The ladies of Hip Hop I profiled the most notable female rappers of the 1980s and 1990s. The ladies of Hip Hop II continues with Missy Elliott leading the way. The segment also reveals some of the most anticipated female emcees to come. Check out the slideshow.
Missy Elliott, 1991
Although her career started in the early 90s, Melissa “Missy” Elliott has proven that she can adapt to the changing times. Arriving from Portsmouth, Virginia, Missy Elliott has maintained her career for over two decades with singles “The Rain (Supa Dupa Fly)”, “Get Ur Freak On”, “Take Away”, “Pass that Dutch”, “Lose Control”, and “Ladies Night”. As a result, Elliott is the first and only female rapper to release six platinum-selling albums. Even now, Missy Elliott has been the most underrated rapper and producer of her time. The versatile emcee is partially credited for bringing unique musical sounds out of superstars Aaliyah, Timbaland, Ginuwine, Playa, and more. With seven albums under her belt, Elliott is currently working on her biographical film with Robert DeNiro and Jane Rosenthal and released her first single since 2005 off of her studio album Block Party, which will officially drop later this year. Missy Elliott leads this generation of female rappers with her futuristic sound and unstoppable staying power.
Rasheeda Buckner, who simply goes by Rasheeda, is an Atlanta-based rapper with five studio albums, one independent album, and several mixtapes in her portfolio. Although very well known in the underground scene, Rasheeda did not garner national fame until her television debut on VH1’s Love & Hip Hop: Atlanta.
Brianna Perry, 1999
Miami rapper Brianna Perry spent her entire childhood in the studio as a child of music impressionists. In the early 2000s, she was featured on rapper Trina’s “Kandi” from the album Diamond Princess. Working her way up the ever so high ladder, Perry became involved with several TV productions and mixtapes. Soon, the underground Hip Hop scene began to buzz about the model-like rapper. Nearly a decade into the game, Perry has released several music videos on Youtube and has been featured on prolific Hip Hop websites, such as Global Grind and The Source.
London rapper M.I.A., government name Mathangi Arulpragasam, has many labels. She is a record producer, model, fashion designer, and photographer. But, most people know her for her music and eclectic style. Her discography includes “Bad Girls”, “Galang”, and “Paper Planes”. M.I.A. is not an ordinary rapper. She spends much of her time creating political and social awareness in her music and supporting a variety of charities. As of 2012, she is officially signed to Jay-Z’s Roc Nation.
Philadelphia- bred Khia Finch, or simply Khia, started her rap career in 2000 as she transitioned from bartender to rapper. In her teen years, she would relocate to Tampa, Florida and be exposed to a world of rap that she never experienced before. Most known for her sex anthem “My Neck, My Back (Lick It)”, Khia’s discography consists of four albums. However, her career and potential has been marred by controversy as she has been involved in several rap “beefs”.
K. Flay, 2004
K. Flay, born Kristine Flaherty, is what we call the truly educated rapper. Originally from Wilmette, Illinois, Flay began a career in rap in 2004, while still attending Stanford University in California. Her first debut album was Suburban Rap Queen, which she released during her third year in college. She has made five releases since 2009.
Kid Sister, 2006
Melisa Young, stage name Kid Sister, originates from Chicago, Illinois. She gained notoriety in 2006 as she worked on her hit single “Pro Nails” featuring Kanye West. Her discography includes one album Ultraviolet released in 2009, a mixtape Kiss Kiss Kiss, and one EP Kiss & Tell. We are still waiting to see what this kid is made of.
Lil Mama, 2006
Singer, songwriter, and rapper, Niatia Kirkland, is a multi-talented performer from New York, New York. Known as Lil Mama to her fans, her first studio album contained several hit dance songs, such as “Lip Gloss”, “Shawty Get Loose”, and “G-Slide (Tour Bus)”. Throughout her career, Lil Mama has dealt with the loss of her mother and harsh criticism for jumping on a stage during a performance of “Empire State of Mind” by Jay-Z and Alicia Keys. She was a judge on America’s Best Dance Crew for about four years.
Rye Rye, 2006
M.I.A. sponsored artist Rye Rye, also known as Ryeisha Berrain, gained her notoriety when she toured with M.I.A. on the KALA Tour in 2007. Fresh to the game, Rye Rye recently released her first studio album Go! Pop! Bang! Her discography consists of notable songs “Bang”, “Sunshine”, “Never Will Be Mine”, and “New Thing”. Rye Rye has also been featured on several records and debuted her acting skills on the film 21 Jump Street. Many speculate that she will carry on the movement started by Missy Elliott.
Iggy Azalea, 2006
Born Amethyst Kelly, the unconventional female emcee Iggy Azalea reigns from New South Wales, Australia and is now represented by Hip Hop pioneer T.I.’s management group and label, Grand Hustle. Her mixtape project Ignorant Art released in 2011 gave Azalea incredible buzz. Highly controversial, Azalea has made a name for herself with songs “My World” and “Murda Bizness”. In addition, she was the first female rapper to be featured on XXL Magazine’s Top 10 Freshman cover issue. She has released two mixtapes, one EP (Glory), and one LP (The New Classic).
LoLa Monroe, 2006
Ethiopian born model LoLa Monroe got her start in entertainment as a music video vixen and actor. Formerly known as Angel Lola Luv, the beauty has made a name for herself with several mixtapes, including Untouchables, Batteries Not Included Hosted by DJ Holiday, and Lipstick & Pistols Hosted by DJ III Will. Shortly thereafter, Wiz Khalifa would sign LoLa Monroe to his label Taylor Gang. She is expected to make a studio album release in 2013.
Nicki Minaj, 2007
Onika Maraj, stage name Nicki Minaj, is arguably the ultimate female rap star at the moment. Her outrageous and creative antics ranging from her style to her public statements have garnered the attention of the Hip Hop and Pop music worlds. Originally from Queens, New York, the Trinidadian rapper made strides in the music industry when she released three mixtapes and captured the attention of rap mogul Lil Wayne of Cash Money Records. Since then, Minaj has released two studio albums, Pink Friday and Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded. Her discography includes songs “Starships”, “Pound the Alarm”, “Super Bass”, “Right Thru Me”, and “Fly”. Throughout her career, Minaj has received praise and criticism for her curvaceous body, ongoing beef with rapper Lil Kim, and simplistic lyrics. Today, Minaj is a judge alongside Mariah Carey on American Idol, has her own fragrance, and is pursuing a highly-anticipated acting career. Many claim that she has opened the door for the new generation of female rappers to infiltrate the music industry.
Kreayshawn, also known as Natassia Zolot, was born in San Francisco, but raised in Oakland. She has been credited for representing West Coast music, while managing the roles of music video director and rapper since 2008. Wild and original, Kreayshawn has faced major criticism for the type of music she releases and her style. Despite this, she has garnered success with songs such as, “Gucci, Gucci”, “Go Hard (La.La.La)”, and “Bumpin’, Bumpin’”. Kreayshawn’s overwhelming presence on social media sparked the interest of Columbia Records and gained her a recording contract. She released her latest album Somethin’ Bout Kreay in late September 2012 selling only 3,900 records in the U.S.
Azealia Banks, 2009
The moment you saw Azealia Bank’s phenomenally simplistic, but creative video for her single “212”, you had to know this girl had a future in Hip Hop. The Harlem, New York rapper who also goes by Miss Bank$ is known for her grungy lyrics, peculiar dancing, and innate confidence. Bank$ has been pursuing a professional career in Hip Hop since 2009. A few years later, Bank$ would add some of the most innovative tracks to her portfolio, including “L8R”, “Runnin’”, “Liquorice”, and “Luxury”. She’s also collaborated with Missy Elliot, Lady Gaga, and M.I.A. Bank$ released her mixtape Fantasea in July 2012. Her first official LP Broke with Expensive Taste will be released by Interscope Records with an anticipated date in February 2013. We can expect a lot from this gem.
Angel Haze, 2010
Dropping her first album Reservation in 2012, raptress Angel Haze has been on an incredible journey of experiences that have influenced her musically. Raised in Brooklyn, New York, Haze began her Hip Hop career writing poetry at the age of 11. But, it wasn’t until recently that Haze began to receive recognition for her work. Many describe her as the female Drake. Since her inception into the industry, Haze has been featured on several online blogs and magazines. Her discography includes songs “New York”, “Trust Issues”, and “Werkin’ Girls”.
Due to limited space and time, all of the female rappers then and now could not be listed, but are still important to the Hip Hop genre.
Queen Pen, Lady of Rage, Lady Sovereign, Amil, Charli Baltimore, Vita, Nitty Scott MC, Shawnna, Snow Tha Product, Feloni, Ana Tijoux, Dominique Young Unique, Lioness, 3D Na’Tee, Reema Major, Chinchilla Mink, and Honey Cocaine.