Chasing The Throne: The Next Generation Of Female Rappers
“It was one period in hip-hop when females were almost as common as males, back in the Salt-N-Pepa period. Then there was a period when they were damn near non-existent…Years later, you had Lil’ Kim, Foxy Brown, and after that females went away again. And then Nicki [Minaj] came out, Iggy [Azalea] came out. So now there feels as though there is a hunger, there is a thirst for females. The female demographic is growing and asking for representation.” – T.I. in an interview with Billboard.
It’s no question that hip-hop has always been dominated by men with the ever so often female rappers. Nevertheless, female artists were always there. Some refer to the 1980s-90s as the golden age of female rappers including artists like Lauryn Hill, Lil Kim, Missy Elliot, and Left Eye. Nearly twenty years later, a growing number of female rappers have burst onto the scene where they have established themselves, joined forces, and shown what they can bring to the table. For example, one notable artist whose rise is often seen as the catalyst for the reemergence of women in hip-hop is Nicki Minaj— who was once undeniably the Queen of Rap. Now, in the past two years we have seen competition arise with artists like Remy Ma, Young M.A., Rapsody, and viral social star turned rapper, Cardi B. However, there are much more emerging female rappers than the handful I’ve just mentioned who have received far less recognition than what they deserve. So, here are some more of the new talented females rappers of this generation:
You’ve probably heard of Kamaiyah already— an Oakland native who provided the hook for YG’s “Why You Always Hatin” and 2017 XXL Freshman Class only female rapper. She blew up with the release of her breakout song, “How Does It Feel,” which paved the way for her career, bringing her to Los Angeles and getting her signed to Interscope Records. Often compared to Missy Elliot, Kamaiyah’s style is confident, straightforward, and reminds you of the ’90s; definitely different from other female rappers today. You can listen to her most recent project Before I Wake below.
“I’m not gonna accept anything less than what I deserve because I know my potential and what I’m supposed to be. That got me here and it’s only another level so I just gotta keep going and not stop.” – Kamaiyah in an interview with L.A. Record
35-year-old North Carolina native Marlanna Evans, also known as Rapsody, who has long been in the rap game. However, she barely got her breakthrough in 2016 when she got signed to Jay-Z’s record label, Roc Nation. For the 2018 Grammys, Rapsody was up for Best Rap Song for “Sassy” and Best Album for Laila’s Wisdom against nominees like Cardi B, Kendrick Lamar, and Jay-Z. Although she didn’t win, it ultimately makes her a strong contender and a promising force to watch out for.
Rapsody told Billboard, “I think we can make music that can compete with any man, and I’d just love to see more women acknowledged in that way.”
Fatimah Nyeema Warner, more commonly known as Chicago rapper Noname, can be described as “hip-hop’s breath of fresh air” with her poetic flow, tongue-twisting vocabulary, and bold vulnerability. She first started as a slam poet, but then began making music and featuring on songs with fellow Chicago artists: Chance the Rapper’s “Lost” and Mick Jenkin’s “Comfortable.” Since then, she’s worked on her own music that touches on a personal matter, as well as heavy subjects like loss and survival. Nonetheless, her background, drive, and dedication can be seen throughout everything she does, which has brought her to where she is today. You can listen to her debut project Telefone below.
Formerly known as Perico Princess, BIA (Bianca Landrau) has been dropping singles as fans wait for her debut album. Being a multiracial Latina, she’s used hip-hop to overcome the challenges of being Puerto Rican and Italian American by creating her own wave. She’s cemented Trap Vogue, the title of her highly anticipated EP she announced back in 2016 , as well as her “way of life.” She explains to Hypebae, “Trap Vogue is the elements of trap that we all know and love, but elevated. Vogue is the epitome of high end fashion — I want this project to feel like the epitome of high end trap.” She also has Pharrell’s seal of approval in which she signed into a publishing deal with i am OTHER. Stay tuned for more from Pharrell’s protegé.
“BIA… who better to lead the charge for unfiltered, unapologetic, and unconventional women?” – Pharrell
Born Diamonté Harper, Bay Area rapper Saweetie has become an overnight sensation with her viral hit “Icy Girl”— a freestyle over Khia’s 2002 single, “My Neck My Back.” Just last month, Saweetie dropped her EP, High Maintenance, rapping about things like her expensive taste, ambitions, and requirements in a suitor. However, this wasn’t always expected. The rising rapper has always wanted to be in music since the age of 14, but instead pursued a more traditional career path in which she graduated from USC with a Communications and Business degree. However, she got discovered by her manager, Max Gousse, at a Puma event one day, and it all started from there. Stay on the look out for Saweetie, it doesn’t look like she’ll be stopping anytime soon.
“She’s a student of the game and I think she’s going to have a long career.” – Max Gousse, Saweetie’s manager