Since the beginning of times the hip hop scene has been dominated by men with female MCs ignored and pushed to the background. Despite being used as ‘eye candy’ many of these talented women still managed to shine bright and build successful careers. Male-centered attitudes didn’t prevent Queen Latifah and Lauryn Hill from becoming international stars. Since then dozens of women entered the rap game and showed what they were capable of. Here are 10 of the best female rappers ever.
Jean Grae has spent most of her time battling in underground rap circles – and it shows in her lyrics and ferocious rhyming style. She doesn’t mind being pegged as an underground rapper, although her album ‘Jeanius’ proves that she can ride the tides of mainstream along with modern rappers who do it for a living.
You can’t have a ‘best female rapper’ list without mentioning the woman who has paved the way for all the upcoming female artists. MC Lyte was the first female rapper to be nominated for a Grammy. Back in 1988 her debut album ‘Lyte as a Rock’ has taken the whole hip hop scene by surprise, proving that female rappers should be taken seriously.
Rah Digga started out as a part of Busta Rhymes Flipmode Squad. She then produced her very own full-length single Dirty Harriet and first shined on the hip hop scene. She’s capable of creating hardcore gems that are both commercially viable and truly catchy. Her ‘Classic’ LP proves that she’s on the right track.
M.I.A. is definitely one of the most eclectic artists on this list. She’s done many genres of music, but got really famous after her 2003 single ‘Galang’ and the ‘Arular’ album which has been referred to as ‘unorthodox’. No matter what people say about M.I.A., she’s definitely a talented singer and songwriter capable of producing viral rhythms and funky lyrics.
Iggy knows a thing or two about women struggling to win over the hip hop world. She’s withstood numerous criticisms, but still continued her work. Recognized by Nas and T.I., she’s taken the 3rd place on Billboard 200 chart with her album ‘the New Classic’.
Missy has become a huge hip hop superstar by just being herself. Associated with the likes of Aaliyah and Timbaland, Missy Elliott has been around for decades showing off her amazing talents as a singer/rapper/songwriter. With 5 platinum albums under her belt, Missy has become a real hip hop legend with thousands of followers.
Queen Latifah is definitely a queen when it comes to hip hop. She is one of the first women who has taken over the hip hop scene and became the voice for thousands of women who were treated disrespectfully. Her single U.N.I.T.Y. won her a Grammy Award for the best rap performance and now she hosts her own show – The Queen Latifah Show.
Lil Kim’s been around for more than 20 years producing dozens of hits. Her career started with a friendship with Notorious Big who made her part of Junior M.A.F.I.A. Kim became a huge superstar in the late 90s with her hits ‘Conspiracy’ and ‘Hard Core’. She used her sexuality in a sleek and almost elegant way, while paving the way with harsh right-to-the-point lyrics. She inspired thousands of women!
Nicki is arguably the best female rapper in modern hip hop. Ever since she first stepped on stage with ‘Young Money’ and ‘the Jamaica’ she’s becoming more and more famous with each passing year. Her crazy looks and fierce rhymes gained her millions of fans, turning into a force to be reckoned with. She’s everywhere in the mainstream culture – from American Idol team of juries to her silver screen appearance in ‘The Other Woman’. Nicki is a real superstar!
Being in the game for more than 23 years, Lauryn Hill is a true icon of hip hop. She’s had 5 Grammy wins and experimented with an abundance of music genres like reggae, R’n’B, hip-hop and funk. The former Fugees member rarely does anything today, but her legacy still resonates with the present. Lauryn is the best of the best!