The Best Female Rappers

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List Criteria: Only female rappers & hip hop artists, no pop or R&B singers

A list of female rappers and women known for their skills on the mic. Since the early days of hip-hop, women have taken a large part in crafting the genre's overall tone and sound. Though hip-hop music is commonly associated with misogynist lyrics and a glorification of male-exclusive camaraderie, there have always been women taking part as well, off-setting this attitude with a steely, seen-it-all perspective of their own. Sometimes, women would make up a part of a successful rap group, such as Digable Planets. But just as often, women would pursue their own solo rap careers, often with the assistance or stewardship of an established male rap act. (For example, Bahamadia got an early boost in the '90s from Gang Starr's Guru. Lil' Kim, as well, was mentored in the rap game by none other than the late Biggie Smalls himself.)

Who are the best female rappers? As of today, many ladies who rap are just as notable and get just as much buzz for new releases as men, and the female MC is an accepted part of mainstream hip-hop culture. So much so, in fact, that more recent female hip-hop acts like Kreayshawn and Iggy Azalea are more like commentaries on the place for women in rap culture.
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  1. 1
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    Lauryn Hill is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Female Rappers
    Photo: Jonene Taddei Photography/via Flickr
    more ABOUT
    • Genres (Music): Hip hop music, Alternative hip hop, Neo soul, Folk music, Reggae, + more
    • Albums: The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill, MTV Unplugged 2.0, Ms. Hill, Greatest Singles Collection, MTV Unplugged, + more
    • Nationality: United States of America
    • Labels: Ruffhouse Records, Columbia
    • Career Began: South Orange, New Jersey, United States of America
  2. 2
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    Missy Elliott is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Female Rappers
    Photo: Freebase/Fair use
    more ABOUT
    • Genres (Music): Hip hop music, Pop music, Dance-pop, Electronic dance music, Contemporary R&B, + more
    • Albums: Under Construction, Supa Dupa Fly, Miss E ...So Addictive, Da Real World, This Is Not a Test!, + more
    • Nationality: United States of America
    • Labels: Atlantic Records, Violator, Elektra Records, The Goldmind Inc., East West Records
    • Career Began: Portsmouth, Virginia, United States of America
  3. 3
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    Queen Latifah is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Female Rappers
    Photo: user uploaded image
    more ABOUT
    • Genres (Music): Hip hop music, Contemporary R&B, Jazz, Soul music, Gospel music, + more
    • Albums: All Hail the Queen, Black Reign, Trav'lin' Light, The Dana Owens Album, Order in the Court, + more
    • Nationality: United States of America
    • Labels: Verve Music Group, Warner Bros. Entertainment, Tommy Boy Entertainment, Motown Records, A&M Records, + more
    • Career Began: Newark, New Jersey, United States of America
  4. 4
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    Salt-N-Pepa is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Female Rappers
    Photo: janet lackey/Flickr
    more ABOUT
    • Genres (Music): Hip hop music, Girl group, Pop rap, Dance music
    • Albums: Very Necessary, Hot, Cool & Vicious, Blacks' Magic, Brand New, + more
    • Labels: London Records, Next Plateau Entertainment, PolyGram
    • Career Began: New York City, New York, United States of America
  5. 5
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    Eve is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Female Rappers
    Photo: Freebase/Fair use
    more ABOUT
    • Genres (Music): Hip hop music, Hardcore hip hop, Pop music, East Coast hip hop, Reggae, + more
    • Albums: Ruff Ryders' First Lady, Eve-Olution, Scorpion, Lip Lock, Here I Am, + more
    • Nationality: United States of America
    • Labels: Aftermath Entertainment, Geffen Records, EMI, Ruff Ryders Entertainment, Interscope Records, + more
    • Career Began: West Philadelphia, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States of America
  6. 6
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    Lil' Kim is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Female Rappers
    Photo: Monique Tatum/via Wikimedia Commons/CC BY-SA 2.0
    more ABOUT
    • Genres (Music): Hip hop music, Dirty rap, Hardcore hip hop, Pop music, East Coast hip hop, + more
    • Albums: The Naked Truth, Hard Core, The Notorious KIM, La Bella Mafia, How Many Licks (feat. Sisqo), + more
    • Nationality: United States of America
    • Labels: International Rock Star Records, Atlantic Records, G-Unit Records, I.R.S. Records
    • Career Began: New York City, New York, United States of America
  7. 7
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    Lisa Lopes is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Female Rappers
    Photo: Freebase/Fair use
    more ABOUT
    • Genres (Music): Hip hop music, Pop music, Rap music, Contemporary R&B, Dance music
    • Albums: Supernova, Eye Legacy, N.I.N.A, The Block Party, Forever... The EP
    • Nationality: United States of America
    • Labels: LaFace Records, Death Row Records, Arista Records
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    Nicki Minaj is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Female Rappers
    Photo: Featureflash/Shutterstock
    more ABOUT
    • Genres (Music): Hip hop music, Synthpop, Hardcore hip hop, Pop music, Dance-pop, + more
    • Albums: Pink Friday, Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded, Starships, Barbie World: The Mixtape, Stupid Hoe, + more
    • Nationality: Trinidad and Tobago, United States of America
    • Labels: Young Money Entertainment, Universal Republic Records, Cash Money Records, Universal Motown Records
    • Career Began: Jamaica, New York City, New York, United States of America
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