Lil Mama in 2008
|Niatia Jessica Kirkland|
October 4, 1989|
Harlem, New York City, New York, U.S.
|Origin||Brooklyn, New York City, New York, U.S.|
|Rapper, singer, songwriter, dancer, actress|
|Chris Brown, T-Pain, Mishon Ratliff, Avril Lavigne, TLC (band)|
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, 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. Lil Mama has sold over 1 million records worldwide.
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 children. Being the eldest daughter of eight children, she acquired her nickname "lil mama". Kirkland faced personal and financial struggles at an early age. As one of eight children, she started to express herself artistically through poetry and dance. Her mother Tara, died on December 15, 2007 following a four-year battle with breast cancer.
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". 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 team 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.
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." In October 2009, she appeared in cycle 13 of America's Next Top Model with Benny Ninja.
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.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.
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.
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 13, 2014. Lil Mama appeared in the video, providing rap verses, along with some of her signature dance moves.
In May 2015, Lil Mama released the video for her song, "Sausage". The video incorporates many themes, including the Sausage movement on Vine, 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. 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.
The track was not made available for sale, being absent from both iTunes and Amazon.com. 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) the track was only available on the Lil Mama SoundCloud account only. The video also opted out of advertising revenue on YouTube, with no ads appearing before the music video.
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. The event, held on June 27, 2015, focuses on empowering black women both in their lives and financially, providing answers on such tough issues as men, money and family relationships. On March 10, 2016, Lil Mama was arrested while driving 38 mph in a 25 mph speed zone. The incident took place in Harlem around 4 AM. Officers conducted an investigation and Lil Mama's driver's license was revoked.
On August 28, 2017, Mama starred in the television movie When Love Kills: The Falicia Blakely Story, based on a true story. It premiered to 1.6 million viewers, ranking as TV One's #1 original movie premiere of all time among all key demos.
|Title||Album details||Peak chart positions||Sales|
|VYP (Voice of the Young People)||25||5||3|
|Take Me Back|
|Year||Song||Peak chart positions||Certifications||Album|
||VYP (Voice of the Young People)|
|"G-Slide (Tour Bus)"||--||--||--||--||--||--||8||--|
|2008||"Shawty Get Loose"
(featuring Chris Brown and T-Pain)
|"What It Is (Strike a Pose)"
(featuring Shawn Marvel, Mitch and A Dot)
|2015||"Sausage"||--||--||--||--||--||--||--||--||Take Me Back|
|"Girlfriend (Dr. Luke Remix)"
(Avril Lavigne featuring Lil Mama)
|2007||The Best Damn Thing|
(Yahaira featuring Lil Mama)
(Prince Malik featuring Jim Jones and Lil Mama)
|"Block Party"||2009||Lisa Lopes, Clyde McKnight||Eye Legacy|
|"Video Chat"||2010||College Boyys||Spring Break|
|"Big Boy Rims"|
|2013||CrazySexyCool: The TLC Story||Lisa "Left-Eye" Lopes||VH1 Biopic|
|2017||When Love Kills: The Falicia Blakely Story||Falicia Blakely||TV One Biopic|
|2019||Born in The Game||Keema||Post-Production|
|2008-12||America's Best Dance Crew||Herself||Judge|
|2018-present||Growing Up Hip Hop: Atlanta||Herself||Main cast|
|2008||Herself||Best Female Hip-Hop Artist||Nominated|
|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|