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From MC Sha-Rock to MC Lyte, women have been infiltrating Hip-Hop boys' clubs for as long as the genre has exist. MC Sha-Rock, know as Mother of Mic, was one of the founding members of Funky 4 + 1 in the 1970s. She often played alongside Hip-Hop pioneers DJ Kool Herc, Afrika Bambaataa and Grandmaster Flash during the earliest years of Hip-Hop culture in New York. Meanwhile, in 1987, Monie Love and Queen Latifah become the only two female members of the storied Native Tongues crew alongside Jungle Brothers, De La Soul and Tribe call Quest. A year later, MC Lyte became the first solo female rapper to release a full-length album with 1988s critically acclaimed Lyte as Rock. These early female Hip-Hop pioneers break barriers with their slick rhymes about race, gender and female empowerment. As the 1980s rolled into the 1990s, Lauryn Hill, Foxy Brown, Da Brat, Lil' Kim, Trina, Missy Elliott, Bahamadia, Angie Martinez and countless others continued to pave the way for women in Hip-Hop, proving that it was possible for female rappers to gain mainstream attention and commercial success. Fast-forward to present day, and there are even more women in Hip-Hop finally getting their much deserved flowers. Nicki Minaj currently wear crown for having most Billboard Hot 100 hits among women of all genres. And last year, Cardi B became the first female rapper to snag Best Rap Album at the 2019 Grammy Awards for her Invasion of Privacy Album. As for newer ladies in Hip-Hop, Megan Thee Stallion delivered the unforgettable Hot Girl Summer last year and a string of subsequent bangers, joining Rico Nasty and Tierra Whack in the 2019s XXL Freshman Class. In celebration of female excellence across decades, XXL shares 60 essential songs from the most influential and innovative female rappers in Hip-Hop.
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