It’s Time To Wake Up!
We’re approaching the end of Q1 already! This calls for better weather and more music to ride to with the homies. With the massive influx of music, keeping up with all of it is daunting. However, don’t fret because I am here to help point you in the right direction. Every day, I’ll update this article with an artist to check out so follow us on twitter if you don’t already. You don’t want to miss these gems, promise. It is also Women’s History Month so every one of these rappers also happen to be a woman. Hip hop is essentially about life, the individual lives we lead and the collective life we experience together. Women are very much a part of that and important in its progress as much as the next man. I also know for a fact that these women can rap circles around your favorite artists today. So, let’s get started!
Women Are The Muses And Creators
When speaking of Chicago artists, we can’t forget to add Noname in that conversation. She’s no stranger to rap or poetry as she began as a spoken word poet performing at open mics throughout the Chi. Many of us first heard her distinct voice on fellow Chi native, Chance The Rapper’s mixtape, Acid Rap. Her verse on “Lost” resounded with us on a level we weren’t expecting. Noname’s matter of fact flow paired with her whimsical wordplay puts her in a lane all her own. Since then, she’s landed more features with Chance, Mick Jenkins and Kirk Knight. In 2016, she released her debut mixtape Telefone. This project received critical acclaim and I can attest that this project is worth the time. Noname is transparent and candid with her story as she incorporates personal lessons with the sounds of Chicago. This vulnerability she brings to hip hop is crucial and its impact demonstrates how deeply this need runs in the community.
Tennessee is home to some of hip hop’s greatest like Three 6 Mafia and newcomers like Isaiah Rashad and YG Tut. A new face from Chattanooga emerged last year and she goes by BbyMutha. She’s a mother of four who found her outlet in hip hop. Raising a family on her own, she creates a narrative that doesn’t paint her as a victim or bitter. BbyMutha opens up to us about those tough lessons she’s learned over bass heavy production infused with that legendary Tennessee blues sound. The resilience required to raise a family and by yourself seems insurmountable but BbyMutha never let motherhood hinder her from living her best life. Her style is all her own, vibrant and sparkly, which gives us a peek into her personality. Her flow is accented with that leisurely southern drawl as her bars roll off the tongue like honey. She’s already released two projects this year BbyShoe and Muthaz Day 2 both of which are EPs available on soundcloud. BbyMutha is just one picture of the multifaceted woman: an artist, a businesswoman, and a mother.
3. Megan Thee Stallion
Houston, TX has a reputation for a few different things: chopped and screwed music, candy painted lowriders and beautiful women. Over the past two years, a young woman from HTX has blown people away with her lyrical ability and her alluring sensuality as well. Her name is Megan Thee Stallion and she’s fearless in all that she does. A dancer and model as well, Megan wears many hats as she continues to blaze her own trail in the rap game. She released her first single in 2016, “Like A Stallion”, as her stature is tall and commanding. Yet, she captivates the eye with her looks and captivates the ear with her bars. Since then, videos of Megan rapping in The Houston Cypher surfaced and spread exponentially fast. She released an EP last year titled Make It Hot. Megan Thee Stallion is just 22 years old and is another representation of women’s effortless ability to be sexy and ruthless. Her flow is steady yet versatile and her delivery comes with such force you have no choice but to take a listen.
For some of us, it would appear that Rapsody is an overnight success however, this is far from true. The North Carolina native has packed bars full of metaphors and wit since 2008. While it’s been a lengthy process, her work ethic and talent couldn’t go unnoticed. Producer and professor at NCCU, 9th Wonder, saw her potential and signed her to It’s A Wonderful World Music Group. Rapsody’s been cultivating her sound and fine tuning her flows ever since then. She broke through the mainstream airwaves even further when Kendrick Lamar featured her on his track “Complexion (A Zulu Love)”. Yet prior to landing that feature, she’s worked with a multitude of artists on all levels providing that audio dope on which we are now hooked. Last year her second studio album, Laila’s Wisdom, was released. I personally had a great experience listening to this album, executive produced by 9th Wonder. Laila’s Wisdom encompassed the hills and valleys of womanhood with tracks like “Sassy” and “Knock On My Door”. The latter is a playful tale about Rapsody shooting her shot with the next door neighbor. Rapsody is another example of the individuality of women. We are all extraordinary in a multitude of ways and we can kick a mean 16 too.
We’re westward bound now as we land in the Bay, Oakland to be exact. There’s a subculture and sound unique to this area of California with pioneers like Mac Dre, Too $hort and Luniz. Now in this new millenium we have the likes of YG, SOB x RBE and Kamaiyah. She released her first single in 2015, “How Does It Feel” which awarded her a spot on Pitchfork’s and NPR’s best songs of the year list. Her style is a mix of east and west as her influences stem from Missy Elliott and TLC but remains true to the lively Bay Area bounce. In 2016, she released her first mixtape A Good Night in the Ghetto. Her flow is casual yet coated with confidence; she maintains a simple rhyme scheme that makes for excellent feel good music. Last year she secured a spot on XXL’s Freshmen List as the only woman, and then releasing her second mixtape Before I Wake in November. This tape is nine tracks of funky synths and a leisurely cadence perfect for riding around with the top down. Get into this young queen of the Bay.
6. Rico Nasty
This DMV beauty is just as fiery as she is cool. Rico Nasty is the fusion of punk and hip hop we didn’t know we needed until now. Her personality fills up any space in its entirety, from photos, music videos, and concert venues. She’s been making music since 2015 but her music began making bigger splashes in 2016. Her hits “iCarly” and “Hey Arnold” are bubbly trap songs that blend the innocence of our childhood with the reality of our adulthood. Rico Nasty’s flow is energetic as she moves between hard hitting bars and singsong cadence. Her style is definitely punk: bright colors, platform shoes, fishnets and hair that can defy gravity. She has a more affectionate and warmhearted side to her called Tacobella. The difference between Tacobella and Rico Nasty is simple; she allows her vulnerability to shine through her tough exterior. Last year, she allowed Tacobella to tell her stories with Tales Of Tacobella. In an interview with Complex, she explained how she felt listeners wouldn’t be interested in her because she didn’t bare it all in her song “Once Upon A Time”. As we can see from this list and from the many other women in hip hop, there’s more than one way to captivate the people. Rico Nasty’s newest project, Sugar Trap 2 is out now and she tucked Tacobella away for this one. That means we can expect that in your face, no holds barred flow and exuberant personality that caught our attention in the first place.
7. Nitty Scott
There’s nothing like the energy emitting from Brooklyn. The home of our favorite legends like Yasiin Bey and Biggie but also to newcomers like Don Q and Nitty Scott. Rapping since her adolescence, Nitty Scott was destined to be a force in hip hop. She began her journey first writing poetry at 14 years old. When she moved to Brooklyn at 17, her poetry transitioned into lyrics and punchlines. After she graduated from school, it was her mission to keep her dream alive and pave her path to success. Nitty Scott graced the stage at the BET Hip Hop Awards in 2011 and nabbed Kendrick Lamar and Action Bronson for her debut EP, The Boombox Diaries, Vol. 1 in 2012. She continued to demonstrate her lyrical agility featured on tracks Styles P and Statik Selektah. Her personal style combines her heritage, Black and Puerto Rican, with that classic streetwear appeal. Nitty Scott also adds that touch of sexiness in her wardrobe and bars. Her debut album, The Art Of Chill, released in 2014. Rich in sound and smooth in delivery, she held her own. Now her latest album, Creature, has been out since last year and her ability hasn’t faltered. With influences like MC Lyte, ATCQ and Slum Village, would expect her to fall off? I wouldn’t either.
8. Tierra Whack
We head to Philly and meet up with emerging emcee, Tierra Whack. She, too, picked up her pen in her youth at the tender age of nine. Poetry was her conduit into rap and she’s been at the wheel ever since. Whack started gaining some recognition when she was filmed rapping in Philly cyphers. Her flow is rapid yet intricate and can switch at the drop of a dime. Her love for the macabre shines through in her music videos, most notably, “Mumbo Jumbo” which blew everyone away. The stark contrasts of white and red as stone faced dentists operate on her teeth until she has an eerie, ill-fitted wide toothed smile. She released her first track three years ago, “Color Blind” and has since released singles periodically from then til now. Many people assumed that “Mumbo Jumbo” was commentary on the increase of mumble rappers and how they’ve saturated the industry. However, that’s far from the case. She spoke with The Inquirer in Philly and revealed that “the day before [I recorded it], I got my tooth pulled”…”I had the gauze in my mouth and I was like leh-leh-leh-mbleh — you know, the mumbling or whatever”. Sometimes, it really isn’t that serious. Nonetheless, her talent is serious and her inspiration comes from Missy Elliott, OutKast and Eminem.
Now we’re bringing it back up to Brooklyn where the lovely DonMonique resides. Tha Don Dada aka The Black Kate Moss is more than just a pretty face. She’s got an even sharper tongue ready to body any beat that comes her way. DonMonique’s been gearing up for the release of her latest project with new singles, “Black Kate Moss” and “30 Block”. She began her breakthrough in 2014 with her catchy party bop, “Pilates”. Soon after, DonMonique’s debut Thirst Trap EP hit the internet airwaves in 2015 where we can really hear her shine. Talking greasy like a Brooklyn girl would, she’s an excellent blend of the NY grit we love and the sensuality of womanhood. Tha Don is never afraid to speak her mind and takes no prisoners whether it be in her style or her music. Though she wastes no time with those who see her as a threat, she is all for unity between women in hip hop. Her major influence is Foxy Brown and it’s apparent in her music but also serves as a testament to the importance of female figures in the rap game. DonMonique can now be that same influence for a young girl who loves hip hop and decides on day to pick up her pen. Staying true to her roots is never an issue for Tha Don.
Being that NY is the birthplace of hip hop, I have to show love to the ladies representing to the fullest. Our final artist is Junglepussy, a woman who’s never been afraid to use her voice. She speaks to what black women experience from relationships to self image. Tall and slender with cocoa brown skin, her existence alone poses as a threat to many. Regardless, she refused to inhibit who she is for anybody else’s comfort. Junglepussy began rapping in high school in a group with her friends called Primp. Shortly after graduating, she released her first single “Cream Team” in 2013 and caught Erykah Badu’s ears. Junglepussy credits Ms. Badu as one of her major influences as well as Brandy, Kelis and Lady Saw to name a few. She is of Jamaican and Trinidadian descent which plays a vital role in her style and content. Pro-black and pro-woman, she carries these ideals with pride. Her flow is bold and colorful exuding confidence that is quite contagious. If you find yourself in a place of doubt, just play her album Pregnant With Success which dropped in 2015. Growing up, Brandy was the one who taught her that she could be a woman of culture and sexiness via the hit show Moesha. The two have never been mutually exclusive and Junglepussy learned that lesson. She is another example of the importance of representation and inclusion.
Thank you for sticking with me! The next time you speak about hip hop and those involved, understand that women play an integral role in the grand scheme of it as well. We create and inspire. We are dimensional beings who can be sexy, political, vulnerable and unrelenting. Happy Women’s History Month!