AllHipHop’s Women’s Month Trackback

Women rappers don’t get nearly enough credit. Often times, radio pushes messages about “Lip Gloss” or “No Panties” when there are some truly ferocious or groundbreaking MCs out there.

AllHipHop.com tracked it back, not to the biggest, the most successful, or even the most underground moments, instead, we’ve highlighted 10 tracks that show that the ladies have just as much juice as the fellas, and they deserve their props too. No need to hold doors for these chicks, they kicked ’em open themselves.

“Unf**witable” by The Lady of Rage (2002, Doggystyle/MCA)

Once Dr. Dre’s go-to guest verse, Rappin’ Robin grew tired of riding Andre Young’s bench, and traveled East to work with the other most respected producer in Hip-Hop. The only worthwhile song on Snoop’s Doggystyle All-Stars album, Virginia’s first lady outdoes the iron mic work she laid a decade earlier on “Puffin’ on Blunts and Drankin’ Tanqueray.” Despite her even-then dated 1997 album, it’s sheer travesty that The Lady of Rage isn’t releasing music on the regular today.

“Push It” by Salt-N-Pepa (1986, Next Plateau)

While Roxanne Shante and J.J. Fad have grown antiquated by even today’s hardcore Hip-Hoppers, “Push It” can rock a party in Nebraska. Salt, Pepa, and Spinderella (the first) crafted a record that maximized the appeal of the ‘80s keyboards and drum programming, by showing rhyme routines that were edgy adaptations of what Run and DMC had done previously. Though later hits were much more Pop and R&B minded, there remains no questions that Salt-N-Pepa paved the way for all females to come, while securing status as the greatest female Hip-Hop group to date.

“Queen B@$#h” by Lil Kim (1996, Big Beat/Atlantic)

Righteous feminists may have cried foul, but plenty of ladies, Sistah Souljah types included, spilled drinks scampering to the dancefloor or took a pause for the cause to rhyme along when the needled dropped on this platter. Though a reference track with Notorious B.I.G. himself kicking the lyrics is still floating around the Web, we’ll give Kim a pass on the ghostwriting faux pas because she made these bars her own. “Queen B***h, disease free b***h.” It’s the only way to have one.

“Cha, Cha, Cha” by MC Lyte (1989, First Priority)

So many Lyte tracks to choose from (“10 % Dis,” Lyte As a Rock,” “Stop Look Listen,” to name a few). But when it comes to “Cha Cha Cha,” something about it is just, right. Is it the beat? A throwback to Fresh 3 MC’s “Rockin It” with some subtle but stealthy bass line added for good measure. Or is it the swagger? Making lines such as, “Like the fat on ya back it’s plain to see that you’re a wannabe,” unf**kwittable (Peace Rage, see above) to this day.

“I Know You Like My Style” by Shorty No Mas (?)

Shorty No Mas’ name is apropos for her time in the spotlight but she was long in skills. “I Know You Like My Style” is just a breezy, pretentious free rhyme over strict drums and sublime keys. Her presence on the mic, she easily held her own alongside the De La characters on Buhloone Mind State outweighed her diminutive stature. This rare gem is a testament to the diversity and potential inherent with female MCs but that is still thoroughly lacking.

“Knock” by Jean Grae (2002, Third Earth)

With a narrative skill that might be the female equivalent of Tupac or Scarface, Jean Grae’s grimy diary entry from her debut comes with angst, self-doubt, and venom. Freshly out of Company Flow, Mr. Len chops a Grateful Dead sample down to the skull, in this aptly titled “Knock.” Five years before she’d become Blacksmith’s first lady under the Warner Brothers umbrella, Jean Grae was the Cleopatra of the underground.

“Do Me” by Heather B (1998, MCA)

Like her television entrance to MTV junkies, Heather B rhymed about the real world. Once claiming she “only wanted real n***as and b***hes to know me,” The Jersey City native never catered to sex appeal, but instead worked with DJ Premier, M.O.P., and Da Beatminerz as the counter-punch to dress-up dolls with ghostwriters. This beat-down banger, scored by D/R Period, was a staple in my DJ routine introducing the very basketball team I had recently quit in high school. Heather may’ve gotten her aforementioned wish, but she was among the last in a dying breed.

“The Rapture” by Blondie (1980, Chrysalis)

People act like rappin’ White chicks are new? Please. Deborah Harry might not have lasted long in the cipher, but she rightfully gave shine to Grandmaster Flash and Fab 5 Freddie in a single that spawned a video featuring the late, better-than-great Jean-Michel Basquiat. Eighteen years later, Blondie kept it trill with another rap tune, “No Exit,” but most younguns were hipped to this hit by way of KRS-One’s “Step into a World.” “The Rapture” is more Downtown than Papaya Dog and Julie Brown. Harry could go toe-to-toe with most rap radio stars today, what’s that saying?

“Roxanne’s Revenge” by Roxanne Shante (1984, Cold Chillin’)

In hindsight, the rhymes were basic, but razor sharp. Come on, it was like 1984, and she wasn’t even out high-school yet. Just take into consideration the history made as it’s the most infamous Roxanne response out of countless others and the DJ holding her down was none other than Marley Marl. You know Marley, the original dude known for making loops “better than the original who first made it,” to quote CL Smooth. Thus, you can consider Shante one of the cornerstones of Marley’s House of Hits.

“Tight” by Rah Digga (1999, Elektra)

Sadly, patiently riding in the backseat of the Flipmode bus has meant a stalled career for Digga Digga, birth name Rasheea. It’s a damn shame too because the Jersey chick with the deep voice has long made a habit of ripping mics ever since making her mark commanding the stage at the storied Lyricist Lounge, while pregnant no less. The Mr. Walt produced “Tight” from her sole album, Dirty Harriet was a revealing display of her advanced lyrical techniques rather than skin.

Honorable Mentions:

“Monie in the Middle” by Monie Love (1990, Warner Brothers)

“Ladies First” by Queen Latifah featuring Monie Love (1989, Tommy Boy)

“Get Me Home” by Foxy Brown featuring Blackstreet (1996, Def Jam)

“Soul Sisters” by Finnese & Synquis (1988, Uptown)

“Lost Ones” by Lauryn Hill (1988, Columbia)

“Paula’s Jam” by Paula Perry (1996, The INC Entertainment)

“Ms. Martin” by Remy Ma (2000, Loud)

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