Legendary artist and fashion trailblazer Lil’ Kim gave Leafly a special Valentine’s Day scoop on her designer line of strains, Aphrodisiak. The highly-anticipated brand will be available to California shoppers in April, with plans to expand in markets like Michigan, New Jersey, and Kim’s native New York shortly after.
All of the brand’s products have been hand-selected and developed over two years with Kim’s input to ensure they inspire the same raw passion and stimulation fans have come to expect over her 25-plus years of stardom. “I test my product. I tested this and I was like ‘Oh yeah, this is that gas,'” Kim said last year when the brand was announced. Her and her team remain hands on with the day-to-day development of the line of products, placing quality control above all.
Starting in April, the first place to get your hands on Kim’s buds will be California’s newly-opened Pineapple Express Hollywood dispensary. The dispensary is owned by Kim’s fellow music-slash-marijuana vet 2 Chainz.
“It’s a new dispensary and it has all the flare to it being in Hollywood,” explains Kim’s Aphrodisiak partner Carlos Dew, of superbad inc. “We wanted to do something that reflected her being an icon, (so) Hollywood is the perfect place to launch.”
Kim and her partners, superbad inc. and CampNova, first announced the Aphrodisiak brand in October 2021. Since then, the power-trio has been hard at work on the compliance and delivery side of the business as they prepare their official rollout ahead of our favorite April holiday.
Kim was an early pioneer of designer dank
In her lyrics, Kim has bragged, “My girls rock Chanel and smoke mad marijuana,” and told lovers, “Roll some weed… and close your eyes, then imagine your tongue in between my thighs.”
Those and other raw rhymes about Mary Jane opened audiences up to the luxurious and lusty elements of the plant, back when pop culture was still sending mixed messages about how, when, and where women should smoke cannabis.
In defiance of the stigma, she proudly paired her love for dank with her designer fashion sense long before billion-dollar designer strains were a thing. Along the way, Kim blazed a trail for all women who consume, simply by being a Bad Bee who tokes unapologetically. Now, she’s positioning herself to reap the rewards of her decades of influence with a line exotics that pair perfectly with her erotic rhymes.
“Damn ma’, I love you like the la, the ganja,” rapped Kim’s late mentor and frequent collaborator The Notorious B.I.G. on their 1996 collaboration “Drugs.” On the 1996 track “Time To Shine,” Kim let listeners and potential suitors know that roses aren’t the only flowers that will win her affection. “Trees I like ’em fine, straight up marijuan’,” rapped Kim from the backseat of a luxury car, wrapped in designerfur and leather in the song’s music video.
Little did she realize, her 420-friendly rhymes were paving a lane for her in a multi-billion-dollar legal industry that few could have imagined at the time.
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The powerful partnerships behind Aphrodisiak
Kim is not jumping into the complex cannabis field solo. She’s entering with a crew of partners that can match her influence with the fundamentals to make Aphrodisiak into a multi-state operator (MSO).
Carlos Dew’s superbad inc. is the licensing brand poised to help Aphrodisiak jump off from coast to coast, and eventually worldwide. Dew is a budding mogul in cannabis who orchestrates deals that give celebrities and influencers their due platform and equity in a legal cannabis industry that can be quick to forget its pioneers.
The third wing of the Aphrodisiak machine is CampNova, a celebrity cannabis lifestyle platform that also does delivery. Their reputation for enabling fruitful partnerships and lines with influencers like 2 Chainz and Tommy Chong is sign of good things to come for Kim’s cannabis ambitions.
“She’s a trendsetter,” says superbad’s Dew of Kim. “If you look back in history, everything that she’s done, she’s the first one. The first bad girl of Hip Hop, which is important.”
Aside from her brand recognition, Dew and partners are also excited about Kim’s proven track record of moving physical units (remember CDs?) off of shelves. “She came from the era where fans were actually buying albums,” Dew says.
The hope is that her name and reputation can now drive people to purchase packages of legal trees at the same rate they buy her music. Kim’s debut album is RIAA-certified double platinum (over 2 million units sold) and she has moved over 6 million albums worldwide.
“She’s going raw. And she’s gonna bring it original, you know,” boasts Dew with the confidence of a prize fighter’s promoter. “She’s gonna make it nasty!”
And while Kim is all about having a good time, she also values the platform that comes with being one of the first women celebrities of color with her own line of adult-use cannabis flowers. That why she and her Aphrodisiak team are ultimately focused on “orchestrating generational wealth” with their partnership, for both themselves, and other people who look like them.
The Aphrodisiak team is well-positioned to build such an empire if they can deliver strains, edibles, and other goodies that get our juices flowing as much as Kim’s iconic looks and sounds.
Until we get our hands on those beautiful buds, all we can do is fantasize about what’s to come. Kind of like the days when Kim’s historic “Hardcore” pose teased us from our bedroom walls and album booklets.
If you’re as excited as us to taste these once forbidden flowers, put your lighter’s up to salute The Queen Bee’s coming Aphrodisiak debut.