It's not an everyday story that a young rapper climbs to fame with only one shot, especially when she's only 18-years-old. Lil Mama has shown what it takes to be a star through her very first released song "Lip Gloss". Peaking at #10 on Billboard Hot 100 Singles chart, it was an unmistakable tune that will guarantee a long term notice for its young singer. Not only was the vibe ear-catching, the video was also a head turner after peaking at #1 on MTV's TRL and #6 on BET's 106 & Park. With one charting single in her pocket, Lil Mama has more to offer while waiting for her set to be released in September 2007. She hooked up with Avril Lavigne to do the Canadian singer's "Girlfriend" remix that was made a video as a result of both artists' enthusiasm. She was also taking the favor on remixing Rihanna's smash hit "Umbrella" that stands out among many renditions by other artists. With this speed, it looks like Lil Mama won't have any trouble fetching loyal fans for the next few years.
Although in projection of teen image, Lil Mama is not to be taken lightly for she has endured much in her early life. Born on October 4, 1989 as Niatia Jessica Kirkland, she was faced with the hardship of life when her family suffered some financial difficulties. And the fact that she has eight siblings didn't make the situation any better. However, instead of competing for attention from her parents or withdrawing herself from the community, Lil Mama used the alone time to dig her hidden talent. It all started with poetry and dancing. She would wrote her poems and by the age of ten she was no longer satisfied with the still work.
While juggling with the days in Brooklyn's Edward R. Murrow High School, she started to put rhythm behind her poetry's rhyme and that was how a rap culture grew inside the young girl. The first to notice was her father who will then took her to a studio and let her experience how it felt like to record a song. If first she employed freestyle by using someone else's beat combined with her lyric, she quickly caught up with her own material that became her first ammo to enter the show business.
In 2006 she worked with former DMX manager Ali Samii to accumulate 7 songs including "Lip Gloss" together with James "Groove" Chambers. It was then that she dared to move from her suburban area of Brooklyn, New York to where Hip-Hop gets its booze, Atlanta. The first thing that she did was to attend a Hot 97 free concert whereby she met DJ Enuff. Self-promoting, Lil Mama encouraged Enuff to play her tape on the radio but the DJ bombarded her with the rules that he couldn't put on a tape from someone's unknown. Stubborn Lil Mama insisted on him to hear the record first and thus Enuff decided to give it a go, played it in his car and was instantly dumbstruck. "Oh this beat is crazy!" he said before putting it on air the next day.
It was soon a downhill journey for Lil Mama's music career. Dave Lightly, a senior A&R at Jive Records heard about her and quickly found the rope leading to the star wannabe. It was on January 10, 2007 that Lil Mama was officially signed as Jive Records' artist. Professional help from producers Swizz Beatz and Scott Storch was quickly aided for her debut album under the label. "Voice of the Young People" spans not only have-fun-go-lucky piece but also the lessons that she has learned all this while. "Everybody's talking about the same things on the radio-murder, sex and drugs," says Mama. "They have people behind them telling them it's cool and I disagree." Before she knew it, the first single from the album, 'Lip Gloss' was nominated at 2007 MTV Music Awards as 'Monster Single of the Year'. She lost the title to Rihanna's 'Umbrella' but the award had further enhance her career. Sadly in December 2007, the teen rapper lost her mother Tyra Kirkland to cancer that had been suffered for four long years.