American rapper and singer. She was born and raised in New York City and lived much of her adolescent life on the streets after being expelled from home. In her teens, she would freestyle rap, influenced by fellow female hip-hop artists like MC Lyte and the Lady of Rage. In 1994, she was discovered by fellow rapper The Notorious B.I.G., who invited her to join his group Junior M.A.F.I.A.; their debut album, Conspiracy, generated two top 20 singles in the United States and was certified gold by the Recording Industry Association of America.