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Female rappers have dominated the rap game since the early 90s. They’ve demonstrated beyond the shadow of a doubt that they can reach the heights of their male counterparts and often exceed them.
Who are the best female rappers? Find out below.
16. Rah Digga
Rah Digga is a rapper and longtime member of Flipmode Squad.
She released her debut album Dirty Harriet in 2000, which then went on to feature on the Billboard 200 in the under-20 section.
She brings an enthusiastic and fun vibe to her music.
Her freestyle rap and battle rhymes are one thing, but her powerful voice is why she is featured on this list.
Related: The 14 Best Rappers of All Time
Rapsody is an American rapper who often incorporates metaphors and poetry into her songs to create her rhyming patterns and language.
Her second album, 2017’s Lailas Wisdom, received several Grammy nominations.
Her most recent album, Eve, was released in 2019 and was one of the most critically acclaimed albums of the year.
The album focused on strong, influential women in each song, including Oprah Winfrey and Michelle Obama.
She’s one of the new female rappers on the scene, and she’s certainly making waves.
14. Rico Nasty
Rico was born in 1997 in Washington and is part Puerto Rican and African-American. She is well-known as a singer, songwriter, and rapper.
She rapped throughout high school and self-published her work online.
In 2018, Rico was noticed by Atlantic Records, who signed her on via SoundCloud. Her popularity boomed in 2018 with the release of her single “Poppin.”
Due to her songs being reflective and intensely personal, she has gained popularity in the rapping world.
Related: The 21 Best Rap Songs of All Time
13. Cardi B
Cardi B is a reality star and American rapper known for her posts on social media. She was raised in a lower-income family, her dad being a cab driver and her mom a cashier.
She first came to national attention on the show Love and Hip-Hop as a regular actor, which helped her pursue her music dreams.
In 2017, Cardi’s single “Bodak Yellow” reached the top of the charts. Her album Invasion of Privacy gained certified triple platinum status not long after.
Cardi B is one of the hottest female rappers and continues to thrive in the rap world.
12. Nicki Minaj
You will be hard-pressed to find someone who hasn’t heard of Nicki Minaj.
She isn’t known as “The Queen of Rap” for nothing, having won nine A.M.A.s and four Billboard Awards. The “Anaconda” singer also holds 3 Guinness World Records.
Nicki had a challenging childhood. Her father had substance abuse issues and tried to burn down the family home to kill Nicki’s mother.
Luckily, this tough start in life only fueled the fire within her to become a strong woman, and her music shows this too.
11. Da Brat
Rapper Shawtae Harris, aka Da Brat, is an underground female rapper who first became popular in the mid-90s.
Her studio album Funkdafied and its single of the same name helped her gain popularity in the rap industry.
That album alone sold one million copies, making her the first female rapper to produce a platinum album.
Da Brat is a three-time Billboard award winner and has two Grammys. Her fans have labeled her the best female rapper in history, and her Spotify account has 670,000 monthly listeners.
10. MC Lyte
MC Lyte has had a long music career lasting over 30 years. That’s pretty impressive! MC Lyte was the first female to earn a gold single.
She showed that misogyny and sexism, which can be rampant in the rap world, could be overcome with sass, skills, and wit.
MC Lyte paved the way for future artists like Missy Elliot and Queen Latifah.
9. Megan Thee Stallion
Megan Pete, born in 1995, is well-known for her rap songs, including “Hot Girl Summer” and “Savage.”
Some describe her lyrics as explicit, sensual, and confident.
The rapper started writing rap songs at age 14 and started rapping professionally at 21, making her one of the best young female rappers.
Megan’s mother, Holly, a rapper at the time, took Megan to her recording sessions, where Meghan likely got a feel for the music.
Amazingly, she also has nearly 24 million followers.
8. Foxy Brown
In addition to her solo career, Foxy Brown has also collaborated with numerous hip-hop stars, such as Jay-Z and The Firm.
She began rapping in her teens and won a local talent contest, which led to her being invited to perform a cover of one of L.L. Cool J’s songs.
Despite criticism for her controversial lyrics and the explicit imagery in her videos, Foxy Brown has still managed to maintain her position as one of the best female rappers.
Her music is often centered around the mafia, fashion, and explicit themes with a contemporary edge.
Who is the most underrated female rapper? We would have to say British rapper M.I.A.
She’s mentioned on this list for her rap work on warfare, immigration, and political and social issues, which many people can relate to and respect her for.
She has the unique talent of combining various music genres with samples to create unforgettable songs.
M.I.A. has released five albums and gained critical acclaim with many of her singles, especially her 2007 hit “Paper Planes.”
After a six year break, she released her album Mata in 2022.
6. Left Eye
Lisa Lopes, better known as Left Eye, was a talented American rapper from the R&B girl group T.L.C.
She designed her outfits for her music videos, performances, and artwork. Lisa had two top singles on the album Supernova, which was released in 2001.
Sadly she was involved in a fatal car crash in 2002 before she got a chance to release any more rap music.
Her music still influences the modern rap scene, which is why she obviously deserves a spot on our best female rappers list.
Her professional rap career began at 18 when she was involved with a rap group EDGP, but it didn’t last long. Several years later, Eve appeared on the Bulworth soundtrack as Eve of Destruction.
In 1999, Let There Be Eve…Ruff Ryders First Lady, her debut album, was released, reaching the Billboard 200.
She now has an incredible 5.6 million monthly listeners on Spotify.
4. Lil’ Kim
Lil’ Kim is one of the best O.G. female rappers.
Born Kimberly Denise Jones, Lil’ Kim started her successful music career under the wing of Biggie Smalls.
The release of her debut album Hard Core in 1996 helped her hit the mainstream. Critics were impressed with her rap style, which was seen as raw, controversial, and aggressive.
Her songs often explicit, which paved the way for other female rappers like Cardi B and Megan The Stallion.
3. Queen Latifah
Queen Latifah is one of the most popular 90s female rappers.
The New Jersey native was first signed with Tommy Boy records. She released her debut album, All Hail the Queen, in 1989.
In 1993, she released Black Reign, the first album created by a female rapper to be certified gold.
She has also released an album to raise awareness about violence against black women.
2. Missy Elliot
Certified rap legend Missy Elliot entered the rap world when it was still male-dominated. She began singing in local choirs when she was young.
More than just a great rapper, Missy Elliot is also a talented songwriter and producer.
Her popularity soared when she released her single “The Rain” in 1997 as part of her debut album Supa Dupa Fly, which was certified platinum.
Timbaland, a friend of Missy’s, helped her create the female R&B band Frayze. She has also collaborated with Destiny’s Child, S.W.V., and Aaliyah.
1. Lauryn Hill
There’s only one way to top a best female rappers list, and that’s with Lauryn Hill.
Whether solo or with the Fugees, she’s made some of the best rap music ever.
The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill might just be the greatest rap album, period. Her songs like “That Thing,” “I Need You Baby,” and masterful cover of “Killing Me Softly (With His Song)” are nothing less than legendary.
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