By Colby Tortorici
For once, there’s more than one female rapper in the game. In an industry that's long been male-dominated, this is good news.
For the past decade or so, the only female rapper that has been able to maintain any sort of mainstream relevance is Nicki Minaj. From 2010’s “Your Love” to 2020’s “Yikes,” she’s been a dominant force in the industry, and there have been very few female rappers who have been able to match her success, save for a brief stint by Iggy Azalea back in 2014. However, in 2020, the field is much healthier than it’s ever been before.
Nicki is still certainly seeing success, but there are now other women who are in the spotlight along with her. Cardi B blasted onto the scene with “Bodak Yellow,” which climbed to No. 1 on the charts in 2017.
Cardi B has since gone on to notch more No. 1s and a slew of other hits since. She was also one of the first women in rap to find stable success since Nicki entered the field, and the two even collaborated on a song before their infamous feud began.
Following the success of Cardi B., Megan Thee Stallion began to make a name for herself in 2019, and has earned herself three top 40 hits and a top 10 album as of the time of this writing. Megan also had a collaboration with Nicki, and there’s seemingly nothing but love between the two.
Doja Cat is also making waves in the scene, following up her viral success with her debut album, Hot Pink, which earned her a top 40 hit with “Say So.” Other women who are active in the rap scene are Kash Doll, City Girls, Lady Leshurr, and Cupcakke among many others.
So, why is any of this relevant?
Once the 2010s hit, there were virtually no female rappers on the scene except for Nicki. The days of MC Lyte and Lauryn Hill were over, and Missy Elliot wouldn’t resurface until 2015. The only woman to receive any real notice in the hip-hop community up until Iggy Azalea received fame in 2014 was Nicki Minaj. She opened a door for women in hip-hop that had been closed for some time, yet nobody else seemed to be able to walk through it. Beyond that, Nicki was never safe from criticism, with constant accusations of ghostwriting and attacks being thrown around from inside the hip-hop community and fans alike in an attempt to discredit her success. To this day, ten years into her career, it hasn’t subsided. However, one thing is different from when Nicki first entered the scene, there are other women in the field.
Often, it seems as if the hip-hop community only allows room for a single woman at a time, but this could finally be changing. We now have many distinct women with a voice in rap, something that just hasn’t happened on any sort of large scale before. While parity between male and female rappers is still 100% non-existent, the fact that we have so many women who have been able to carve out a spot for themselves is nothing short of a miracle.
Perhaps this is the start of a turning point. Maybe the next generation of female rappers is upon us. The unprecedented increase of women in hip-hop just might be preceding a movement unlike the one that we’ve ever seen before. For now, though, we’ll be blasting the music of all of these women, as there is certainly more than enough room for all of them to succeed at one time.