15 Female Rappers Who’ve Impacted Hip-Hop
Hip-hop is still a young artform, which means there is still a long way to go when it comes to giving respect where it is due. The women of hip-hop on the mic, in the studio, writing bars and battle rapping often don’t get the respect and recognition they deserve, so we decided to spotlight 15 women who’ve contributed to hip-hop in big ways.
Yo-Yo did her thing in the ’90s when she was featured on Ice Cube’s AmeriKKKa’s Most Wanted album for “It’s a Man’s World.” Her debut album Make Way for the Motherlode in 1990 gained popularity with the single “You Can’t Play with My Yo-Yo.” Although she didn’t receive mainstream success she continued to release albums that were authentic and true hip-hop. In 1992 she released her second album, Black Pearl that had a positive message which clashed with the current sound of gangsta rap. She went on to release three other albums and her single “Can’t Play With My Yo-Yo” was ranked number 92 on VH1’s 100 Greatest Hip-Hop Songs.
Lisa “Left Eye” Lopes
The unforgettable Left Eye was a force to be reckoned with for her fast lyrics, tomboy style and unapologetic attitude. She was one third of TLC, but she stood out as the only rapper in the group. She wrote her own raps and was an extremely creative person. She produced a solo album SuperNova that showcased her rap skills in a better way. Although it was not a commercial success it showed how much potential she truly had.
When you think of femcees Salt-N-Pepa comes to mind first. Salt and Pepa on the mic with Spinderella on the ones and twos was a great time in hip-hop. They were one the first all-female rap crews with classic hits like “Push It,” “Let’s Talk About Sex,” and “Do You Want Me?”
The multi-talented Missy Elliot is one femcee who has literally done it all! She changed the game with the “The Rain (Supa Dupa Fly)” video, “Hot Boyz,” “Get Ya Freak On” and pretty much all of her other work. She’s a rapper, producer, singer, songwriter and actress with a unique style and big personality.
Philly’s own “pitbull in a skirt” Eve held it down from 1998 to 2002 with the Ruff Ryders and her raw style. She made herself known on the Ruff Ryder’s Anthem off DJ Clue?’s The Professional album. After that she made her solo debut with Let There Be Eve…Ruff Ryders’ First Lady, which became the third album by a female rap artist to top the Billboard 200. The second album Scorpion, featured hits like “Who’s That Girl” and “Let Me Blow Ya Mind” with Gwen Stefani. The duo hit number two on the Billboard Hot 100 and won a Grammy Award for Best Rap/Sung Collaboration.
The one and only MC Lyte is a hip-hop pioneer being that she is the first solo female rapper to release a full album, which was the classic Lyte as a Rock album in 1988. She made history and gave us hits like “Paper Thin” and the battle rap “10% Dis.” She went on to release five other albums that featured other hits such as “Cha Cha Cha,””Poor Georgie,” “Ruffneck” and others. Outside of rap, MC Lyte’s voice has been featured on various brand campaigns for major corporations. She has also added actress, entrepreneur and founder of Hip Hop Sisters Foundation to her long list of achievements.
There is a lot to say about Queen Latifah the rapper, the actress, the singer and entrepreneur. In the beginning, Queen Latifah started out beat boxing for Ladies Fresh and was an original member of the Flavor Unit. Her big break was when her “Princess of the Posse” rap was given to Fab 5 Freddy of Yo! MTV Raps, which led to her first deal with Tommy Boy Music. The debut album All Hail the Queen in 1989, when she was just nineteen featured “Wrath of My Madness” and the classic women’s anthem “Ladies First.” Queen Latifah is one of hip-hop’s pioneers of feminism and rightfully so.
Lil’ Kim came in the game with tons of sex appeal and raw rap skills with Notorious B.I.G.’s group Junior M.A.F.I.A. The group’s debut album Conspiracy was a hit with chart topping singles “Get Money” and “Players Anthem.” Lil’ Kim made her solo album debut with Hard Core in 1996 which went double platinum for three No. 1 hits: “No Time,” “Not Tonight” and “Crush on You,” which was a record for a female rapper. After that The Notorious K.I.M. and La Bella Mafia albums went platinum, making her the only female rapper with 3 platinum albums besides Missy Elliott.
Da Brat was part of a new era in ’90s hip-hop with tough lyrics and a hardcore attitude that didn’t rely on sex appeal. In 1994 the debut album, Funkdafied sold one million copies, which made her the first female solo rap act to have a platinum selling album. It also made her the second overall female rap act after Salt N Pepa.
The baddest B–ch Trina brought that Down South sex appeal to hip-hop after her appearance on Trick Daddy’s “Nann N*gga,” which led to her record deal with Slip-n-Slide Records. The debut album Da Baddest B–ch was released in 2000 with lead singles “Da Baddest B–ch” and “Pull Over.”
Foxy Brown’s debut album Ill Na Na in 1996 went platinum with two hit singles: “Get Me Home” with Blackstreet and “I’ll Be” with Jay-Z. In 1999 she released Chyna Doll and Broken Silence in 2001. Her strong lyrics, sex appeal and unapologetic attitude contributed her success.
Rah Digga was the first lady of Busta Rhyme’s Flipmode Squad and released her debut album Dirty Harriet in 2000. The album featured several chart-topping singles, including “Imperial,” “Tight,” “Break Fool” and “Tight The Remix.” The second album Everything is a Story in 2004 the hit single, “Party and BullShyte.”
There is so much to say about the iconic Lauryn Hill being that she is a rapper, singer and songwriter who has had great success early on. As a member of the Fugees she showed off her lyrical ability and soulful voice on tracks like “Fu-Gee-La” and “Ready or Not.” The group’s hit song “Killing Me Softly” won a Grammy Award for Best R&B Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals. After the Fugees split, she released her solo album, The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill, which has become the ultimate classic album. She sold eight million copies with hits like “Doo Wop (That Thing)”, “Ex-Factor,” “Everything Is Everything”. Lauryn Hill took home five Grammy awards, including Album of the Year and Best New Artist.
Nicki Minaj’s raw lyrics and bad girl image helped move her from underground to mainstream success. Her debut studio album Pink Friday hit number one on the billboard charts in 2010. The most successful single was “Super Bass” which went quadruple-platinum and has sold over four million copies, making it one of the best-selling singles in the United States. At that time she became the first female solo artist to have seven singles on the Billboard Hot 100 at once. She followed up with her second album Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded, which became one of the best-selling albums of 2012. She sold over 5 million albums globally and its only 2013. She hasn’t even released her third album yet.
Rasheeda’s sexually explicit rhymes and bad girl image have served her well. In 2001 she dropped her first album,Dirty South, featuring Pastor Troy and Re-Re, which garnered major attention. Her second album Ghetto Dream in 2002 had the help of Lil’ Jon and the Eastside Boyz. She has worked with various artists from Nivea to Nelly and others. Her fifth album Boss Chick Music was featured on the tenth season of Bad Girls Club.