Lil Kim has refuted claims made by Ebony magazine's photographer that she approved her cover photo, accusing the publication of trying to "sabotage" her.
On Monday (September 18), the famed magazine debuted multiple covers for their Hip Hop 50 issue. In addition to Kim, 50 Cent, Busta Rhymes, Rick Ross and Swizz Beatz all have their own covers as well.
The celebratory moment turned sour, though, as the former's cover was heavily scrutinized for its seemingly extreme airbrushing, with many social media users taking issue with the image.
The controversy prompted a response from Ebony's photography director, Keith Major, who in an Instagram comment claimed that Lil Kim "wanted to be in control of the retouching so this is what we got."
According to the former Junior M.A.F.I.A. rapper, however, the cover she approved wasn't the one that Ebony published - and she isn't happy about it.
"Who is this?" Queen Bee wrote on her IG Stories. "Cuz that's not the photo I approved or any other content they've put out. I always told Ebony it looked like a painting but they didn't wanna listen. They said they loved it.
"It's the sabatoge for me. The funny shit about this, is that this is THEIR retoucher [crying laughing emoji, sighing face emoji, face-palm emoji]."
Kim also reshared the cover photo that she did approve from a member of her team, who wrote: "Me & @lilkimthequeenbee stayed up for hours wit the team & chose this .. we have the receipts fool! For the record we definitely didn't choose that other flick."
A side-by-side comparison of the two photos shows a difference in skin tone, contrast and brightness. Regardless of any alleged sabatoge, Lil Kim continues to receive her well-deserved flowers from today's female rappers, including GloRilla.
In July, the CMG artist set the internet on fire as she recreated Kim's iconic bikini-clad squat pose while rocking a shiny silver bathing suit and jacket. She also included two other pictures that showed off her tattooed figure. "If I didn't have a deal I'd still be worth some mills [money bag emoji] LEO SEASON APPROACHING.......... [lion head emoji]," she wrote in her Instagram caption underneath the photos.
While there was spirited banter in the comments section, GloRilla won Lil Kim's approval as the female rap pioneer left a smiling cat with heart-eyes emoji, along with a fire emoji and heart emoji.
Kim first did the pose in 1996 for her debut album Hard Core. The cover art itself showed her striking a provocative pose on top of a polar bear rug while wearing sexy lingerie.
Since then, many female rappers have followed suit in borrowing inspiration from the Brooklyn native including Nicki Minaj, Cardi B, and even newcomers such as Coi Leray, and DreamDoll.