5 Greatest Girl Rappers of All Time
Photo: Peter Pakvis (Getty Images)
When someone mentions rappers, people immediately think of the so-called gangsta rap and its male representatives like 2Pac, Biggie, NWA, and others. However, they seem to forget that there are actually a number of ladies out there who made quite a mark in the world of rap and hip-hop over the years. Girl rappers like Lauryn Hill, Missy Elliot, and even Queen Latifah fortified women’s place in this seemingly hostile music world basically helped promote equality. To honor these exceptional artists, here is our list of the 7 most talented girl rappers ever in no particular order.
First up is a girl from a newer generation of rappers that goes by the name of M.I.A. Considering how the real name of this British musician is Mathangi Arulpragasam, it seems logical that she would change it to something a bit easier to pronounce. Ever since her debut album in 2005, she gained a lot of recognition for her powerful lyrics and unique voice. Her pseudonym is actually as layered as her lyrics since it is both a tribute to her cousin who was “missing in action,” and an abbreviation of “Maya in Acton” because it’s an area she used to live in.
Some call MC Lyte the absolute queen of hip-hop and we dare not disagree. This Brooklyn-born rapper was not your average gangsta bad girl like many others that overflowed the scene. She got into the business at 14 and quickly realized how to make herself stand out from all other MCs at the time. In 1988, she released her first album called Lyte as a Rock, that featured a number of great tracks like I Am Woman, Paper Thin, and 10% Dis that immediately put her in the spotlight. Her latest album called the Legend was released in 2015 and showed everyone that she’s still got it even after 12 years of inactivity.
You’re probably mostly familiar with Queen Latifah thanks to her silly roles in various movies where she often plays some sort of comic relief. However, before all that came to be, Queen Latifah established herself as a rather successful rapper that inspired a lot of young girls to follow in her footsteps. Around the same time MC Lyte debuted with her amazingly influential album, Queen Latifah (born Dana Elaine Owens) also started her career as a beatboxer and slowly made her transition to rap. Latifah’s lyrics always tried to deal with social issues, especially the problems of black women in the USA. Although she’s nowadays more famous for her TV appearances, her hip-hop career still makes her one of the most influential girl rappers ever.
Another rapper-turned-actress that deserves a place on our list is the gorgeous Eve. She started her career in 1998 signing with Dr Dre, who obviously had an eye for spotting young talents. Early on, she made a number of guest appearances and collaborated with DMX, and the Roots, only to make her debut with the album called Let There Be Eve…Ruff Ryders’ First Lady. It achieved incredible commercial success and made a star out of Eve. Among her most famous singles are collaborations with Gwen Stefani on Let Me Blow Ya Mind, and with Alicia Keys on Gangsta Lovin’, and they both topped the charts at the time. In later years, she focused more on acting, but never forgot her rapping roots.
Finally, there’s Lauryn Hill, whom many consider the most important girl rapper of all times. Lauryn Hill’s incredible vocals became world-famous thanks to her band Fugees that also featured Pras Michel and Wyclef Jean, two Haitian-born musicians. One of the Fugees’ greatest songs was a cover of Killing Me Softly that Lauryn performed almost acapella, mesmerizing listeners around the world. Upon the group’s break-up, Lauryn Hill started her successful solo career with the album The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill that featured memorable tracks like Doo Wop (That Thing), Ex–Factor, as well as, Everything Is Everything. Although she didn’t release any more albums afterwards, she kept on touring and promoting her timeless tunes.
Who do you think off first when someone mentions girl rappers? Let us know.