If you were challenged to name as many current women rappers as you can and then asked to do the same for male rappers, I’m guessing your list would be pretty heavy with testosterone. I bet you could name a few veteran rappers, like Foxy Brown, Lil Kim, Missy Elliott, and Remy Ma — but not too many artists making music now.
News Flash: Women rappers are NOT an endangered species. While there may be fewer of them than male rappers, female emcees are very present and have strong voices — a lot stronger than some of the bullshit you hear on the radio.
Finding them often means turning off the radio and doing a little digging on the internet. Below you’ll find 10 current, emerging and experienced women rappers and links to where you can download their music (legally, of course). Each has their own unique style.
• Angel Haze
Detroit-born poet and lyricist, Angel Haze, is probably the most genuine woman rapper on the scene. Haze is a soldier with nuclear skills, who carries no armor. Her lyrics are wildly aggressive, while at the same, honest and vulnerable. She’s compiled several mixtapes and her upcoming album, Dirty Gold, is set to release this fall.
Popular songs: “A Tribe Called Red”, “Werkin’ Girlz”, “New York”, “Cleaning Out My Closet” (Trigger Warning: “Cleaning Out My Closet” is Angel Haze’s rape survival story. It will make you cry, but it’s a song you must hear.)
• Lady Leshurr
Those of us who love British accents will love Lady Leshurr. She’s a US and UK favorite who understands the struggles of women rappers. Earlier this year, she turned down a deal with Atlantic Records because she didn’t like their approach: “Nicki Minaj is your competition and we will blow her out of the water,” they told her. Leshurr explains that the industry is always pitting women against one another — but she won’t have it. She started her own label, and continues to create music with confidence and skill. Her 5 mixtapes and recent album Off the Lesh all showcase that power and pride in her lyrics.
Popular songs: “Get It In”, “L Yeah”, and “Lego”.
Yes, Eve is still relevant! If you slept on her last album, you missed out. Many know Eve by her throwback songs “Who’s that Girl” and “Tambourine” from the early 2000’s. Though a hip hop veteran, she remains vibrant and dynamic in her most recent album, Lip Lock, released earlier this year.
Popular Songs: “Grind or Die”, “Eve”, “She Bad Bad”
Eternia is the brains behind “My Favorite Rapper Wears a Skirt”, a slogan she created for a workshop about rap music advocating for women. Though her last album released in 2010, she recently broke her hiatus with her newest song “Last Offering”, a tribute to Kendrick Lamar’s “Hiii Power” where she unpacks the problems and concerns on her mind.
Popular songs: “The BBQ (Remix)”, “Goodbye”, “Evidence”.
• Brianna Perry
If you’re searching for a few twerking songs, Miss Perry is one to look up. Her version of “Rack City” is scores above anything Tyga could ever do in his dreams. While “Get It Girl” and “Crack Like This” are best to add to your dance playlist, her song “Dear Hip Hop” takes a more serious tone, addressing why the genre keeps its back turned to women rappers. Her lyrics are playful and have a girl-power kind of vibe.
Download her mixtapes Face Off, Symphony #9, and Symphony No. 9: The Collection.
• Jean Grae
Jean Grae is no stranger to the music industry. Since 2002, she’s put out seven albums and has another coming out before the end of this year. Her tongue-lashing lyrics are blunt and clever. She’s worked with the many rappers including Wale, Immortal Technique, Eternia, and Talib Kweli. Look out for her forthcoming album Cake or Death.
Popular Songs: “Going Crazy”, “My Crew”, “Mean Jean”.
• Genesis Be
Only the boldest of artists would write a song entitled “Tampon’s and Tylenol.” This New York-based emcee wears many hats, as a performer, radio personality, and the founder of her independent record label. Her upcoming album, Genesequa is set to release later this year.
Popular songs: “Go to Work”, “Precious Beyond Measure”, “Laughing at Ya Lames”
• Coco Pelia
Add Coco to your “Emcee’s with Advanced Degrees” playlist (you know, once you get around to making a playlist with that title). This Oakland-based rapper with a master’s in Entertainment Business dedicates her most recent song “Misses Shoot ’Em Down” to “any woman or girl who has ever been disrespected, targeted, or underestimated as a female.” Her debut album will drop later this fall.
• Maya Jupiter
As the lyrics of her most popular song goes, “This woman is phenomenal.” This Australian-based conscious rapper is one to add to your “Uplifting Music” playlist. Her last album Maya Jupiter is inspirational, soulful, and is infused with a bit of dancehall. Maya Jupiter incorporates her Mexican-turkish heritage in a few of her songs, infusing them with Spanish language and stories of her upbringing.
Popular songs: “Phenomenal”, “Crazy”, “Canta”.
• Tiye Phoenix
Though she’s been pretty quiet for a few years, Tiye P. had to be included on this list because her lyrics feel so authentic. She’s another uplifting artist who’s not afraid to speak her mind and be herself. Her album Half Woman Half Amazing has an India Aire kind of feel — the kind of music that reminds us of life lessons we often forget.
Popular Songs: “Killin Everybody”, “Master Plan”, “Skybound”
Don’t like my suggestions? Wanna do your own digging? Start with datpiff.com to find mixtapes, Soundcloud for individual song releases, and Youtube to find almost anything.