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Monday, November 30, 2015

DEAR MOMMA

Top Female MCs
Contributing Correspondent: C. Dubb

I can't imagine hip-hop without the ladies. Rappers like Queen Latifah, Missy Elliott and Lauryn HIll have introduced game-changing elements to hip-hop culture and continue to influence the new generation of emcees -- male or female. And they did with pure skills and savvy. Here are the greatest female rappers of all time.

Lil' Kim's The Naked Truth was the first album by a female rapper to receive the prestigious 5 mics award from The Source. In hindsight, the award was well deserved. Kim's influence still looms large. Since her Hard Core debut in 1996, Kim has spawned a handful of emulators eager to replicate her libidinous lyrics and in-your-face attitude. When it's all said and done, Queen Bee will go down as one of the most influential rappers of all time.

Missy Elliott is not only one of the best in the business, she's also one of the most versatile hip-hop artists of all time. A multi-faceted entertainer, Missy writes, raps, sings, crafts beats and directs music videos. Speaking of which, her music videos are some of the most innovative visuals in the game. To crown it all, no other woman has ever been able to match Missy's commercial success — the Virginia native is the only female rapper with six platinum-certified albums.

Queen Latifah couldn't have picked a more appropriate moniker. Thanks to her brilliant mesh of social commentary and lyrical wizardry, this queen had no problem attracting a cult-like following from the jump. Latifah was one of the first rappers to demand respect and gender equality in hip-hop. Who can forget the Grammy-winning "U.N.I.T.Y." (fromBlack Reign), in which she made it clear that calling her the B-word is a quick way to get "punched dead" in the face?

MC Lyte changed hip-hop's portrait of a female rapper without changing her outfit. She cloaked her style in dignity, integrity, and best of all, superiority. Lyte could run circles around most of her peers — male or female. Her deft wordplay, swift delivery, butter-smooth flow make her the undeniable queen of hip-hop.
Lauryn Hill was already in contention for the crown long before winning five Grammys for her debut, The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill. As one-third of the Fugees, L' Boogie quickly established herself as the most talented artist of the crew. By seamlessly blending jaw-dropping lyricism with social commentary, Hill helped make The Score the centerpiece of the Fugees' catalog and, more significantly, an undeniable hip-hop classic.
Nicki Minaj earned public attention after releasing three mixtapes between 2007–09. She signed a recording contract with Young Money Entertainment in 2009. Minaj's debut studio album, Pink Friday (2010), peaked at number one on the U.S. Billboard 200 and spawned the top-five single "Super Bass". During that time, Minaj became the first female solo artist to have seven singles simultaneously charting on the U.S.Billboard Hot 100. Minaj made her film debut in the 2012 animated film Ice Age: Continental Drift, and also had a supporting role in the 2014 film The Other Woman. In 2013, she was a judge on the twelfth season of American Idol.

Before she went all Hollywood, Eve was running the game with her Ruff Ryders comrades. Anthems like "Satisfaction," "Gangsta Lovin'" and "Let Me Blow Your Mind" showcased her unique ability to appeal to a broad audience without losing her edge. Eve left to pursue acting, making her box-office debut in 2002's XX. She also starred in Barbershop and The Cookout

Da Brat was discovered by Jermaine Dupri in 1992. At the time, there were only a handful of female rappers doing work. Still, the Chicago native proved unstoppable. Da Bra-ta-ta sidestepped the sexually charged image of the Foxy Browns and the Lil Kims, relying instead on her double-time flow and dashing delivery. The approach was good enough to make her debut, 1994's Funkdafied, the first platinum-selling album by a female solo rapper.

Foxy Brown logged a slew of memorable guest spots early in her career. Before she ever released an album she was dropping jewels on LL Cool J's "I Shot Ya" and Jay-Z's "Ain't No N***a," none of which would've sounded the same without Fox Boogie's catchy couplets. Her impressive cameo run launched a bidding war in the mid-90s, with Def Jam winning her signature. Brown's proper introduction, 1996's Ill Na Na, featured some of the biggest names in rap and sold over a million copies.

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