Top 14 Female MCs – The Ones To Watch
Female MC’s Ones To Watch
The urban music scene feels like its on the rise again. After a low few years the US, its kicking in again and embracing and developing the genre. The trap and in particular the grime scene is exploding both here and overseas with the likes of Skepta and JME getting shout outs from Drake and Kanye. And as some of our recent international reviews have shown, Africa is outputting some great urban music. However most of this seems to be focussed on the male gender. So to address the balance we take a look at the Top 14 female MCs that you need to look out for. Forget Nicki Minaj and forget Queen Latifah these girls are fire.
was born in South Africa but is a Brooklyn native. She first hit the scene in 1996 as part of duo Ground Zero
which saw her honoured by none other than Source Magazine
. She produced a number or albums up until 2008 and then took a break. She came back on the scene in 2013 with Dust Ruffle
and has a number of projects in progress at the moment. She has maintained her underground roots whilst developing a dedicated international fan base. So not a new one, but definitely one we should all be listening too.
In a similar vein to Jean Grae, Ms Dynamite is far from a new artist and most will probably wonder what the hell she is doing on this list at all. The much coveted artists has Mercury Music Prize, MOBOs and Brit Awards to her name. Whilst most people know Ms Dynamite for her monster 2002 hit Dy-na-mi-tee she first came to prominence for her lyrics on UK Garage track Booo!
She has had a few extended breaks but snapped back on the scene with her part in the massive DJ Fresh track Dibby Dibby Sound which was released in 2014. It may be a risk putting Ms Dynamite on the list, but due to her recent live appearances and rumours of new material, Ms Dynamite earns her place amongst the Top Female MCs to Watch.
Our second MC originating from Africa, however Aina More moved to the UK as opposed to the US. Aina More is award winning and has a brilliant blend of delivery from her native African sound, through to the very digestible balance of a UK flavour. Aina is actively working on and releasing new music. In April she released her new EP For People With Short Attention Spans. The EP was so well received she is receiving plaudits aplenty and comparisons are regularly made between her and Lauryn Hill.
Originating from Detroit, Dej Loaf shows that the current Hip Hop legacy is not solely there for the male rappers. Starting out in 2011, Dej Loaf has delivered two mixtapes and a single in the shape of Try Me that achieved chart success in the US. She has also appeared on Eminem’s compilation back in 2014.
Dej Loaf raps with much vigour and has a delivery that could cut deep. She has a great flow and is a definite contender to take the female rap genre forward. This is backed by her acclaim from XXL Magazine.
Brummy Lady Leshurr is one of the relative new kids on the block. She did however emerge in 2012 when she rapped the lyrics to Orbital’s Wonky. She has a series of mixtapes to her name as well as guest appearances on other people’s material. Whilst this may be a surprise entry in to our Ones To Watch, Lady Leshurr possesses a huge amount of talent. The influence of her parents and their love of reggae is abundant and her raw down to earth style is to be applauded. Still only 25, we believe Leshurr has a great opportunity to break through.
Shystie has been on the scene for a while. Born in the Caribbean and raised in Hackney, the girl has had a strong character forming upbringing. She first burst on to the scene way back in 2003 with her response to Dizzee Rascal‘s I Luv U. A bit like Childish Gambino, Shystie combines acting with rapping. A variety of acting roles have made it in to her portfolio but perhaps the biggest is her role in Adulthood.
The big names rate Shystie almost as much as we do, as the enigmatic character not only modelled at NY Fashion Week but she has supported Kendrick Lamar and performed on material with Azealia Banks. What’s next? We don’t know, but keep watching.
Lady Lykez has been on the scene for a while. The Londoner is hardly a shrinking violet with it. Back in 2013 she released I Love My Butt which hardly did much to break the stereotype for women in hip hop, but you know what lyrically she is strong. Despite an ill-judged appearance on BBC3 flop scripted reality show South Side Story, Lady Lykez emerged with some credibility. Not so long ago she also showed she is happy to mix it with the big boys. Her diss track Nobody Can took aim at male counterparts Sneakbo, Chip, Wretch 32, Bashey, Wiley, Ghetts and more. She also had a pop at Krept & Konan, she knows that she is lyrically as strong as all those guys.
With rumours of new material on the way, Lady Lykez has the opportunity to prove what she is made of.
Tink is a proper MC. She makes no apologies for the fact she is female and wants to be judged in the same way as her male contemporaries. She has been releasing mixtapes since back in 2015, but has now hit the big time thanks to hooking up with legendary producer Timbaland. The production on her latest material Ratchet Commandments and Million is first class and the way she spits her rhymes is reminiscent of Da Brat. She is hard edged whilst musical in her outlook, definite contender for females MC of 2015 and I can’t wait for her debut album.
Azealia Banks aka Miss Bank$ was active on the scene from her teenage years. Harlem born Azealia was snapped up by XL at the age of 17 by XL after releasing music on MySpace to get her name out there. Best known for her single 212 Azealia Banks has been named NME’s Cool List in 2011 and also in the Sound of 2012. Despite all that, Banks hasn’t really followed her initial hype. Unsure whether she is going commercial or staying true to her underground roots she is at a crossroads. So much so that she is making her acting debut in RZA directed film Coco. The film will be heavily laden in music and this will hopefully bump her in to prominence again. Her undoubted rhyming skills are a key reason why she is still in our ones to watch. 2016 will be big for Azealia Banks.
Unlike some of the others on the list, Angel Haze has a massive back story. The Michigan born rapper is a well documented victim of rape and is also known to have suffered from domestic violence. This brought about her families move to Brooklyn. Her track Cleanin Out My Closet, which borrows the beat from Eminem is a musical spurge of all of this emotion and hurt.
Sadly the sales of her 2013 album hardly matched the hype. But regardless of this the face of boohoo
‘s US advertising campaign and guest presenter on Catfish
, is an amazing rapper. She genuinely deserves the positive attention and to make it big with her gritty music.
Sasha Go Hard
Chicago born Sasha Go Hard (or Yaneisha Franklin) has been writing lyrics since the age of 12. Although she hasn’t quite broke through yet, she has released seven mixtapes since 2011. Nutty World 2 was released in April 2015 and finally got Sasha some attention. She states Lauryn Hill and Nicki Minaj as influences and these can be sensed in her recordings. Sasha Go Hard has managed to mix credible rhymes with a commercial edge, its only a matter of time until she makes the breakthrough.
Timbaland also lends his hand to helping Nyemiah Supreme break through. Again not new to the scene, but she is currently making waves. There Can Be More Than 1 is getting heat from MTV Rap Fix and Fuse among others. She does have great lyrical ability but possesses a good mainstream edge. Add to that the fact the girl can dance and its all looking good for Nyemiah.
St Louis is hardly known as a hotbed of Hip Hop, but Tiffany Foxx is aiming to put it on the hip hop map. Getting her first breakthrough on Snoop’s compilation album and now signed to Lil Kim‘s label, Foxx has released several mixtapes and is set to appear on VH1’s Love & Hip Hop. Watch this space as rumours of a debut album gather momentum.
What do you think to our list? Do you love it, hate it, agree or disagree? Anybody missing? Let us know.