How did Lil Kim go bankrupt?

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The Queen Bee is officially bankrupt — and the reveal of the true Lil Kim net worth comes as a shock to her legions of fans. Most celebrity net worth sites had pegged Kim’s net worth in the solid eight-figure range, though, as we’ll explain, estimates like those often come from outdated information.

Still, it’s far too soon to write Lil Kim off: she’s got a new album in the works, a major tour in the rumor mill, and a reputation for overcoming adversity — including the impossible-to-kill gossip that she bleaches her skin — at her back.

What is Lil Kim’s net worth really?

As The Blast recently reported, Lil Kim has officially filed for Chapter 13 bankruptcy. According to documents filed by Kim’s attorneys, she has “assets totaling $2,573,300 and liabilities in the amount of $4,084,841.60.” The official Lil Kim net worth is thus approximately $-1,511,541.60.

The biggest part of her $4 million liabilities appear to be a significant debt to the IRS and the state of New Jersey: The Blast reported that Kim “owes $1,845,451 in back taxes alone.”

One bit of good news for Kim, though, is the same documents appear to show that, despite her seven-figure debt, she’s earning far more than she’s spending each month. Kim claims an average monthly income of $18,286, against average monthly expenses of $12,784.

The balance, approximately $5,502, was the centerpiece of a proposal by Kim’s attorneys. Per The Blast, “Lil Kim has proposed a payment plan where she will pay $5,500 to her creditors [each month] for the next 60 months.” However, the bankruptcy trustee “has already objected” to the proposal, presumably because income and expenses can fluctuate wildly.

Lil Kim’s house is the centerpiece of her debt

Though Lil Kim claims a further $2,200 per month in expenditures on her appearance (money that appears to be unrelated to Kim’s well-documented love of plastic surgery) her New Jersey mansion is the biggest single item in her $4 million debt.

Lil Kim’s former house, located at 39 Timberline Drive in Alpine NJ, is set to be auctioned off at the end of the month. Kim still owes HSBC, her mortgage lender, around $2 million on the property, which Kim bought for $2,275,000 in May of 2002. (It was last assessed at just over $3 million in value.) The 6,026 square foot home is on 2.08 acres directly across from the Palisaides Interstate Park and the Hudson River.

Here’s a pair of photos of the house: the first is from Google Maps; the second comes via the house’s official listing at (As you can tell from the second image in particular, Lil Kim’s former home is surrounded by mature trees, and getting a clear shot is difficult):

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As reported, HSBC Bank, Kim’s mortgage holder, “first started foreclosure proceedings…in 2010,” and Kim and HSBC have “been in mediation since 2015.” In 2017, a judge ruled that Kim was in default, and formal foreclosure began.

News of Lil Kim’s bankruptcy demonstrates the imprecision of celebrity net worth sites

There’s a significant gap between the Lil Kim net worth as defined by the most popular celebrity net worth sites — which tend to peg her fortune at around $18 million, give or take a couple million — and the negative number revealed by her bankruptcy filing. (Even Kim’s Wikipedia page still, as of this writing, says that her fortune is $25 million.)

However, as we’ve noted several times before, most of those same sites offer no supporting evidence to back up their net worth claims. There’s little to indicate where the figures come from, and the amount usually tends to reinforce public perception about the person in question.

It’s also worth pointing out that even Forbes’ lists of the richest people in the world, regularly held up as the gold standard of celebrity net worth, just as regularly contain inflated, bogus, or outright spurious figures.

The good news for Lil Kim is that she’s still in demand

Whatever the real root cause of the Lil Kim net worth issues, it’s not as if she’s simply sitting on her hands. The 41-year-old veteran of the rap game has been working on her fifth studio album on and off for several years; according to Kim herself, the album should be out later this year.

Plus, following the tried-and-true “All publicity is good publicity” dictum, Kim just released a new video for a track from the forthcoming set in conjunction with news of her bankruptcy. Fabulous guests on the track, which is entitled “Spicy.” Here’s the video:

The clip already has over 300,000 YouTube views in just under 36 hours. As the good people at The Blemish pointed out, if Kim “worked out a deal to get $1 per view, maybe she’d be out of debt by 2020.”

Lil Kim hasn’t done a major tour in a couple of years, though it’s believed she’ll hit the road again once her new album drops.

(Photo credits: Lil Kim net worth via Instagram)

John Sharp is a Starcasm editor. E-mail tips to or send on Twitter at @john_starcasm.

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