This summer, the temperature isn’t the only thing that’s heating up. With rap dominating the nation’s top music charts, female MCs are continuing to shine in what was a predominantly male industry for decades. For many years, it seemed as if Nicki Minaj was the only female artist of the newer generation to attain success within the genre. Here are five female rappers who have emerged within recent years to redefine the hip-hop game for the better.
Megan Thee Stallion
With her mother being a former rapper, Megan Thee Stallion was exposed to rap at a very young age. Following in her mother’s footsteps, on May 17, she released her first studio album, Fever, which received universal acclaim and peaked at No. 10 on the Billboard charts — an impressive feat for this Houston-based artist’s first rodeo. Her signature sound is paving the way for a new age of Southern rap, one where a confident, sensual and lyrical woman takes center stage. Following her back to her early days at Texas Southern University, her loyal fans show no signs of stopping their support as they typify her slogan of a “hot girl summer.”
Rico Nasty is the embodiment of “sugar trap.” Her unique fusion of bubblegum cuteness and a toughened, unapologetic attitude is central to her lyrics, style and persona. She’s no one-trick pony — that’s for sure. With each album drop, a new side of the artist is revealed, from her Tacobella facade, which incorporates upbeat synth sounds, to her punk Trap Lavigne alter ego that has unleashed its rage in her recent works. If there’s a singular reason to explain Rico Nasty’s rapid popularity, it’s her ability to continuously present her truest self through her music.
This Chicago artist developed her passion for rapping through poetry, having competed in several slam poetry competitions and open mic nights. Her cadence from her days of spoken word carries into her music, creating a contagious and soothing quality in her songs. Her jazzy and soulful sounds are a much-needed refresher from the current mumbling direction of rap. If you’ve ever wondered where her moniker comes from, its meaning emphasizes the importance the rapper places on not restricting herself to any particular label and allowing her creativity to flourish.
From making the song “Mooo!” with a meme intention to encountering her fair share of the “cancel” culture online, Doja Cat serves as the best example of modern-day culture meets music. She’s from Los Angeles, but with her creative visuals, humorous song meanings and edgy early-2000s outfits, she’s really an artist from and for the internet.
Always seen wearing a balaclava, ski mask or bandana to cover her face, Leikeli47 channels courage, freedom and power by taking the focus away from looks — a double standard for female artists in the industry — and placing it on her music. Having received a co-sign from Jay-Z with his inclusion of her single “Fuck the Summer Up” on his Tidal playlist, her empowering, thought-provoking lyrics are garnering attention from everyone. She uses her songs to transport listeners through her Brooklyn stomping grounds and into a world of her own. Acrylic, her second studio album, weighs heavy with symbolism, from speaking on the safe havens that nail salons create to referring to the literal hard substance of acrylic to show fans that this is one of her harder records to date.
Each of these women has an unique and diversified sound, showcasing the variety across the female side of the industry. As today’s rap undergoes several changes, female artists are reclaiming the crown that sat atop the heads of their male counterparts for years.
Contact Erika Lee at [email protected] .