We all know about the Lil Kims and Nicki Minajs of the hip hop world, but there are plenty of other black female rappers out there killing it right now. With all different styles, looks and vibes, you’re sure to find a woman wordsmith to keep you hitting replay again and again.
We’ve picked our six favorites who are putting it down in the music game and showing the world that hip hop isn’t just about the men. Check out our list. You never know, you might just find a new favorite.
Born in Birmingham, UK as Stephanie Allen, Stefflon Don is deeply in touch with her Jamaican roots and not afraid to flaunt them in her music career. She weaves rough-around-the-edges English rap with smooth singing and aggressive Jamaican patois deejaying for a unique sound that’s taking the world by storm right now.
She spent most of her childhood in the Netherlands, and then worked as a hairdresser and cake decorator before she made it big. Now she’s making hits with French Montana, and big names on the UK music scene like Giggs and Skepta. It seems she can fit in on any type of music – dancehall, American hip hop, UK grime – so her versatility is definitely a strength. We predict she’s going to be huge in the future and become a household name, so watch this space.
The Guardian sings her praises: ‘She raps with wit and ferocity about female empowerment, street life and sex, her brash, charismatic music marked by authentic injections of Jamaican dancehall.’ That’s what we love about Stefflon Don. She’s brash, she’s boasy, she’s raw, and she’s not afraid of speaking her mind and letting everyone know who’s boss. Go get ‘em, girl.
OSHUN, a duo comprised of Thandiwe and Niambi, are certainly out there, and we love how they’re rocking their individuality. In a mixture of rap and singing, their neo-soul hip-hop conveys deep messages about life and being. They’re woman with a message, and Niambi says, “We have a love for our people and for serving our people and enlightening our people.”
These young women are so unique that they’ve even created their own genre. They call their music ‘Iya-Sol’. They describe themselves as closely related to R&B and hip-hop, but they also acknowledge that in terms of their message and content, they have a lot in common with gospel music, too.
Thandiwe explains that ‘Iya’ is a Yoruba term meaning priestess, teacher, or mother, and ‘Sol’ means soul, soul music, or the sun. She describes their music as like “incense burning in water. Even though the flame should go out in the water, it doesn’t for whatever reason”.
Niambi and Thandiwe formed their group after meeting at the Martin Luther King scholarship orientation at NYU, and singing their hearts out in their NYU dorm dance studio. They began with YouTube covers, then switched to SoundCloud and built up a loyal following.
Their group is named after the Yoruba West African deity Oshun, a goddess who governs over sweet waters and represents love, wealth, beauty, fertility and diplomacy. Niambi says they felt her presence around as they were forming the group, and decided to dedicate their music to her and to Yoruba culture in general.
We love their song Sango, which talks about the joys and struggles of love: