The magazine’s photography director, Keith Major, addressed the heavily edited image Monday after fans questioned who took the viral snap.
“Man, she wanted to be in control of the retouching so this is what we got,” he wrote on Instagram.
Fans’ had been speculating that the “Lady Marmalade” rapper was in charge of approving the unrecognizable photo.
“I knew that Lil Kim Ebony cover was her doing and not the magazine,” wrote one fan.
“I literally said this cause if you go to her page it’s what she likes,” added another.
“Smh at folk blaming Ebony for those photos as if Lil Kim surely didn’t approve them,” tweeted a third person.
“Not them confirming Lil Kim was in control of the editing for that Ebony magazine cover,” wrote a fourth user.
As Page Six previously reported, fans were befuddled when Ebony released the cover earlier this month, which showed Kim, 49, sitting down while dressed in a pink silk gown.
“This retouch is so bad, I thought it was AI. Somebody pls tell me it is. QUICKLY,” tweeted one critic.
“Now Ebony knows they need their asses whooped. Why they got Kimberly looking like AI?” added another.
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Kim’s altering look has been discussed for years.
In a 2005 interview, the “Magic Stick” emcee opened up about undergoing plastic surgery after being physically abused by her ex-boyfriend.
“I have had a black eye, bloody lips, bruised nose. I came out of the hospital from getting my nose done, and he broke my s–t again,” she told host Angie Martinez at the time. “I have had to have MRIs because he beat me up so bad I couldn’t even move.”
Kim added that the doctor had to “fix” her nose because “it was almost shattered.”
The Grammy winner also admitted that she had low self-esteem due to the type of women that guys would cheat on her with.