Female rappers have been making their mark on this style of music since the 1980s. Rappers used to steal the spotlight, but female pioneers like Queen Latifah, Missy Elliot, and Salt- N- Pepa broke the barriers in this then-male-dominated music genre.
These women paved the way for Nicki Minaj, Cardi B, and Megan Thee Stallion, who are selling out concerts, winning awards, and more, and rightly so, because hip-hop is inclusive, and anyone who has a story to tell through their lyrics should be able to do so, regardless of gender.
Female rappers use their voices to condemn gender-based assaults, discrimination, street harassment, domestic violence, among others while demanding respect.
Here are the top 10 best female rappers.
1. Queen Latifah
Queen Latifah, born in Newark, New Jersey, is one of the first female rappers in hip-hop to make a name for herself by speaking out about the issues in black women’s lives, particularly street harassment and domestic violence. Her 1989 debut record, “All Hail the Queen,” encompasses everything she stands for to this day.
2. Remy Ma
Before becoming famous as a member of Fat Joe’s band, Terror squad, Big Pun discovered her. She released her first studio album, “There’s Something About Remy: Based on a True Story,” in February 2006, which became a hit, reaching number 33 on the Billboard 200. The rapper is best known for songs like “Lean Back,” “Ante Up (Remix),” “Conceited,” and “All the Way Up.“
3. Rah Digga
The actress, activist, and writer are well known for being a longtime member of the Flipmode Squad, a hip-hop group led by Busta Rhymes. She learned to rap by studying the raps of KRS-One, Rakim, and Kool G Rap of the Juice Crew. Rah Digga later joined the Outsidaz, which led to her feature in the “Cowboys” video on the Fugees’ album “The Score.”
4. Da Brat
Shawntae Harris, better known as Da Brat, broke into hip-hop with “ Funkdafied,” an album that peaked at No. 11 on Billboard with solid sales, making Brat the first-ever female rapper to achieve platinum certification as a solo artist.
5. Foxy Brown
The Trinidadian-American rapper released her first album, lll Na Na, in 1996 after signing with Def Jam. She started rapping as a teenager and was part of the rap group The Firm. In 1999, her second album, Chyna Doll, debuted at the top of the Billboard 200, making her the second female rapper to top the chart after Lauryn Hill in 1998. Her mixtape Brooklyn Don Diva was released in May 2008.
Rapsody, whose real name is Marlanna Evans, is known for her “intricate rhymes, metaphors and wordplay.” Originally from Snow Hill, North Carolina, she launched her solo career in 2008 after signing with 9th Wonder’s It’s A Wonderful World Music Group. Her album Laila’s Wisdom received two Grammy Award nominations.
7. Nicki Minaj
Unquestionably, one of the most well-decorated female rappers today, Nicki Minaj, won the BET award for Best Female Hip-Hop Artist six times in a row from 2010 to 2015.
It was her third mixtape, Beam Me Up Scotty, that put her on the map in the hip-hop industry, not to mention her featuring on tracks like Young Money’s BedRock and Yo Gotti’s “Five Star Chick.”
8. Missy Elliot
Missy Elliot’s lyrics and melodies are timeless as, to this day, “Supa Dupa Fly/Da Real World,” released in 2003, is still being streamed on music platforms.
She made a name for herself in 1995 with her swag and quirky style, and her lyrics have very catchy melodies and flow that leave the listener wanting more.
9. Lil Kim
Lil Kim changed the rap game when she arrived on our screens. She carried her lyrics with an attitude and flair that could teach. She paved the way for artists like Cardi B and Nicki Minaj.
10. Lauryn Hill
Lauryn Hill remains an inimitable voice in the league of female rappers, despite having only released one proper album, “The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill.” Her unique blend of neo-soul and muscular feminist lyrics highlights femininity, the music business, black womanhood, and motherhood.