter of eight, she acquired her nickname "lil mama".[1] Kirkland faced personal and financial struggles at an early age. As one of eight brothers and sisters, she started to express herself artistically through poetry and dance. Her mother Tara, died on December 15, 2007 following a four-year battle with colon cancer.

2006-08: Career beginnings and VYP (Voice of the Young People)

In 2006, Kirkland signed a recording contract with Jive Records. In 2007, she was featured in Dr. Luke's remix of Avril Lavigne's song, "Girlfriend".[2] Her first studio album VYP (Voice of the Young People) was released in late April 2008. The album spawned four singles: "Lip Gloss", "G-Slide (Tour Bus)", "Shawty Get Loose" and "What It Is (Strike a Pose)". The album sold 19,000 copies in the first week, debuting at number 25 on the Billboard 200. Lil Mama served as a judge on the competitive dance contest television series America's Best Dance Crew. She joined the judges's circle in 2008 at the age of nineteen.


Since the release of her first album, Lil Mama has been in the studio working on new music. She released the singles "Dough Boy" featuring Mishon, "On & On & On", and "NYNYLALA" featuring Snoop Dogg. She has since released two singles entitled "Scrawberry" and "Hustler Girl" featuring Clyde McKnight. In 2009 she announced the title of her proposed new album as Voice Of The Young People: I Am That, although this has not been released.[3]

On October 7, 2012 RCA Music Group announced it was disbanding J Records along with Arista Records and Jive Records. With the shutdown, Lil Mama (and all other artists previously signed to these three labels) will release her future material on the RCA Records brand.[4][5] Voice Of The Young People: I Am That will have guest appearances including Soulja Boy, Khalil, Angel Haze, LoLa Monroe, Teyana Taylor, Trina, Keke Palmer, Nas, Chris Brown among others.

At the 2009 MTV Video Music Awards, Lil Mama came onstage while Jay-Z and Alicia Keys performed "Empire State of Mind". While Jay-Z was ending his final verse, Lil Mama left her seat in the audience, got onto the stage, and started bobbing her head to the beat. Jay-Z was surprised but continued to perform. Right before this moment, Beyonce had even tried to hold her from going up. Jay-Z patted Lil Mama on the leg to fall back, jokingly telling her, "you T-Paining now," a reference to a similar incident two months earlier when T-Pain jumped onstage with Jay-Z at Summer Jam during his performance of "D.O.A.". At the end of the performance, Lil Mama came to foreground and posed alongside Jay-Z and Keys. She later clarified that she "would never ... try to disrespect Jay-Z or take a moment that someone has created it and try to relive it. I’m too original for that and I respect him too much for that."[6]

In October 2009, she also appeared in cycle 13 of America's Next Top Model. with Benny Ninja.

2013-present: VH1's TLC: CrazySexyCool & Sausage video

In October 2013, Lil Mama starred as Lisa "Left Eye" Lopes in the VH1 TLC biographical film CrazySexyCool: The TLC Story, which aired on October 21, 2013, alongside Keke Palmer and Drew Sidora, who played Rozonda "Chilli" Thomas and Tionne "T-Boz" Watkins, respectively.[7][8]

In November 2014, Lil Mama was featured in MC Lyte's first music video in years, "Ball." The music video also featured artist AV and was released on November 13th 2014. Lil Mama appeared in the video, providing rap verses, along with some of her signature dance moves.[9]

In May 2015, Lil Mama dropped the video to her latest song, Sausage.[10] The video incorporates many themes, including the Sausage movement on Vine,[11] Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, voguing, Mary J. Blige, Caribbean love, and community fun. It immediately went viral, with more than 3 million views in its first week, topping the Billboard Music + Twitter charts.[12] It held itself steady in the Top 20 well into June, with numerous dance studio and dance jams featuring choreography and routines on social media danced to the Sausage track.[13][14][15]

The track was not made available for sale, being absent from both iTunes and Assumed to be due to all the inspirations referenced and sampled (the track listed on the YouTube video is actually "Mona Lisa" by Slick Rick[16]) the track was only available on the Lil Mama SoundCloud account only.[17] The video also opted out of advertising revenue on YouTube, with no ads appearing before the music video.[18]

In June 2015, Lil Mama was listed as a featured speaker at an event sponsored by BET and the Hip Hop Sisters Network. Titled "Women, Wealth and Relationships," the event also featured guest speakers MC Lyte, Shanice and Elise Neal, as well as main speaker and financial advisor specialist Lynn Richardson.[19] The event, held on June 27th 2015, focuses on empowering black women both in their lives and financially, providing answers on such tough issues as men, money and family relationships.


Studio albums


Year Song Peak chart positions[20] Album
2007 "Lip Gloss" 10 36[21] 121 [22] VYP (Voice of the Young People)
"G-Slide (Tour Bus)" 124 8
2008 "Shawty Get Loose"
(featuring Chris Brown and T-Pain)
10 43 41 38 3 57
"What It Is (Strike a Pose)"
(featuring T-Pain)
2010 "Doughboy"[23]
(featuring Mishon)
Non-album singles
"Hustler Girl"[24]
(featuring Shawn Marvel, Mitch and A Dot)
2015 "Sausage"[25]

As featured artist

List of singles, with selected chart positions, showing year released and album name
Title Year Peak chart positions Certifications Album
"Girlfriend (Dr. Luke Remix)"[2]
(Avril Lavigne featuring Lil Mama)
2007 The Best Damn Thing
(Yahaira featuring Lil Mama)
2010 Non-album singles
(Prince Malik featuring Jim Jones and Lil Mama)
"—" denotes a title that did not chart, or was not released in that territory.

Guest appearances

List of non-single guest appearances, with other performing artists, showing year released and album name
Title Year Other performer(s) Album
"Amazed" 2008 Vanessa Hudgens Identified
"Block Party" 2009 Lisa Lopes, Clyde McKnight Eye Legacy
"Video Chat" 2010 College Boyys Spring Break
"Big Boy Rims"
"Ball" 2014 MC Lyte Non-album release


Year Title Role Notes
2013 CrazySexyCool: The TLC Story Lisa "Left-Eye" Lopes VH1 Biopic

Awards and nominations

BET Awards

Year Recipient/Nominated work Award Result
2008 Herself Best Female Hip-Hop Artist Nominated
2009 Nominated

MTV Video Music Awards

Year Recipient/Nominated work Award Result
2007 "Lip Gloss" Monster Single of the Year Nominated

MTV Asia Awards

Year Recipient/Nominated work Award Result
2008 "Girlfriend" Best Hook Up [28] Nominated

Teen Choice Awards

Year Recipient/Nominated work Award Result
2007 Herself Choice Rap Artist Nominated
"Lip Gloss" Choice Summer Song Won
2008 "Shawty Get Loose" Choice Music Hook Up Nominated
Choice Rap/Hip-Hop Track Won
Herself Choice TV Personality: Randy Jackson's America's Best Dance Crew Nominated

Vibe Awards

Year Recipient/Nominated work Award Result
2007 "Lip Gloss" Ringtone of the Year [29] Nominated


  1. ^ Dr.Oz Interviews Lil Mama
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  7. ^ "CrazySexyCool: The TLC Story Cast Member Page - Niati 'Lil Mama' Kirkland", VH1, October 1, 2013. Retrieved October 22, 2013.
  8. ^ "TLC MOVIE (BAND, NOT CHANNEL) CASTS LIL MAMA, KEKE PALMER, AND A THIRD HUMAN",, February 9, 2013. Retrieved March 31, 2013.
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External links

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