Seven up-and-coming women in hip-hop to watch out for
This week, Cardi B’s “Bodak Yellow (Money Moves)” made it to the top of the Billboard Hot 100, making her the first solo female hip-hop artist to do so since Lauryn Hill in 1998. Though women have long been a major force in the genre, they rarely hit the mainstream popularity of their male counterparts.
To commemorate successful newcomers like Cardi B to the genre, here’s a list of promising female artists that might just change the hip-hop game.
Kamaiyah, an Oakland native, is one of the few rappers bringing California rap back into the mainstream. She was first propelled to fame in 2016 when her debut mixtape, “A Good Night in The Ghetto,” was released to universal acclaim by critics and fans alike for its positive and carefree attitude — something she feels most modern rappers lack. As well as becoming the first female artist from the West Coast to be named a part of XXL Magazine’s Freshman Class list of 2017, she will be releasing a mixtape, “Don’t Ever Get It Twisted” later this year.
Hailing from Chicago, Noname first gained popularity in 2013 when she was featured on the track “Lost” on Chance the Rapper’s popular SoundCloud album “Acid Rap.” In 2016, she released her first project — a jazzy and mellow mixtape titled “Telefone” — which she spent three years producing, to rave reviews. Her sometimes-controversial lyrics, which tackle concepts ranging from womanhood to living without labels, are seamlessly incorporated into her music, allowing her to send her messages through both her lyrics and instrumentals. Since “Telefone,” she has made appearances on numerous artists’ singles and appeared on SNL with Chance the Rapper earlier this year.
A Brooklyn native, Young M.A. first found herself in the public spotlight in 2015, when her self-released mixtape, “Sleep Walkin” caught the attention of MTV for its aggressive and unapologetic tone. The following year, her debut single “OOOUUU” made it to the 19th spot on the Billboard Hot 100, solidifying her place in the rap world and prompting remixes by everyone from ASAP Ferg to Remy Ma. In 2017, she released her debut EP, “Herstory,” and was nominated for “Best New Artist” at the Black Entertainment Television (BET) Awards and Video Music Awards (VMA).
This positive and upbeat MC lives in Minneapolis and first emerged on the solo music scene with her debut album, “Lizzobangers,” which got her featured in TIME Magazine. Since then, Lizzo has appeared on various artists’ albums and has released numerous EPs, including “Big Grrrl Small World” and “Coconut Oil,” featuring popular singles like “Scuse Me” and “Good as Hell.” Never laid-back and never boring, Lizzo’s music is proudly loud, pro-Black, feminist, and body-positive.
This Atlanta rapper first hit the music scene at age 14 when Coach K, the manager of both Migos and Gucci Mane, took interest in her songwriting skills. A few years later, he introduced Kodie to Lil Yachty, who, in 2016, included her in his “Sailing Team” — a group of his closest musical friends who all had a verse to contribute in his 2016 single “All In.” Her style, which features catchy, downplayed instrumentals and a sing-song voice, is a new sound in modern hip-hop. Since 2016, Kodie released five projects, including “2060,” “Zero Gravity EP” and most recently, “Back to the Future,” which was released late August.
This proudly outspoken New York native has a lot to say about everything. An activist, she began creating music as her alter ego, “Princess Nokia,” in 2014 in hopes of communicating her experience as a queer musician of color and showing her support for marginalized groups. From her Instagram captions that detail current events to songs like “Brujas,” which tell of Afro-Latinas and their voices, Princess Nokia is a fresh voice in East Coast hip-hop. She began gaining attention on SoundCloud for her tracks “Tomboy” and “G.O.A.T,” and released her first studio album, 1992, this September.
Though Tink has yet to release a studio album, this Illinois native has already gained moderate fame in the rap industry with seven self-released mixtapes and unique lyrical and storytelling abilities. Featuring smooth, rhythmic vocals and danceable beats, her style is something unique to the world of hip-hop. A part of XXL Magazine’s 2015 freshman class, Tink is set to release her first studio album, “Think Tink,” later this year, but singles from the album, such as “Million” and “Ratchet Commandments,” have already made waves, the former peaking at the 13th spot on the U.S. R&B charts.