In case you haven’t been paying attention, women are on the rise right now in hip-hop.
In the first installment of Women in Hip-Hop that You Need to Know, I discussed how I was inspired to promote some of the talented women in hip-hop due to the limited recognition that said artists receive from the broader music culture; over 30 women were spotlighted in that piece.
Since then, a lot of those artists have experienced significant success; Megan Thee Stallion and Lizzo have released projects this year that debuted in the top 10 of the Billboard Top 200; Tierra Whack was nominated for Best Music Video at the 2019 Grammy Awards; Noname made her late-night debut performing a medley of songs from her universally-acclaimed album Room 25; and Chika, in addition to late nite performances, landed a deal with Calvin Klein; among other great accomplishments.
Am I saying my article played a small part in the increased profiles of these women? I’d like to think so 😉 Of course, their undeniable talent ultimately is the reason for their increased success, and that fact that more and more people are paying attention to them is really a cause for celebration.
So, without further ado, here is the second installment of this series, where I once again shine a light on a few talented women in hip-hop — some you may have already heard of, and others you may not recognize — who are establishing names for themselves and, above all, making dope music.
London singer/rapper Bree Runway, despite her limited output up to this point, has been turning a few heads over the past couple of years. Describing herself as the “love child” of “Lady Gaga and Lil Kim,” Bree’s music mixes elements of electropop and rap to create an excitable musical combination. Last week, she dropped the excellent single “2ON.”
Back in mid-2017, Jatavia “JT” Johnson and Caresha “Yung Miami” Brownlee came together as City Girls to make a simple diss track. That song ended up being a springboard that led to a record deal, cosigns from rap stars old and new, and Billboard chart success. The duo’s crude, raunchy music presents an interesting and entertaining take on self-indulgence and opportunism. They released their debut studio album Girl Code this past November.
South Florida artist Danileigh is as versatile as they come. You’re probably not going to meet an artist as multifaceted as this singer-songwriter-dancer-director. And with an artistic repertoire as vast as hers, she has the music to match, as she shown in just two projects — her 2017 EP Summer With Friends and her 2018 debut studio album The Plan — that she is fully capable of making catchy bangers and charming ballads.
Amala Dlamini, widely known as Doja Cat, may have blown up off the back of a meme, but she seems poised to outlast the meme that brought her here. She has irresistible confidence, her music is typically colorful and playful in tone, and — as she demonstrated on her single “Tia Tamera” with Rico Nasty — she’s got a captivating flow and an underrated pen game. She recently released the deluxe version of her debut album Amala.
Detroit rapper/model Kash Doll always had dreams of making it in hip-hop. And despite beginning her professional career in the club, she has been living her childhood dreams over the past couple of years. Her style is bold, provocative, and often hypnotizing; and when coupled with recent success she’s found with singles and features such as “Ice Me Out” and “Chanel Slides,” she seems ready for an even bigger break-out.
Ever since she dropped her Usain Bolt tribute “Legend” a couple of years ago, Jamaican singjay/guitarist Koffee has taken the realm of reggae by storm. The 19-year-old prodigy presents a refreshing take on reggae, dancehall, and elements of hip-hop that showcase her incredible flow and her thoughtful (and clean) lyricism. She released her debut project, Rapture EP, in March.
Harlem rapper/singer Melii first made noise in 2017 with her impressive remix to Cardi B’s “Bodak Yellow,” and she hasn’t looked back since. Her uniqueness as a bilingual artist, her versatility as both a rapper and singer, and her swagger and mic presence make it obvious why she’s caught the attention of so many high profile musicians. She dropped her debut album phAses back in March.
In the wide world of hip-hop, you probably won’t encounter a rapper that is as subversive or abstract as South African emcee Yugen Blakrok (you may remember her from the Black Panther soundtrack). Tightly-packed lyricism with similes and metaphors galore, complex astronomy/mythology references, and lo-fi, boom-bap-based beats make Yugen Blakrok a backpacker’s dream. Her second studio album, Anima Mysterium, dropped in February.
Yung Baby Tate
Tate Farris, aka Yung Baby Tate, is a wellspring of creativity in contemporary hip-hop. Tate’s pride as a multi-dimensional, Black woman, as well as her intent on commanding her own artistry (she writes and produces all her music herself), gives her music a burst of joviality and personality you only come across every so often. Tate dropped her album GIRLS in February.