Like so many of her male counterparts, Lil’ Kim fixates on sex less as a source of pleasure than a means of wielding power. (Sometimes I wonder if Kim has ever had an orgasm. Sometimes I wonder if she’s even considered the possibility.) Male dominance being what it is, however, even her dimmest Y-chromosomed adversaries still have the upper genitalia in this war–the penis continues to pack more of a metaphorical punch than Kim’s oral fixation probably ever will. But that hasn’t kept the Queen Bee from bragging on her deep-throating prowess as if she could win equality one blow job at a time. And, as she shows on her latest, La Bella Mafia (Atlantic), her foul-mouthed shtick has matured some. If she still occasionally sounds like she’s narrating an episode of MTV’s Cribs (“My bathroom is Chanel / My bedroom Louis Vuitton / An office decorated in Ralph Lauren”), well, at least she’s got an eye for detail–only the Big Tymers’ descriptions of their cars flaunt such in-depth product research. And when she invokes her slain beau, the Notorious B.I.G., she sounds like a widowed moll–a sympathetic figure in a superficial, pulpy sort of way. Plus on two of the summer’s hottest singles, “The Jump Off” and “Magic Stick,” she overshadows consorts Mr. Cheeks and 50 Cent respectively–not by the limberness of her rhymes, but with a decadent purr whose resonance is deepened by the occasional, disdainful elongation of her vowels. Saturday, July 26, 4 PM, Tweeter Center, I-80 & Harlem, Tinley Park; 708-614-1616 or 312-559-1212.