When most people think of rap music, they picture male artists like Eminem and Kanye West. However, there have been many successful female rappers who have achieved great fame and success in the world of hip-hop.
One of the most popular and notable names in the world of hip-hop during the late 80s and early 90s is Lil’ Kim. Another great name from this era would be Queen Latifah, while Missy Elliott started to make a name for herself in the mid-to-late 90s.
Jumping forward to the latest generation of rap, and you will be more familiar with names like Doja Cat, Nicki Minaj and Megan Thee Stallion to name a few.
In this article, we’ll take a look at some of the most popular and influential women to ever make it big in the rap genre — including some of the greatest names in previous years and top artists of today.
10 of the Most Talented and Famous Female Rappers Ever
The world of hip-hop has a long and storied history, and over the years it has been dominated by male performers. However, there are also many successful female rappers who have made their mark on this genre of music and gained widespread popularity among audiences. In the list below, we will take a look at some of the most iconic female rappers, including Lil’ Kim, Missy Elliott, Nicki Minaj and more.
Nicki Minaj is one of the best female rappers of all time. With her unique style and bold lyrics, she has established herself as a force to be reckoned with in the music industry. She got her start in 2007 when she signed to Lil Wayne’s record label Young Money Entertainment, and soon after released her first album, “Pink Friday.” Her follow-up album “Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded” was even more successful, and cemented Nicki Minaj’s status as one of the top female rappers in the world. Some of Nicki Minaj’s most iconic songs include “Super Bass,” “Anaconda,” and “Starships.”
Queen Latifah is another one of the greats when it comes to female rappers. Born Dana Elaine Owens in Newark, New Jersey, she started her career as a rapper and singer in the late ’80s under the stage name “Ladies Fresh.” After gaining some popularity with her first album, Queen Latifah decided to take on more acting roles, and has since starred in a number of popular movies and TV shows. Despite stepping away from music for many years, Queen Latifah remains one of the most iconic and talented female rappers of all time. Some of her most memorable songs include “U.N.I.T.Y.,” “Latifah’s Had It Up 2 Here,” and “Black Hand Side.”
Lil Kim is another legendary female rapper who rose to fame in the ’90s. Her debut album, “Hardcore,” was released in 1995 and went on to become certified platinum. She followed that up with another successful album two years later, titled “Not Tonight.” Lil Kim’s gritty rap style and sexy image quickly made her a fan favorite, and she has continued to influence new generations of female rappers. Some of her most iconic songs include “Crush On You,” “Magic Stick” (with 50 Cent), and “Lighters Up.”
Cardi B is one of the most successful female rappers of all time, having risen to fame in 2017 with her single “Bodak Yellow.” Her debut studio album Invasion of Privacy was released just a year later and became one of the fastest selling albums by a female artist ever. Cardi B’s fun-loving style and catchy rap hooks have made her an instant hit with fans all over the world, even though she came from humble beginnings as a stripper and reality TV star. Some of her most iconic songs include “I Like It,” “Bodak Yellow,” and “Please Me.”
Lauryn Hill is another rapper who deserves a spot on this list for her contributions to the genre. Born in New Jersey and raised by a single mother, Lauryn Hill started making music as part of the group The Fugees before releasing her first solo album, The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill. This album was a massive success and won five Grammys at the 1999 awards ceremony. Lauryn Hill has remained active in the music industry since then, although she has been plagued by legal and personal issues over the years. Some of her most iconic songs include “Doo Wop (That Thing),” “Ex-Factor,” and “Everything is Everything.”
Megan Thee Stallion
Megan Thee Stallion is another rising star in the rap industry, having released her debut album earlier this year to much fanfare. Her signature sound fuses hip hop with southern trap music, and her bold lyrics have helped turn Megan Thee Stallion into one of the hottest rappers of 2019. She got her start on SoundCloud by dropping freestyle tracks under her real name Tina Snow before transitioning to Megan Thee Stallion in 2018. Some of Megan Thee Stallion’s most popular songs include “Big Ole Freak,” “Cash Shit” (with G-Eazy), and “Hot Girl Summer” (with Nicki Minaj).
Lizzo is another talented female rapper who has become a mainstay in the hip hop scene over the past few years. Born in Detroit, she moved to Texas as a teenager where she started writing poetry, before transitioning into music. She released her first album Big GRRRL Small World in 2015, and followed that up with Cuz I Love You in 2019. Lizzo’s catchy hooks and positive messages have made her one of the most popular rappers in recent years, and some of her biggest hits include “Juice,” “Truth Hurts,” and “Tempo.”
Missy Elliott is one of the most accomplished female rappers of all time. Born in Portsmouth, Virginia, Missy made a name for herself in the early ’90s as part of the hip hop duo Timbaland & Magoo before releasing her first solo album, Supa Dupa Fly, in 1997. Since then she has gone on to have an incredibly successful music career, with three albums and countless singles reaching the top of Billboard’s hip hop charts. Some of Missy Elliott’s most iconic songs include “Get Ur Freak On,” “Work It,” and “Lose Control.”
Mary J Blige
Mary J Blige is often credited as being one of the most influential female rappers of all time. Born in New York, Mary J Blige first achieved fame as a singer and songwriter before releasing her debut album, What’s the 411?, in 1992. She followed this up with several more successful albums over the years, including My Life and Growing Pains. Some of Mary J Blige’s most iconic songs include “Real Love,” “Mary Jane (All Night Long),” and “Family Affair.”
Doja Cat is another rising star in the rap industry who is helping to redefine what it means to be a female rapper today. Born Amala Zandile Dlamin, Doja Cat made her name on SoundCloud by posting freestyle tracks that she would later turn into full singles. Her debut studio album, Amala, was released in 2018 and became an instant hit with fans all over the world. Doja Cat’s unique style and catchy hooks have helped her stand out from the crowd, and some of her most popular songs include “Mooo!,” “Tia Tamera” (with Rico Nasty), and “Juicy.”
Greatest Rapper and Music Artists of All Time
Female rappers have always faced an uphill battle in the music industry, but despite this, many talented women continue to make a name for themselves in the rap world. One of the most common ways that female rappers find success is by building a strong online presence through social media and collaborating with other artists.
Another important factor in making it as a female rapper is developing your own distinct sound and style. This can be achieved through experimenting with different beats and flows, as well as writing and performing your own original lyrics. Additionally, having confidence and staying persistent are key traits that all successful female rappers share.
When viewing lists of the most famous women in the world and throughout different industries in music, movies and Hollywood, it’s all about the work ethic and standing out from the crowd.