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The Current State of The Femcee: Who Should Stay, Who Should Go

Let’s all give a well-deserved round of applause to Miss Nicki Minaj. I know, I know. Some of you music heads absolutely abhor her. But there’s one thing you can’t deny: her rise to fame has helped usher in the next rise of female rappers. The femcee’s (female emcees) have been around as long as their male counterparts, but Minaj’s spotlight has now helped shed a brighter light on the rest of the pack.

We can’t forget the femcee OGs who broke down barriers and paved the way for someone like Nicki Minaj. Roxanne Shante, MC Lyte, Queen Latifah, and J.J. Fad definitely built the foundation. Lil’ Kim, Foxy Brown, Rah Digga and Missy Elliot maintained the lane that was built by their past peers. And Nicki Minaj took the female rap movement to another, much higher plateau.

It’s not too hard to seek out a female rapper who fits into a specific brand area of rap/hip-hop. There are femcees in the backpack rap, trap music movement, swagged out sound, and pop infused music genres. Azealia Banks. Iggy Azalea. Rye Rye. Snow Tha Product. Brianna Perry. Nitty Scott. Lioness. 3D Na’Tee. They all have their different spin.

That being said, while it’s evident that the current female rap/hip-hop scene is quite healthy, I’d like to point out three femcees in particular who are extra dope, and three who are extra atrocious.


Three Femcees Who Should Stay

Rapsody – North Carolina-bred producer 9th Wonder helped push this super lyrical rapper to the forefront. Rapsody is a special talent who puts together amazing lyrics that speaks to an audience who appreciates wicked wordplay. She can rap circles around both dudes and chicks. Her sound harkens back to the golden era of the genre, when A Tribe Called Quest and De La Soul ruled the world. Rapsody stands above her fellow femcees. Pay attention.

Dopest Song – “The Drums”


Jean Grae – What? What? No, that’s not a typo; “What? What?” is the former rap I.D. of Jean Grae. Miss Grae is also a super wordsmith who makes ill use of similes and metaphors. She appeared alongside notable underground MCs such as Immortal Technique, yet she more than held her own weight when it came to contributing worthy verses. You want proof of how ill Jean Grae is? Peep her featured appearance on this year’s BET Hip-Hop Awards. Talib Kweli must have cracked a smile when she laid down her part in the cypher.

Dopest Song – “U & Me & Everyone We Know”


Missy Elliot –Missy Elliot was stricken with Graves’ disease and no one really knew. When she returned to the genre of music she calls home, fans rejoiced and couldn’t wait to hear what she was cooking up. Missy and Timbaland hit the studio, which led to two bonafide bangers for 2012. Missy has crafted classic albums, catchy singles, and eccentric music videos. Now that she’s healthy and rejuvenated (thank the good Lord above), it’s about time she made an impact on this new generation of fans. We’re all about to catch a new Misdemeanor.

Dopest (NEW!) Song – “9th Inning”


Three Femcees Who Should Go

Lola Monroe, Diamond, and Trina – I lumped all these horrible femcees together, simply because they all fit the mold of whack female rappers, not offering much in the way of great lyricism. They’re quite beautiful…but that’s all that’s good about them. Their greatest claim to fame is tied to male MC’s who are much more talented. Lola is affiliated with Taylor Gang, Diamond used to roll with Crime Mob, and Trina started making moves next to Trick Daddy. I wish they never got these co-signs…

These ladies make, as I’d like to put it, “putrid musical pollution.” I’d buy a KING Magazine with any of these ladies on the cover in a heartbeat, but I would not download any of their mixtapes or purchase any of their albums. I’m not going to torture you with their lackluster songs. You should thank me for that.

Oh and Honey Cocaine is pretty atrocious, too…


Female rappers are here to stay. They’ve made plenty of headway in the rap game, and it’s a good time to be one of them. Keep your ears peeled for the most talented, and ignore the beauties with no lyrical substance.

About the Author


Elton Jones (no relation to the guy who sings "Bennie and The Jets") is a huge fan of rap, hip-hop and R&B. His favorite artists range from golden era rap crews such as A Tribe Called Quest and De La Soul, to today's current rap stars like Big Sean and Kendrick Lamar. Elton appreciates every facet of the urban music genre and follows the major developments that are made within the industry. Elton obtained a Bachelor of Arts in Communications from Saint Augustine's College in 2010. With his degree in hand, he now looks to make a lasting impact in the world of music journalism. He also hopes to attend a SXSW and Rock The Bells concert someday.

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