Top 15 Female Hip Hop Artists
From the 1980s to the 2000s
In a male dominated industry there has always been just as talented and gifted, if not more, female hip hop artists. Years and years of being overshadowed, female rappers have finally received much of the recognition that they deserved.
What some modern day hip-hop fans and rap artists fail to realize are the women in hip hop that opened the doors and paved the way for today’s top female artists. Since the 1980s, there have always been a female rap artist that was at the top of the rap game, and the below list will showcase the talent that women in hip hop have provided over the years.
Top 15 Female Hip Hop Artists
1. Missy Elliot
From her 1997 release of Supa Dupa Fly to well into the mid-2000s, Missy Elliot dropped hit after hit while selling millions of records. Over the course of her career, some of her top songs included “The Rain (Supa Dupa Fly)”, “Get Ur Freak On”, “Lose Control”, “Work It”, along with several others. With her record sales and accolades, Missy Elliot has become one of the most successful hip hop artists of all-time.
Spotify: Missy Elliot | Apple Music: Missy Elliot | Youtube: Missy Elliot
2. Nicki Minaj
Introduced to the world during the late 2000s and early 2010s, but first with Gucci Mane, as she was only viewed as a mixtape artist. Following her stint with Gucci Mane, Nicki Minaj joined Lil Wayne’s Young Money and would eventually become one of the world’s most notable pop stars. After millions of records sold and gaining millions of fans worldwide, it can be debated if Nicki Minaj is the greatest female hip hop artist of all-time. As of today, Nicki Minaj is still releasing music and is still at the very top of the rap game.
Spotify: Nicki Minaj | Apple Music: Nicki Minaj | Youtube: Nicki Minaj
3. Lil Kim
Queen B is probably the most iconic female hip hop artists of all-time. Lil Kim was well ahead of her time as many of the current top female artists seem to be knowingly, or unknowingly, adopting her raunchy style. With three platinum selling albums, Hard Core, The Notorious K.I.M., and La Bella Mafia, Lil Kim easily left her mark in rap history.
Spotify: Lil Kim | Apple Music: Lil Kim | Youtube: Lil Kim
4. Queen Latifah
Debuting in 1989 with “All Hail the Queen,” Queen Latifah has managed to release two gold selling albums, Black Reign (1993) and The Dana Owens Album (2004), and a handful of hit songs, like “U.N.I.T.Y.” and “Ladies First”. What is special about Queen Latifah, she was one of the first hip hop artists to transform from music to film and television.
Spotify: Queen Latifah | Apple Music: Queen Latifah | Youtube: Queen Latifah
5. Lauryn Hill
Despite releasing only one solo album, The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill, arguably one of the best albums of all-time, Lauryn Hill is still considered as one of the top female MCs in hip-hop history. Making a name for herself with the rap group The Fugees, she transformed herself into a well versatile solo artist.
Spotify: Lauryn Hill | Apple Music: Lauryn Hill | Youtube: Lauryn Hill
6. Salt N Pepa
These three women, Salt, Pepa, and DJ Spinderella, were one of the first hip hop acts that reached a pop star level of stardom. Known for songs like “Push It,” “Let’s Talk About Sex,” and “Shoop,” Salt-N-Pepa dominated hip hop throughout the late 1980s and early 1990s.
Spotify: Salt N Pepa | Apple Music: Salt N Pepa | Youtube: Salt N Pepa
7. Roxanne Shante
A true pioneer for women rappers, Roxanne Shante was one of the first female hip hop artists that not only gained notoriety, but also respect for her craft as a hip hop artist during a time when rap was just starting and dominated by men.
Spotify: Roxanne Shante | Apple Music: Roxanne Shante | Youtube: Roxanne Shante
While of late, many may recognize Eve as an actress that starred in movies and a television series, but the Philly MC, with the help of the Ruff Ryders, was one of the top rap artists during the early 2000s. Debuting in late 1999 with Let There Be Eve…Ruff Ryders’ First Lady, Eve would bless the hip hop world with four albums and hit songs like “Love Is Blind,” “Gangsta Lovin’,” “Let Me Blow Ya Mind,” and multiple others.
Spotify: Eve | Apple Music: Eve | Youtube: Eve
Da Baddest is also one of the coldest hip hop artists of the 2000s, while also being the most successful southern female rap artist of all-time. Her introduction to the hip hop community through Trick Daddy’s “Nann N****” single led her to taking control of her career and eventually becoming one of the most celebrated southern MCs.
Spotify: Trina| Apple Music: Trina | Youtube: Trina
10. MC Lyte
Easily one of the most respected hip hop artists of the 1990s as consistency led to MC Lyte’s longevity as well admiration for her artistic abilities, being one of the best hip hop lyricists of all-time.
Spotify: MC Lyte| Apple Music: MC Lyte | Youtube: MC Lyte
11. Da Brat
The Chicago MC had help from an Atlanta producer by the name of Jermaine Dupri. Combining one of the best lyricists of her time with some of the best production of her time, Da Brat was able to establish a successful career after releasing her first hit song, “Funkdafied.”
Spotify: Da Brat | Apple Music: Da Brat | Youtube: Da Brat
12. Foxy Brown
Foxy Brown is female hip hop artist that at times seems to be one of hip hop’s most forgotten legends. With a strong presence in the rap game during the late 1990s, Foxy Brown released Ill Na Na, Chyna Doll, and Broken Silence, all platinum and gold certified, as well being part of the rap group The Firm with Nas and AZ.
Spotify: Foxy Brown | Apple Music: Foxy Brown | Youtube: Foxy Brown
13. Mia X
Mama Drama was able to hold her own as one of the first true southern female hip hop artists, while also not being overshadowed by Master P and the large roster of No Limit records. After only releasing three albums, with the two Unlady Like and Mama Drama being the ones that reached success, Mia X will still go down in history as one of the best southern MCs.
Spotify: Mia X | Apple Music: Mia X | Youtube: Mia X
14. Gangsta Boo
Similar to Mia X, Gangsta Boo held her own as being one of the top Hypnotize Mind artists and the most standout artist of Three 6 Mafia. Along with being part of the Triple Six, Gangsta Boo was able to have a solo career with the hit song “Where Dem Dollas At,” on the southern classic Enquiring Minds. Youtube: Gangsta Boo
Spotify: Gangsta Boo | Apple Music: Gangsta Boo | Youtube: Gangsta Boo
15. Remy Ma
While a stint in prison shorten her career, Remy Ma was among the top female hip hop artists of the early 2000s, as well one of New York’s top rappers during that time. Her first album was released in 2005, There’s Something About Remy: Based on a True Story, but not until 2016 with the hit song “All The Way Up” did she truly receive the respect that she deserved.
Spotify: Remy Ma | Apple Music: Remy Ma | Youtube: Remy Ma