Bad Gyal’s ‘pussy k mana’ statement (‘pussy who rules’ in her ‘Catalanglish’ slang) has always been close to Lil Kim’s philosophy. A woman who owns not only her sexuality but the entire world, and makes it public. In her latest track, Blin Blin, featuring the boricua singer Juanka and the award-winning producer El Guincho, Alba Farelo pays tribute to Kimberly Jones in the most telling way. She sings “pikete a lo Lil’ Kim” (“dressed as Lil’ Kim”) while wearing some of Queen B’s most iconic-inspired outfits. Ana Murillas, Bad Gyal’s official stylist, gave us some clues to understanding this holistic and visual obeisance.
Last November, we all got the chance to see the great symbiosis between Lil’ Kim and her long-time friend and fashion advisor Misa Hyltonon in a conversation at ComplexCon’ stage. Building an artistic persona certainly isn’t easy. They spoke of notable contributions to Lil’ Kim’s aesthetic, including Hector Xtravanagza’s iconic coloured furs and Eugene Davis’ monochrome wigs, to name a few. Not to mention the diva’s well-known relationship with fashion idols such as Giorgio Armani, Donatella Versace, John Galiano, Tom Ford and, of course, Kimora Lee, Baby Phat’s mogul.
Kim was playful and open to all of their artistic contributions, and as a result, she was generally viewed as a pleasure to work with. During the interview, she laughed: “I look good with my clothes on and with my clothes off.” This was no joke. Her style hits a perfect balance. This isn’t so much a ‘fuck me’ invitation, but rather a ‘you may like to fuck me but you can’t’ – a mood that has undoubtedly inspired many of the starlettes of today.
Whilst this might seem like a paradox, the key to her audacious, body conscious style is the soul she gives it. Let’s call it attitude. As Ana Murillas puts it, regarding her relationship with Bad Gyal: “She stands out in every outfit, and the more she wears, the better she looks. Her charisma lifts my outfits in the same way my outfits boost her work.” Here, the word ‘more’ refers to the bling, not as one might assume, to the quantity of fabric. So how was Murillas able to match Alba’s fierce personality with Lil’ Kim’s aesthetic legacy? Something that Kimora Lee once described as a mix between “luxury fashion and streetwear sensibilities.” She refers here to Baby Phat; nonetheless, this also rings true for the badass diva that walked for the brand’s 2000s runway.
No better place to start than with the monochromatic outfits that Lil’ Kim made popular in Crush On You. Bad Gyal’s first appearance in the video Blin Blin, directed by Belledenuit, is on a total pink look inspired by Kim’s entrance at the 1999 Met Gala. It was a one-of-a-kind look straight from Versace’s runway. The snaky boots were a bit bigger than the singer’s feet, but Donatella insisted that she wore them, and Kim did so quite confidently.
Bad Gyal’s outfit here is also one-of-a-kind, featuring a restyled Miranda dress from Poster Girl’s Spring/Summer 2021 capsule – a new and glossy brand – alongside a matching, customized coat with Blin Blin Swarovski lettering, similar to the bling-bling sandals she refers to in the lyrics. She also holds a discontinued D&G handbag in the ‘00s palette: apple green, orange, and of course, fuchsia renamed as ‘Killa Pink’ after the widespread meme of Cam’ron at Baby Phat’s front row in 2003.
Switching from the erotic power of a ‘00s boss-bitch (Murillas hints that Jackie Brown was also a huge influence), Bad Gyal switches into Lil’ Kim’s Player’s Anthem, whose lyrics repeat the motif “Moschino on my bitches.” In the video, she brandishes a Moschino-inspired look to boot. These heavy golden chains, along with their characteristic lettering, serve as a status symbol, inspired by ‘80s Afro-ghetto maximalism – a theme highlighted by Jeremy Scott’s label, which has maintained a strong connection to hip-hop culture, bringing his last Pre-Fall 2020 collection to New York’s subway, and considerably increasing the size of these classic pieces.
Lil’ Kim was known for pushing the logomania trend to its sexiest extremes, always with a touch of humour (let’s not forget her photoshoot with David LaChapelle). The heritage of Carlyne Cerf de Dudzeele is also referenced in the sheer bulk of the jewellery, not to mention the next look: Alba in Baby Phat’s denim coat to boot with leopard appliqués. Dudzeele pioneered the full animal print outfits in Alaïa’s Fall/Winter 1991 campaign, and Lil’ Kim proudly shows off her wild side in the promotional posters for Hard Core (1996), one of her iconic tiny bikinis peeking out from beneath a thick fur coat.
The last outfit may be a bit controversial. If the West and the East Coast had a legendary rivalry within Death Row vs Bad Boy Records, in a small-scale, the same happens between Spanish cities Barcelona and Madrid. It was Bad Gyal’s idea to honour her origins by wearing an I Love BCN handmade t-shirt, inspired by the I Love NY mini-dress that Lil’ Kim showed off while promoting her Notorious K.l.M. (2000) album at MTV’s TRL studio. Being these references a kindly familiar reminder of the permanence feeling to their areas. No matter how big they are, bringing back the origins is what makes them authentic, and that’s why in hip-hop’s culture street-cred is crucial.
Going back to Kim and Hyltonon’s, they made their dreams come true by working well together. The same could be said of the exchange that takes place between Bad Gyal and Ana Murillas. Lil Kim’s power dressing has been referenced before by Beyoncé, Rihanna, Karrueche Tran and the Kardashian and Jenner sisters. The original Queen B’s aesthetic sensibilities come back across time, constantly reinvesting in new artistic discourses. For the same reason, the Blin Blin video opens a teenage girl dressed as Bad Gyal with a promo t-shirt of her previous single, Bom Bom. New generations are coming through to pay a beautiful tribute to our timeless divas. We’ll see what comes next.