25 Women Rappers You Should Listen To

Cristen Conger

In 1979, Philadelphia's Lady B became hip-hop history's first solo female rapper with her single "To the Beat Y'all," and in the following two decades, a number of other rhyming women followed in her footsteps, starting their own fierce rap battles, amassing record sales and proving that female emcees have plenty to say as well. Among the many old school rappers of 80s and 90s hip-hop, Roxanne Shante, MC Lyte, Queen Latifah, Salt-N-Pepa, Da Brat, Missy Elliott, Eve and Li'l Kim all spat verses to the top of the rap game. At the 1999 Grammy Awards, Lauryn Hill also made history as not only the first female artist nominated in 10 categories in a single year, but also her phenomenal album "The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill" became the first hip-hop album to ever win Album of the Year.

Interestingly, Lauryn Hill, who fled the spotlight in the early 2000s, is now back in the studio for the first time since 1998 as part of a court-ordered deal to finish a new album for Columbia Records. That Hill is making music again at a time when many in the music industry are scratching their heads about the relative dearth of A-list female rappers and hip-hop artists today who aren't Nicki Minaj, is notable since there are also a host of women who could be on the verge of breaking out in 21st-century new school rap. In fact, we dedicated an entire podcast to this: Where are the women in hip-hop?

So to do our part and help shine a light on the female emcees, aka femcees, out there, we solicited suggestions from Stuff Mom Never Told You podcast listeners who (of course because SMNTY fans are the best fans) had plenty of names to offer. And now, in no particular order: 25 New School Female Rappers, including Janelle Monae who defies classification because she a) raps and sings and b) is a musical, performance, and style goddess.

*Disclaimer: some of the videos below may contain language and imagery not suitable for sensitive eyes and ears, figuratively speaking.

1) Jean Grae

2) Azaelia Banks

3) Amanda Blank

4) Kid Sister

5) Invincible

6) Angel Haze

7) MIA

8) Nicki Minaj

9) Lady Sovereign

10) Dessa

11) Iggy Azalea

12) Kreayshawn

13) Kilo Kish

14) Brooke Candy

15) Awkwafina

16) Shystie

17) Rapsody

18) FM Supreme

19) Ruby Ibarra

20) Dominique Young Unique

21) Janelle Monae

22) Mikey J. & the UK Female All Stars

23) Ana Tijoux

24) K. Flay

25) La Mala Rodriguez

Also, the theme song of this post -- and every SMNTY post, really -- is Queen Latifah's "Ladies First," which is one of the greatest feminist hip-hop tracks of all time: