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Just days before Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded was released, noted music writer Jon Caramanica wrote an op-ed in The New York Times calling Nicki Minaj “the most influential female rapper of all time.” Sparking discussion, many took to social networks to voice their disagreement. Why? Because in making the all-encompassing statement, he discredited legends such as Salt-n-Pepa, Lil’ Kim, Missy Elliott, MC Lyte and the slew of other female MCs that not only paved the way, but are still influential today.

It’s no secret. Within the world of hip-hop, rappers gain power and influence by dissing or boasting their individual appeal. But let’s be honest… nothing under the sun is new, so while Minaj is extreme in popularity, sound, look and influence there are a number of new stars who could possibly outbox the hip-hop heavyweight. Madame Noire believes that championship belt is still up for grabs, so we’re showcasing the best lyrical pugilists in the game—tale of the tape style:

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