Growing up between Brooklyn’s rough East New York section and Harlem, Lil’ Mama was forced to overcome both personal and financial struggles at an early age. As one of eight brothers and sisters, the rapper born Niatia Kirkland started to express herself artistically as a little girl through poetry and dance. When she was just 10-years-old, Lil’ Mama decided to try and put a rhythm behind her poems.
In 2003 she learned her mother was diagnosed with colon cancer. As she had always done in the past, Mama came to terms with her emotions through her music. In 2006, Mama teamed up with Ali Samii (former DMX’s manager) of Xtra Mile Production and headed out to Atlanta where she got the chance to record with Nappy Roots’ producer James Groove. Together they recorded seven songs, including “Lip Gloss,” which would quickly find its way onto New York’s home for hip-hop and R&B, Hot 97. Dave Lighty, the Senior A&R at Jive Records was floored by the 17-year-old’s instant smash and immediately set out to track her down.
On January 10, 2007 Lighty officially signed the 5’2” rapper to Jive Records. Now with her major label deal to her credit, Lil’ Mama has been in and out of various recording studios in New York, Atlanta and Miami and has worked with famed producers like Swizz Beatz and Scott Storch. Her debut album, Voice of The Young People features a wide range of musical and topical issues.