-- By Kat George (@kat_george)
2014 was the year of Nicki Minaj and Iggy Azalea, and now there’s a tough new breed of female rappers ready to take on the traditionally male world of hip hop in 2015. It’s a hard genre for women to break into, as a quick scan of the Top 40 will prove. You’ll find Nicki and Iggy are the only ones who are female in between all the Drakes, Eminems, Waynes, Jays, Kanyes, Coles etc on the chart. But in 2015 we’re ready to see some more ladies spitting in the hip hop world— so from Tink to Angel Haze; Lizzo to Jungle Pussy; Tiffany Foxx to Nyemiah Supreme, here are 15 female rap artists you should be listening to this year.
We have a good feeling that in 2015 Tink is going to be the name on your lips if you’re a lover of hip hop. The Chicago rapper is socially conscious and has a soulful sound that we can only describe as “what we think would happen if Lauryn Hill released a contemporary rap album tomorrow, but one that exceeds our expectations”. Her voice rolls of the beat like smooth silk, but she’s unafraid of broaching some serious cultural issues. Most recently, her Timbaland-produced “Tell the Children” confronts the race issues in Ferguson. While you wait for her debut album this year (release still TBA), check out her mixtures Alter Ego and Winter’s Diary 2.
Until now, Tiffany Foxx has been better known as Lil Kim‘s protégé, but in 2015 she’s set to make her own mark. Foxx has been working hard and paying her dues, and lately she’s been hanging out with Miley Cyrus and collaborating with veterans like Pusha T and Young Thug. With her raw, aggressive, take-no-prisoners vocals (handed down from Kim, no doubt), Tiffany Foxx is feminizing old school rap, and making no apologies.
Coming up out of the Chicago scene, local emcee NoName Gypsy first got the rap world to take notice with her version of Chance the Rapper‘s “Lost.” Gypsy’s husky vocals and laid back beats are a treat for fans of ’90s rap. While Gypsy’s been making the rounds on the Chicago scene, she hasn’t made any big releases yet, and is working on her solo debut EP, Telefone, which we’re waiting for with baited breath.
Nyemiah Supreme, along with Tink, is another up-and-comer supported by Timbaland. Hailing from Queens, Nyemiah’s definitely got mainstream potential; she’s tough and beautiful, and has the right attitude for female empowerment to go with her contemporary rap sound. We can pretty much already visualize her future collaboration with Nicki Minaj.
Jean Grae is an underground rapper from New York City, and she’s got something to say. With powerful messages leading her rhymes, Grae already has seven albums, five EPs and a mixtape to her name, with another album reportedly in the making. Grae has been part of NYC’s hip hop scene since the mid-’90s, but we’re hoping that 2015 will propel her into the limelight, because her acerbic take on life, wry lyricism and social consciousness deserves to be proliferated to the masses. Oh, and did we mention she has her own sitcom on her Youtube channel?
Another Jean, this one from Chicago, is much more of a fresh-faced new-comer than Grae. She was only a braces-wearing teenager when she began her rap career at 18, complete with her own publishing deal. A gorgeously haunting vocalist, Deaux blends spoken word with singing, and has a more experimental, electro-goth sound when it comes to her beats. The young rapper has just released the first volume of her debut album Soular System (which you can download here), and the track in the video above, “Motel 6″, is utterly heartbreaking and beautiful.
The latest gift from the Seattle hip hop scene (which recently has most famously bought us Macklemore and Ryan Lewis), Gifted Gab is set for big things. Inspired by ’90s era Queen Latifah, Gab’s debut album was aptly titled Queen La’Chiefah, and has the exact old school vibe you would expect. Pairing simple beats with lyrical gymnastics has proven a winning formula, and Gab has the immense talent to pull it off. We’re rooting for her in 2015.
You probably know Brooke Candy best for her cameo in Grimes’ video for “Genesis”, but what you might not know is that she’s a seriously good rapper in her own right. Candy has been in the rap game for a few years now, but in 2014 she signed to RCA, which is an indicator that she might be on the brink of exploding. Candy’s forthcoming debut album features both songwriting and production work by Sia. We’d say get familiar with Brooke Candy now, because soon she’s going to be a big deal and you’ll be able to say you were in from the beginning.
Angel Haze has been slowly working up the ranks since 2011. At only 22 years-old, the Detroit rapper is likely to be the next big deal in hip hop. Signed to Universal and Republic Records, she’s been hampered by poor sales in the past after a label dispute. Despite these troubles, her work has been met with rapturous critical praise. With a strong voice and tell-to-like-it-is lyrics, Haze is something of a social activist, especially when it comes to LGBTQ rights (she’s currently dating model Ireland Baldwin), and no subject is taboo in her rhymes.
Based out of Minneapolis, Lizzo is the most fun and attitude to come to rap since Missy Elliot. Her songs are infectious as hell, as is her personality. Lizzo raps and sings, and she’s got a vital message of both joy and empowerment in her music and style. A step back from the hyper sexualized women you’re used to seeing in music but still deathly sexy, we think Lizzo is the dark horse rap force you never saw coming… So keep your eyes peeled for her, and in the meantime, check out Lizzobangers, her 2013 album.
Lee Mazin is going to be your new favorite rapper if you love ’90s rap and R&B. She’s got a smooth, sexy vibe, and her 2013 mixtape, In My Own Lane was a critical success. The rapper has also won “Female Artist of the Year” two years running (2011-12) at the Philadelphia Hip-Hop Awards, toured with legends like Talib Kweli, DMX and Young Jeezy, and is the first female rapper to sign to Meek Mill’s Dream Chasers Records. Watch this space…
Sasha Go Hard has been rapping since she was 11-years-old, so the woman knows what she’s doing. Now 22, she’s set to be the next big thing, bringing her own attitude to “drill” style rap. She’s turning heads for sure, with Diplo having produced her Round 3 mixtape, which includes collaborations with Le1f and Kreayshawn.
CL is the leader of K-pop girl group 2NE1, and might not be immediately recognizable as a rap star. But her breakout is a major play at the Western rap market. Having enlisted hot-shot manager Scooter Braun (who’s responsible for the likes of Justin Bieber, Carly Rae Jepsen and Psy), CL is ready to bring a truly unique perspective to rap, and we hope it’s every bit as crazy and electrifying as what we’ve come to expect from her so far.
Rapsody has managed to pump out five mixtapes in three years, collaborating with rap heros like Chance the Rapper, Common, Raekwon and Mac Miller on her most recent, She Got Game. Rapsody is totally badass and vocally dexterous, pulling off hard, attitude filled rap and laconic rhymes with equal ease. With her incredible talent for writing intricate lyrics, it’s only a matter of time before Rapsody blows up.
Jungle Pussy means business, and she’s got the talent to back it up. With a raw sexuality and a strong message about female autonomy and empowerment, she’s a modern Lil Kim. Jungle Pussy doesn’t shy away from telling it like it is or spitting her opinion, and with her debut album Satisfaction Guaranteed earning critical success in 2014, it’s likely that Jungle Pussy’s provocative style is about to become even more popular.