Lil' Kim Savors First Day of Freedom

Family and friends greet the rapper at home after her prison stay

It was a day for feasting with family and friends for Lil’ Kim – once the rapper received an early release from a federal detention center in Philadelphia on Monday after nearly 10 months behind bars.

“Today is a joyous day for me and my family,” the self-proclaimed Queen Bee, 30, said in a statement. “I am extremely grateful and happy to be home.”

She added: “Many special thanks go out to my fans who were critical in helping me get through these past 10 months. I am looking forward to adjusting back to my normal life and getting back to work.”

After stopping to visit with her parole officer in Newark, N.J., Lil’ Kim then returned home to Alpine, N.J., where she was greeted by friends, relatives and a catered spread that included barbecue chicken, macaroni and cheese, salmon pasta salad, rice and peas and a fruit plate, said her spokeswoman, Tracy Nguyen.

Also delivered: a red velvet cake from Sean “Diddy” Combs’s Manhattan restaurant, Justin’s.

Still, as noted by the New York Post, Lil’ Kim packed on the pounds in prison, a fact that the 4’11” rapper even mentioned. Asked by reporters about what she planned to do, she joked: “I’ll be eating some French fries. I don’t need to, but . . . ”

Asked if she had any further comments about her weight gain, Nguyen told the Post: “She didn’t really get into that. Imagine if you were locked up for 10 months. She’s gotta get back to work.”

The rapper (real name Kimberly Jones) will remain under house arrest for 30 days and be under supervised release for three years. “She has accepted responsibility and handled herself in an exemplary manner,” her attorney, L. Londell McMillan, said in a statement.

Lil’ Kim, the first prominent female rapper to serve a prison sentence, was convicted of lying to a federal grand jury about a shootout outside a Manhattan radio station. Her sentence began on Sept. 19, last year. McMillan, noted at the time that she could be released early for good behavior.

The case stemmed from a gun battle between Lil’ Kim’s entourage and rival rap group Capone-N-Noreaga. One man was injured.

Lil’ Kim told a jury that she hadn’t seen two friends – who later pleaded guilty to gun charges – at the scene. But security photos showed one of the friends opening a door for her, and witnesses said they saw her at the station with both of them.

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