The ladies of rap have always been the ying to the yang of their male counterparts. The game is at it's best when all sides of the rap spectrum are properly represented, and the ladies get equal time. During our quest for the best female rap tracks of the last 25 years, we discovered that the mainstream hasn't been receptive to these "femcees."
It seems that Nicki Minaj has been the sole controller of the female rap arena since her rise to stardom, but this may change in the near future as a new crop of femcees hustle their way into the rap sphere. Newcomers like Dej Loaf and Tink are steadily forging a path for themselves, and —hate her or love her— Azealia Banks isn't going anywhere.
Will rap ever experience a diverse class of rap femme fatales as it once did in the '90s with MC Lyte, Queen Latifah, Lil Kim, Lauryn Hill and others? After numerous meetings and lengthy discussions, we present the 25 songs we deem the dopest female tracks of the last 25 years. Since the '90s were such a golden era for females in hip-hop, it was only right we started this list from 1990. Read on, in chronological order, and enjoy.
Monie Love - "Monie In The Middle" (1990)
After making a memorable appearance on Queen Latifah's monumental cut, "Ladies First," Monie Love broke out on her own with this catchy single.
Yo-Yo - "You Can't Play With My Yo-Yo" (1991)
Before she was Sheneneh's ride or die in the show Martin, Yo-Yo was Ice Cube's protege who helped kick the '90s off with this classic.
MC Lyte - "Poor Georgie" (1991)
Lyte's cautionary tale of drunk driving once again proved that you could make folks dance and think at the same damn time.
Queen Latifah - "Latifah's Had It Up 2 Here" (1991)
A fed up Latifah stomps a mud hole in all naysayers with a dance track for the party people.
Queen Latifah - "U.N.I.T.Y." (1993)
"U.N.I.T.Y." was a hit record with a powerful message— another reason why we always hail the Queen.
Boss - "Deeper" (1993)
Not too many women were rapping as hardcore as Boss was in 1993. Although it was later discovered that she wasn't really about that life.
Da Brat - "Funkdafied" (1994)
Brat holds the distinction of being the first solo female rapper to go platinum. Her debut single "Funkdafied" was a big reason for that.
The Lady of Rage - "Afro Puffs" (1994)
Death Row could do no wrong in 1994, and Rage helped keep the winning streak alive with this G-Funk classic produced by Dr. Dre.
Da Brat - "Give It To You" (1994)
Da Brat burst out of nowhere in 1994. "Funkdafied" was her introduction and "Give It To You" showed she was here to stay.
Lil Kim - "Queen B***" (1996)
As a bonus, check out the OG version of "Queen B****" with Biggie on the vocals.
Heather B - "If Headz Only Knew" (1996)
After making history as a cast member on the very first season of MTV's The Real World, Heather B made noise in the rap world with a bass-heavy cut produced by KRS-One's brother, Kenny Parker.
Foxy Brown featuring Jay Z - "I'll Be" (1996)
With the success of "Ain't No," Fox and Jay hooked up once again on this track from her platinum debut Ill Na Na and got the same results — a banger!
Lil Kim - "No Time" (1996)
Junior Mafia's secret weapon finally got her chance to shine and never looked back.
Foxy Brown featuring Blackstreet - "Get You Home" (1996)
This was Foxy's first official single and she absolutely knocked it out the park with the help of Blackstreet.
Lil Kim featuring Da Brat, Missy Elliott, Angie Martinez, and Left Eye - Not Tonight (Remix)" (1997)
Quite possibly the most monumental all-female collab since "Ladies First" in 1989.
Lauryn Hill - "Lost Ones" (1998)
Ms. Hill went for the rap game's jugular with this standout track from the game changing album; The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill.
Lauryn Hill - Doo-Wop (That Thing) "1998"
The song effortlessly and seamlessly merged two eras of music to create the quintessential Lauryn Hill track.
Eve featuring Nokio from Dru Hill - "What Y'all Want" (1999)
The self-proclaimed "pitbull in a skirt" made her presence in the game known with this Latin infused standout from the Ruff Ryders Vol 1. compilation.
Rah Digga - "Tight" (1999)
Flipmode Squad's first lady put her battle rap chops on full display with barely any room for a full chorus.
Missy Elliott - "Get Ur Freak On" (2001)
The beat? The video? What more is there to say? Everything about this song was fire emojis.
Foxy Brown - "B.K. Anthem" (2001)
Foxy's reign in the late '90s extended into the early 2000s with this salute to her home borough off the third album, Broken Silence.
Remy Ma - "Conceited" (2006)
Known strictly for her aggressive rhyme style at the time, Remy switched things up for her debut single, which resulted in this seductive self esteem booster.
M.I.A. - "Paper Planes" (2007)
M.I.A. crafted a sound for herself which would later be the musical inspiration behind "Swagger Like Us," one of the biggest collabs of the decade.
Azealia Banks - "212"(2011)
From "212" to the cover of Playboy, Ms. Banks has come a mighty long way since this catchy single.
Nicki Minaj featuring Beyonce - "Feeling Myself" (2015)
Rap's reigning queen get's one hell of an assist from the baddest chick in the game.
Watch Tink show off her rap skills in an exclusive VH1 freestyle.