Kimberly Denise Jones (born July 11, 1974 or 1975), known professionally by her stage name Lil' Kim, is an American rapper, songwriter, model, and actress. She was born and raised in Brooklyn, New York, living much of her adolescent life on the streets after being expelled from home. In her teens, Jones would freestyle rap, heavily influenced by fellow female hip-hop artists like MC Lyte and The Lady of Rage. In 1994, she was discovered by fellow rapper The Notorious B. I. G. , who invited her to join his rap group Junior M. A. F. I. A. ; their debut album as a group, Conspiracy, generated two top 20 singles in the United States and was certified gold by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA).