Where Are They Now? 9 Of Our Favorite Female Rappers From Back In the Day

May 25, 2012  |  

I’m sure you’ve seen just enough stories about today’s female lyricists waging war on each through rap beefs, or ones telling you to pick your favorites from the slim pickings of talented female fire spitters we have available to us these days. All of ’em at this point are caricatures of other people, white women saying the N-word, straight up haters, or they haven’t been able to break into the mainstream. But back in the day, things were different. Where are the female rappers from yesteryear? We know where Lauryn, Lil Kim, Queen La, Missy, Foxy and more are, but what about the Roxanne Shantes? The Heather Bs? The Monie Loves? We’ve figured a thing or two out for you.

Yo-Yo

Yolanda Whittaker, girl, what have you been up to? The lady best known for her time spitting with Ice Cube, playing Keylolo on “Martin” and rocking those blonde braids hasn’t been one of the bad misses of rap for a while. Her last album was Total Control in ’96, and while she did try and release her fifth album, Ebony, some years later it never made it into stores. Since then, we’ve seen her perform at the BET Hip Hop Awards in ’08, and doing more television appearances than anything else. Her credits include the documentary, “My Mic Sounds Nice: The Truth About Women in Hip-Hop” and co-host of the female rap competition, “Miss Rap Supreme.” She’s been working on an EP that she wanted to drop in ’09 called, My Journey to Fearless: The Black Butterfly, but it still hasn’t been released. But if you’re still thirsty for anything from her, she has been featured on tracks with Kurupt, Brooke Valentine and DJ Quik. Come back Yo!

 

Ms. Jade

Okay, so maybe she’s not an icon in the rap game or one of your favorites, but Missy and Timbaland’s old protege was pretty sick on the mic. The Philly-born MC made appearances on Missy’s “Funky Fresh Dressed,” and released her own album, Girl Interrupted (with the singles “Big Head” and “Ching Ching” with Nelly Furtado and Timbaland), but unfortunately, that album was a commercial flop. Since parting ways with her Beat Club family, Ms. Jade has been trying to start over musically. She appeared on the official remix of Beyonce’s “Diva,” did a mixtape entitled, “Million Dollar Baby,” and dropped a song and video called “Blowin’ Up” with fellow Philly rapper Freeway that was on her mixtape, Straight No Chaser (2010). But since then, we haven’t heard much else. Let’s hope she’s hiding in the studio trying to create some fire…

Heather B

While a great deal of people know Heather B strictly from her time in the Real World house during its inaugural season, many others know her for her rap career and rolling with Boogie Down Productions for a while. She released her first album, Takin’ Mine, in 1996 with the singles “All Glocks Down,” and “If Headz Only Knew.” She would later release the single “Do You” and drop the album Eternal Affairs in 2002. While critically approved, it didn’t chart. Last time we checked, Heather B., aka Heather B. Gardner, was working with DJ Premier on an album called Open Bar that still hasn’t been released, and she owns a business or two in Manhattan these days. If you keep up with the rap group The Bravehearts, then you probably know that she is married to the member “Horse.”

Roxanne Shante

What were you doing at the age of 14? Probably not involving yourself in a war of words on wax and blowing up because of it. But that’s what happened to Roxanne Shante, aka, Lolita Shanté Gooden. The Juice Crew member got big by doing the diss/answer record “Roxanne’s Revenge” that was aimed at the guys of the group UTFO (and their hit song, “Roxanne, Roxanne”). After that, she dropped two albums: ’89’s Bad Sister, and ’92’s The B***h is Back, jumped on a track with Rick James (“Loosey Rap”), and by 25, was ready to take a break from the game. And she sure the hell did. Once she finally came back around, she was a mentor to contestants on “Miss Rap Supreme” in 2008, and did a few guest appearances on tracks for many different folks. There was even supposed to be a biopic on her starring Keke Palmer, but because of financing issues, it was put on hold. Nowadays, you can see Shante speaking at different events looking pretty great, but we think she’d look better back in the booth!

 

Monie Love

Monie’s no longer in the middle of the rap game as she was in the late ’80s and early ’90s, but dang, do we miss those days! Love debuted as part of the Jus Bad Crew before blowing up after making an appearance on the iconic “Ladies First” with Queen Latifah, and doing her thing on De La Soul’s “Buddy.” Love would go on to become a prominent member of Native Tongues, the intellectual collective of rhymers that included folks like A Tribe Called Quest, De La Soul, Jungle Brothers and more. Her debut album (Down to Earth) gave us the classic “Monie in the Middle,” and “It’s a Shame,” and after that, she blew up big time, doing songs with Whitney Houston (the remix to “My Name is Not Susan”) and penned some lyrics for a few tracks with Prince of all people. After that, she took a break and returned in 2000 to drop the EP Slice of Da Pie. For all those in Philly, I’m sure you know Love was the morning drive host on WPHI-FM from 2004-2006 (where she and Young Jeezy went back and forth about why hip-hop is and isn’t dead). The last time we checked, the single mother was hosting a radio show called “Ladies First Radio” on XM Satellite Radio. And we’ve also seen her hopping on stage with Q-Tip (We were bugging out in the crowd at last year’s Brooklyn Hip Hop Festival).

J.J. Fad

“We’re J.J. Fad and we’re here to rock!” The Cali Girls who were signed by Eazy-E had a massive hit you probably remember called “Supersonic” off of their album of the same name. Both the song and the CD went platinum (thanks to production from a pre-NWA Dr. Dre). After that, MC J.B. (Juana Burns), Baby-D (Dania Birks), and Sassy C. (Michelle Franklin) tried to match that success with the release of Just a Fad in ’91, but it wasn’t as big of a hit, so they disbanded afterwards. But don’t get too sad! They reunited in 2009 and were said to be trying to make new material and tour again. Good luck with that ladies!

Ladybug Mecca

“Rebirth of Slick (Cool Like Dat)” was everything back in the day, and we can thank Digable Planets for that classic jazz-infused hip-hop jam. Butterfly, Doodlebug and Ladybug Mecca were all the rage when they dropped Reachin’ (A New Refutation of Time and Space) (1993) and Blowout Comb (1994) back in the early ’90s (“Swoon Units” is still my jam!). Shortly after the release of Blowout Comb, the group disbanded. However, while Ladybug was out trying to do her solo thing, the other members of the group wanted to get back together to tour, but she didn’t want to take part. So Butterfly and Doodlebug went on tour without her, giving other female MCs the chance to shine in her place. But don’t feel bad for her, because she has been making moves by hosting mixtapes, dropping a solo album (Trip the Light Fantastic) and actually being a successful DJ (DJ LadybugMek).

MC Lyte

MC Lyte was the first solo female rapper to drop a full album and get mad shine in the industry thanks to Lyte as a Rock. After that, the rapstress dropped bangers continuously until ’98 (Eyes on This, Act Like You, Ain’t No Other, Bad As I Wanna Be, Seven & Seven), and the singles she put out were just as dope, including “Poor Georgie,” “Ruffneck” and “Cold Rock a Party.” But after ’98 and less than stellar showing numbers wise for Seven & Seven, she kind of backed out of the rap scene and rotated into television work. Her most notable roles included stints on “In the House,” “The District,” and “Half & Half.” She’s also had a huge voice-over career and was a mentor on the MTV show, “Celebrity Rap Superstar.” But don’t count her out of the game forever, because in 2007, 2008 and 2009, she released several songs on iTunes, including “Mad at Me,” “Juke Joint,” and “Get Lyte.”

Lady of Rage

You can call her Lady of Rage, but I’ve always thought of her as Baby D. You know, Baby D from Next Friday? Anyway, Lady of Rage became a sensation in the rap game after making appearances on two classic rap albums: The Chronic, and Doggystyle. But she stepped out on her own with success when she dropped “Afro Puffs,” and released her first album, Necessary Roughness. After all that success and those high profile collaborations, she left Death Row Records in ’98, and like MC Lyte, started focusing more on TV and films as well (remember her as Coretta Cox on the “Steve Harvey Show”?). But recently, she’s been trying to get back into music and has been doing tracks with Snoop Dogg again on some of his latest albums, touring with him (which she did in 2010), and releasing the album VA to LA in 2005. Funny thing is, the last time we saw her, she was doing a cypher on the BET Hip Hop Awards last year, so could we be expecting a comeback sometime soon??? Hope so…

Any female MCs that you wish would come back to the game? Who are your favorites?

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  • DivaMimi

    Nikki D! What is SHE doing these days? I loved her music!

  • DivaMimi

    Bahamadia, Nonchalant, Isis from X-Clan, Sweet Tee

  • fukyalist

    Every list of female mc’s needs to include Bahamadia. She was dope and had serious flow. Get the damn list right

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  • GLAMOUR

    Damn I’m in my mid 20s and have only heard of two of these rappers. Guess I’m not as old as I thought I was!

  • Mia

    Mia X, Lauryn Hill (rapping), Eve, Missy Elliott, and Foxy Brown

  • Ms.Blue

    JJ Fad looks like someone’s great grandmamas! Whew they look a mess!

    • Ms Blue i said the same thing time was not on their side and they were some nice looking girls.

  • Tony Dorman

    Monie Love is STILL cute!  Wow.

  • bigdawgman

    Dang Monie, I did not know you had it going like THAT!!!  Damn you fine!!

  • customcalendars4u2

    Yo,Yo Ice Cubes main jump off from back in the day maybe if she had been willing to talk about their relationship he would have done more for her career….

  • MNEditor2

    Actually, she didn’t: http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/hey_wait_a_minute/2009/09/roxannes_nonexistent_revenge.html
    Instead of trying to bring it up and make her look bad about the lie–she admitted she doesn’t have a P.h.D–we just thought we’d leave it alone and highlight what else she’s got going on. So you need to calm down with all the caps…

    • Geniadaydream

      I watched Beef if I’m not mistaken she did an interview in Beef 2 and said that she went to Cornell medical earned a PhD and Warner paid the bill but in the Article she said the Daily News made the mistake she flat out lied because she was the one on camera who said it and she tried to put it off on someone else after the fact

      • TX2Hi

         @9956e8a9b596bca924db0bac9495aca6:disqus  That is what I heard also. However if it was not truth then i understand.

  • Yonette

    Smooth

  • TX2Hi

    SHAME ON THIS STUPID A** SITE. ROXANNE IS NOW A PHD! She is a psychologist. Imagine a black site not even giving her recognition.

  • Anjiemaree

    Please do a part 2 to this list!! Thanks in advance 🙂

  • D.

    Where is Rah Digga from Flip Mode Squad?

    • DD

      AND BOSS WHAT ABOUT HER!

    • DD

      AND BOSS WHAT ABOUT HER!

  • IllyPhilly

    Bahamadia, Queen Pen, Amil, Mia X Those ladies actually ran with top class (in most folks eyes) rappers. 

  •  The world will change for the better when people
    decide they are sick and tired of being sick and tired of the way the
    world is, and decide to change themselves.

  • Spillme

    Where is Ms. Melody

    • Rabakira

      I was thinkin the same…

  • Gogomojo

    time was good to mc lyte. 

  • Earthspirit1

    The female m.c.’s of the 80’s-90’s era brought it! It was all about girl power!!! Yes they had some girls who were a little wreck-less and used profanity in their lyrics time to time but NOTHING like today’s so-called female hip-hop artist(s).
    The lyrics empowered women and talked/rapped about social issues of the time.

    1. MC Lyte’s “Poor Georgie” “Cappuccino”
     2. Queen Latifah – “Ladies First”
     3. Monie Love – “It’s A Shame”
     4. Salt-N-Pepa “Independent” “Let’s Talk  About Sex”
     5. Roxanne Shante – “Independent Woman”
     
    and the list goes on. I applaud these sistahs for repping the females at a time when it was HARD to prove you were just as good if not BETTER than their male counterparts. *smh* 🙁

    Sidenote: I wonder whatever happened to Antoinette, The Real Roxanne (the first Female Latin rapper, though Elise Jacks was coined the ORIGINAL Roxanne) Sparky-D (I read she was into ministry) and N-Tyce.

    • Earthspirit1

       oh and Finesse and Synquis.

    • Guest

      I read that Antoinette is now with the NYPD. Wow, what a career change.

      She was pretty back in the day.

  • Chanda

    Missing from this list: Antoinette, BOSS, Oaktown 357, Tairrie B., Ms. Melodie, Wee Papa Girl Rappers, Neneh Cherry, Sha Rock, and Rah Diggah. I guess you can’t save ’em all. It’s funny ’cause last night I was on Wiki looking up female rappers but they only mention but so much.

    • Chanda

      L.A Star, Silk times Leather, Sweet Tea, BWP, Nikki D. okay I’ll stop. There were a plethora of female rappers duing the 80s and 90s though

  •  Findd_a_partner_to__live_a_comfort_and_luxury_lifestyle!

                          M a n_and_W o m e n_Seeking_Interracial_Mate~~Post_and_Browse_for_ Free~~~  43

  • Yhy

    female rap paved the way for the degrading and disrespect towards black women globally…. lil kim and foxy brown put the icing on the cake with there rachetness…i dont support any music with disrespect toward females or children period…some of the women on this list were cool…but most of these chicks thought they were being one of the boys by acting and talking reckless about themselves and including all of us in the equation…but now the joke is on us because now society looks at us as trash and nothing to be respected because these chicks called themselves the b-word and rapped about behaving like nymphos…thank female rappers  for that movement it made it easier for black male rappers to feel less guilty about how they portray us to the masses….and when you really think about female rappers most of these chicks don’t even get married or fined a nice guy to stick around…you know why? girls who talk and behave rachet or dress and behave like men or wear nothing at all (lil kim foxy brown, nicki) never get rings….they get used sexually by industry dude, and become single mothers….thank you ladies for paving the way!! we love you!!(sarcasm)

    • Yhy

      and its so true how being single mothers and being used sexually is what happens to alot of black women…music really does have power….dont support rap ladies

    • Chanda

      And don’t forget there was a group out called B*tches With Problems aka BWP. Yeah there were some hoodrat rappers that have come and gone over the years. In the back of my mind I’ve felt the same way you have about certain female rappers. Trying to be one of the boys and outdoing their male counterparts. There’s some cool ones out there that I love and respect and I don’t even mind when they get sexual at times but some of them overdue it. The few that do get married leave the rap game altogether. Salt is probably the only one I can think of that married her childrens’ father and breifly Pepa with Treach. A lot of these ladies I feel deep down are good people but their music may have ruined their reputations as well as ours. Maybe this is why many of their careers don’t last as long. There comes a time when you have to grow up and hang it up. Some of them are probably embarrassed looking back.

    • Deja

      For each female rapper listed there are how many male rappers?  I don’t listen to rap anymore, but rap doesn’t define us just because we are black.  It’s a form of entertainment and anyone who takes it for more than that is a fool.  

      • Yhy

        american rap music is glorified all over the globe…so yes it does define us when you see chicks that look like us dancing in rap videos and being called w***es…you can ignore it if you want but that genres plays a big role in how our young women think about themselves…i dont see britney spears look a likes dancing in these rap videos i see women of color

        • Chanda

          “i dont see britney spears look a likes dancing in these rap videos i see women of color ”
          yes you do. the token white girl. might see a few.

    • Oh,please—the negative images of black women have been put out there since slavery times—-to blame rap for all of that is short-sighted and ridiculous. Half the time brothers dominated the rap game mainly because a lot of them were young and insecure and didn’t want to compete with women rappers on their own turf, that’s all. I’m all for women expressing themselves thru rap, but there’s no need to be nasty and explicit all the time–that goes for the men too, who were even worse when it came to explicit, nasty hateful, sometimes sexist rhymes. You can’t blame the downturn of rap all on women rappers—-the men also contributed to it by bringing in gangster rap,which really started rap’s downfall. Plus not ALL the women rappers were making explicit songs like Lil’ Kim,or trying to be like the boys–they just wanted to RAP, period. Male rappers were putting out dirty songs about women LONG before female rappers fully jumped into the rapping game.

      I’ve wondered why the hell there aren’t any more female rappers like there used to be—it seems that a female rapper nowadays only gets attention if she dresses in outlandish outfits a la Nikki Minaj (actually like her everchanging outfits,they’re pretty creative). If’s like they all just up and disappeared. Bring ’em the heck back—I’m tired of all these male rappers hogging the airwaves!

  • UK lady

    What about Salt n Pepa?

    • Guest

      They were the best. I even had a crush on all three of them (but not at the same time).

  • Moonstar

    What happend to Smooth.? She was my fave.

    • Caydence James

       Oh yeah! they definitely needed to include Smooth….I mean, really? They could have replaced J.J. Fad with her and did us ALL a favor! LOL!

    • @msredbonebrite

      I know Smooth is Chris Stokes (B2K’s manager) sister… I loved her song “One & Only” that was on the New Jersey Drive soundtrack!! & of course, everybody’s cut was “Strawberries”!

    • Louis Concepcion

      I think she died if I’m not mistaken

  • Ifuaskme2

    Save for Lyte (who looks the best by the way) they are not missed. Their lyrics for the most part (Lyte included) did nothing to uplift women and may have helped entrench the views of men to this day.

    • Playbaby4

      Actually I was a teenager back in the day, and they all repped for women.  When you heard a female flowing it meant something because she was holding her own plus she was representing for us.  

  • @msredbonebrite

    Love Roxanne Shante!! The fact that she was a teenage mother who went on to college AND got her doctorate is AWESOME! Plus, I saw an interview she did some time last year and she revealed that she was a breast cancer survivor!! She rocks!!

    • Tisha

      Great info! and she’s a Bama Girl!

    • CC

      The whole going to college and getting her Doctorate thing was a lie….Don’t believe it, Google it.

      • Chanda

        Say word? She was even on a hip hop special talking about how the record label payed for her education. And she would lie about that, why? This I gotta see.

        • Erica

          Yeah, she definitely did lie. I remember reading that all she got was an associates, which she paid for herself. 

          RivaFlowzDOTcom

    • Asia

      Yeah the whole thing about Warner paying for her college education was a lie! She didn’t even receive a bachelor’s degree let alone a doctorate. And IF she is a breast cancer survivor then that is great, but I’m sure she lied about that too in order to gain sympathy because people aren’t willing to believe anything that comes out of her mouth.

  • Tenesha Polk
  • friendly reminder

    DJ Quik*

    • Baddvixentype

      the question is WOMEN…

      • MNEditor2

         There was an error in DJ Quik’s name, that’s what that individual was trying to say. It has been fixed by the way. Thanks!