There are times in life when I exclusively listen to rappers, and when those times come, a large percentage of the rap music I consume is made by women. Why? Because the themes about struggles, injustice, sexuality, love, insecurities, and confidence are relatable. Often, I can get in touch with either the emotion that inspired the song, or the emotion the song was meant to evoke. Listening to women’s sounds helps me create a safe space within myself. Essentially, I feel connected to myself and to the artist.
We have been blessed with incredible female rap this year — from the meteoric rise and acclaimed debut album of Cardi B, to the highly anticipated return of Nicki Minaj. Still, there are so many other women making rap music that don’t get nearly enough credit for their contributions to the game. And after recently being let down by one of rap’s most prominent voices, it feels especially important to celebrate the art of emerging female rappers.
Here is a list spotlighting only a small portion of those women. I encourage all of you to to use this as a starting point; conduct your own research and find even more artists who are doing incredible things. The present is female.
G.L.A.M. is a fiery, hilarious lyricist from California. ’90s culture influences her music heavily, and she uses her voice to speak about life and the world around her. Her content is completely unique, because it’s true to her. She released a mixtape, Auxygen, last year and has shared a slew of singles since then. You can also catch G.L.A.M. as a co-host on BlapChat (a podcast about music production). Listen to her music here.
I came across Marygold in 2015 after hearing the hazy, accent-filled sound of her song, “New R Lean.” From there, I did some backtracking and discovered that Marygold was an accomplished artist with serious accolades under her belt. She’s been featured in a Drake video, copped a Noisey feature, and managed to remain humble through it all. I foresee a humongous glow up soon. Listen to her music here.
Tierra Whack is a spitter from Philly whose visuals are just as intriguing as her music. Her meaningful “Mumbo Jumbo” music video has amassed over 200k views in just a few months. The musician, who doubles as a fly-ass dresser, has played shows with Awkwafina and Vince Staples. Plus, the queen, Missy Elliott, has shown her love. Listen to her music here.
Connie Diiamond has bars and flows for days. I’m in awe. Rolling with a nice Boogie Down Bronx cadence and a knack for connecting with other bumping artists, the 24-year-old is setting herself up to make major, major waves. Listen to her music here.
5Omeretta The Great
Anytime someone follows their name with “The Great,” you know they have loads of confidence and the skills to back it up. Omeretta The Great is a shining example of that. The Zone 3 native has had lots of rough experiences in her young life, but allows the darkness to inspire instead of engulf. Her lyrics have helped her rack up over half a million Instagram followers and a deal with TSO Records. I have a feeling that her name will be synonymous with even more greatness soon. Listen to her music here.
DonMonique is certainly not a newbie. She burst on the scene with her 2015 EP Thirst Trap, and quickly caught the attention of Kylie Jenner. Since then, the Don has been featured in an Adidas commercial, rapped for NYLON, and has shared that her Black Kate Moss EP is almost done. We’re ready, ma. Listen to her music here.
Another Bronx-bred MC, Maliibu Miitch is doing things her way. She’s been signed twice, but this time around, she’s riding for herself. I love when women make their own way, regardless of the circumstances. Taking inspiration from legends like Lauryn Hill and Lil Kim, Miitch is putting her spin on things by telling us about how the world really works, according to her experiences. Listen to her music here.
If you’re into attitude, Black hair, and no nonsense lyrics, Leikeli47 is the woman for you. Leikeli is clearly into anonymity — she dons a mask at all times. In a 2015 interview with Noisey, she said it’s because “It distracts from everything that everybody would normally go to: what’s she look like, what’s her shape, her complexion.” We live in a space that immediately picks artists apart, namely because of our access to their lives via social media. You can miss Miss 47 with the bullshit though, and just cop her latest project, Wash & Set.
“Introverted, please leave me alone” is my favorite line from Chelsea Reject‘s “KidhultHood,” a catchy cut that perfectly describes being in your 20s. There’s an eternal quality to Reject’s music — her most recent tracks are unconfined by time or trend. That’s what happens when you put your soul into your craft; it successfully lives on. Her music project THIS IS NOT MY FINAL FORM is coming later this year. Keep your ears open and listen to her here.
10TT The Artist
Need something to get you hype while you’re on your way to the club? Pull up some TT The Artist. The Baltimore-based MICA graduate makes music that will make you shake your body until you can’t anymore. TT, born Tedra Wilson, has had her standout voice featured on Broad City and Insecure, and is in the process of making a documentary about Baltimore’s music and dance culture. I love a multi-talented queen. Listen to her music here.