Lil' Kim's debut studio album, Hard Core (1996), was certified double platinum by the RIAA, has since sold more than 6 million copies worldwide, and spawned three successful singles: "No Time", "Not Tonight (Ladies Night)", and "Crush on You". Her following albums, The Notorious K. I. M. (2000) and La Bella Mafia (2003), were also certified platinum, making her the only female rapper besides Missy Elliott and Nicki Minaj to have at least three platinum-certified studio albums. In 2001, she was featured on the single "Lady Marmalade" (a remake of the 1975 hit single of the same name, originally recorded by LaBelle), alongside Mýa, Pink and Christina Aguilera, which went to number one on the U. S. Billboard Hot 100. In addition, the remake won two MTV Video Music Awards including Video of the Year, and a Grammy Award for Best Pop Collaboration with Vocals at the 44th Grammy Awards in 2002. In 2005, she served a yearlong prison sentence for lying to a jury about her friends' involvement in a shooting four years earlier. During her incarceration, her fourth album The Naked Truth was released to positive reviews from critics and received 5 star review from The Source making her the first and only female rapper to achieve it. She returned to the public eye in 2009 with an appearance on Dancing with the Stars.
On March 10, 2009, the song "Girls" by Korean singer Seven featuring Lil' Kim was released through digital stores as his U.S. debut single. Lil' Kim appeared in the music video that was released on the same day. "Girls" was produced by Darkchild . On March 24, 2009, she released the song " Download " featuring R&B singers T-Pain and Charlie Wilson . It was written by Lil' Kim and T-Pain and produced by Trackmasters. The song samples "Computer Love" by Zapp. Although it missed the Hot 100, it did chart on the Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart, peaking at number 21.