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HHW’s Top 30 Greatest Female Rappers Of All Time, Ranked: 2024

Top 30 Greatest Female Rap Artists of All Time, Ranked

Source: Getty / Getty

When it comes to Hip-Hop, it’s no secret that women are currently dominating the charts. A once male-dominated industry has now, though begrudgingly, become more diverse as female rappers have not only proven that they are just as talented, but that they can attract more fans, create chart-topping hit records and execute better performances.

While these past few years many female rappers have raised the bar for quality music (think: Cardi B, Megan Thee Stallion, etc.), it’s their predecessors who cemented women in music history as being influential, extraordinary and way ahead of their time—all while helping to shape the genre into what we see today. Hip-Hop has had many queens reign supreme in both mainstream and underground circles. Oftentimes, women who chose the mic were rightfully named as competitors but rarely championed as collaborators, creating a coveted solo spot at the top.

Kicking down the doors of the gatekeepers while shifting the genre of Hip-Hop towards inclusivity, female rappers are making their marks, shifting the stagnated concept while forging their own paths to limitless opportunities and self-defined success.

From MC Lyte, Queen Latifah, Missy Elliott, Da Brat and Rah Digga to Nicki Minaj, Remy Ma and Rapsody and the countless other female rappers who are entering the game unapologetically, the male-dominated Hip-Hop industry trope is becoming a thing of the past. The rap game is long overdue for an overhaul of talent, and female rappers are lining up in droves to even the score in the genre.

For 2024 and Black Women’s History Month, Hip-Hop Wired has highlighted the top 30 Greatest Female Rappers of All Time, ranked. Be sure to watch distinguished journalists speak on some of the greatest female rappers in the video above.

Check out the top 10 in the gallery below. 

11. Remy Ma

12. Cardi B 

13. Eve

14. Megan Thee Stallion 

15. Rah Digga 

16. Jean Grae

17. Trina

18. Left Eye 

19. Lady of Rage 

20. Bahamadia

21. Roxanne Shante 

22. Mia X

23. MC Sha-Rock

24. Gangsta Boo

25. Shawnna

26. Ladybug Mecca

27. Yo-Yo

28. Monie Love

29. Young MA 

30. Sa-Roc

1. Queen Latifah – HHW’s Top 30 Greatest Female Rap Artists 2024

HHW’s Top 30 Greatest Female Rap Artists 2024 Source:Getty

Queen Latifah told y’all what it was on her 1989 debut All Hail the Queen: “Ladies first.” Latifah, born Dana Owens, can be credited with being one of the first MCs, male or female, to turn her rap career into a longstanding position in Hollywood. She might be the queen of reinvention as she’s been able to add actor, jazz vocalist, actor, author and talk show host to her repertoire. In Hip-Hop, she showcased the duality of being a woman in this business; she could be sensitive and sensual but she also wasn’t to be toyed with. In 1993, Queen Latifah released Black Reign, her most commercially successful rap album to date, then she took off and we had to share her with the world. Recently though, Latifah dropped a fiery clip on social media featuring nothing but bars, reminding everyone that she still knows where home is.

2. Lil’ Kim – HHW’s Top 30 Greatest Female Rap Artists 2024

HHW’s Top 30 Greatest Female Rap Artists 2024 Source:Getty

Lil’ Kim may have had a bit of writing help at the start of her career, but there’s a special kind of talent in knowing how to deliver those lyrics. There’s also something to be said about embodying the attitude and flair necessary to pull off lyrics like: “Tell me what’s on your mind when your tongue’s in the p___y… / Is it marriage? / Baby carriage? / S__t no, on a dime s__t is mine / Got to keep ’em coming all the time…” Years after “Big Momma Thang” sent shock waves through Hip-Hop, we’re seeing inflections of what Lil’ Kim did, from the colorful wigs and the outlandish wardrobe, to the delectably foul-mouthed anthems, irresistible to recite. There’s room for every woman these days though, one major difference from the mid-’90s. In 2020, no one has to pick a side, and although that divide persists in hopes of separating women in rap, we’re further than we’ve ever been.  Evolution couldn’t have happened without Lil’ Kim putting a crack in the door for artists like Cardi B and Nicki Minaj to bum-rush their way through, borrowing key Kim elements en route to the top.

3. Lauryn Hill – HHW’s Top 30 Greatest Female Rap Artists 2024

HHW’s Top 30 Greatest Female Rap Artists 2024 Source:Getty

Lauryn Hill is the stuff of legends. To be named in our top five Greatest Female Rap Artists of All Time, she had to have had quite an influence, despite having dropped only one proper album, The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill. And that wasn’t even comprehensively a rap album — Hill did a lot of singing on that record. Still, when she did rap, she made you pay attention. She made you hit rewind. The Miseducation, coupled with her turn in the group, the Fugees, Hill was a standout. Even Nicki Minaj, who’s taken clear cues from another artist on this list, felt the urge to (literally) bow down upon meeting her recently. Whether she was calling us all out on “Doo Wop (That Thing)” or showing off her lyrical prowess on “Ready or Not,” Lauryn Hill earned her place on this list by giving it to us raw.

4. Missy Elliott – HHW’s Top 30 Greatest Female Rap Artists 2024

HHW’s Top 30 Greatest Female Rap Artists 2024 Source:Getty

Missy “Misdemeanor” Elliott controlled the charts from the mid-’90s to the mid-aughts, but some rap fans seem to forget her impact. Missy is one of the few artists to come out in 1995 and completely change the general idea of what a female rap artist “should” look and sound like. She focused on being as creative as she wanted to be visually whether she was in a trash bag or a rhinestone-studded denim suit. Lyrically, she made the catchiest bops that have resonated through decades of commercial success, so much that, if you play Missy’s greatest hits for any teenager, they’re bound to recognize quite a few tracks that were released before they were even thought of. When Missy debuted with Supa Dupa Fly / Da Real World in 2003, she invited us into her abstract universe and Hip-Hop changed for the better.

5. MC Lyte – Top 30 Greatest Female Rap Artists of All Time, Ranked

MC Lyte - Top 30 Greatest Female Rap Artists of All Time, Ranked Source:Getty

MC Lyte will forever be etched in Hip-Hop history as a pioneering figure whose impact reverberates through the genre to this day. Bursting onto the scene in the late 1980s, Lyte quickly distinguished herself from her peers with her razor-sharp lyricism and commanding presence. With her debut album, Lyte as a Rock, she became the first solo female rapper to release a full-length album, setting the stage for a career defined by innovation and empowerment. Lyte’s influence extends beyond her music; she is also a trailblazer for women in Hip-Hop, advocating for their visibility and respect in a male-dominated industry. Her legacy as a groundbreaking artist and advocate cements her status as one of Hip-Hop’s most influential figures.

6. Nicki Minaj – HHW’s Top 30 Greatest Female Rap Artists 2024

HHW’s Top 30 Greatest Female Rap Artists 2024 Source:Getty

It was Nicki Minaj‘s third mixtape, 2009’s Beam Me Up Scotty, that thrust her into the consciousness of Hip-Hop fans, but it was her features on tracks like Yo Gotti’s “Five-Star Chick” and Young Money’s “Bedrock” that catapulted her into the outer limits of superstardom. It’s where she’s made herself a home and has continued to exist through industry feuds and misguided treks through the valleys of EDM. But hey, it’s opened her up to a realm of fans that she wouldn’t have attracted before. Fans who can’t be swayed by hard-body lyricism like she displayed on Kanye’s “Monster,” where she absolutely stole the show, switching rhyme schemes and vocal inflections as easily as her cotton candy wigs. And I’m all up, all up, all up in the bank with the funny face / And if I’m fake, I ain’t notice ’cause my money ain’t / So let me get this straight, wait, I’m the rookie? / But my features and my shows ten times your pay? / 50K for a verse, no album out / Yeah, my money’s so tall that my Barbies got to climb it.”

7. Salt-N-Pepa – HHW’s Top 30 Greatest Female Rap Artists 2024

HHW’s Top 30 Greatest Female Rap Artists 2024 Source:Getty

Emerging in the late 1980s, Salt-N-Pepa, the groundbreaking rap trio consisting of Cheryl “Salt” James, Sandra “Pepa” Denton and DJ Spinderella, quickly made their mark on the music scene. With their bold, empowering lyrics and infectious beats, they challenged stereotypes and helped pave the way for female artists in Hip-Hop. Their 1986 debut album, Hot, Cool & Vicious, featuring the hit single “Push It,” catapulted them to stardom, making them one of the first all-female rap groups to achieve mainstream success. Salt-N-Pepa continued to break barriers throughout their career, tackling social issues and celebrating female empowerment in hits like “Shoop” and “Whatta Man.” Their influence on the music scene is undeniable, inspiring generations of artists and solidifying their legacy as Hip-Hop pioneers.

8. Rapsody – HHW’s Top 30 Greatest Female Rap Artists 2024

HHW’s Top 30 Greatest Female Rap Artists 2024 Source:Getty

In 2019, Rapsody responded to an Instagram video posted by Cardi B where the Bronx rapper praised female rappers on the other side of the unspoken margin and shouted out the Eve creator. “There’s a lot of female rappers that be rapping they ass off that don’t be talking about their p___y and y’all don’t be supporting them and they mad dope,” Cardi said. “Let me tell y’all about some rappers that are really f___ing dope… I don’t feel like they get the recognition that they deserve.” Rapsody responded, saying, “It takes a village. Real ones always rise. Stay your authentic self always Cardi B. People ask me about the state of Hip-Hop and women in it all the time. My answer is always it’s BEAUTIFUL! There are sooooo many dope ladies rockin! To the sisterhood….keep doing YOU….there’s room for us all.” And that’s the way it’s been for the Carolina MC. For over a decade, Rapsody has been laying the groundwork and planting her seeds quietly. It’s never been about tearing others down because it’s possible to coexist. This is a woman who dedicated her most recent album to women. We see the influence of MC Lyte and Miss Lauryn Hill in Rapsody’s work, yet she manages to implement her own style. She’s vulnerable on some tracks like, “Knock On My Door,” where she pushes a crush to hang out and beastly on others, like “Serena.” From her turns on 9th Wonder’s compilation projects to her own three studio LPs — the last two being critically acclaimed — Rapsody is a rapper’s rapper and she’s a woman. No need to compromise on either side.

9. Foxy Brown – HHW’s Top 30 Greatest Female Rap Artists 2024

HHW’s Top 30 Greatest Female Rap Artists 2024 Source:Getty

Foxy Brown was 16 years old when she debuted as Jay-Z’s protege of sorts. It’s common knowledge that he penned a few tracks for the fellow Brooklyn rapper, but that rough, no-nonsense pitch and her flippant disregard for playing the role of your average teenage girl made Foxy a beloved figure of ’90s Hip-Hop. When she stepped out of that coke white Benz in the “Ain’t No” video in 1996, she upped the ante for sophomore girls everywhere. “What up, boo? / Just keep me laced in the illest snakes / Bank rolls and s__t, back rubs in the french tubs / Mackin’ this b___h, wifey n___a / So when you flip that coke / ‘Member the days you was dead broke…” As she grew older, she held on to that attitude as one third of the Firm alongside two very accomplished MCs — Nas and AZ, and even on her own. Chyna Doll and Broken Silence hold substantial weight in the Hip-Hop conversation with the latter being her most vulnerable body of work to date.

10. Da Brat – HHW’s Top 30 Greatest Female Rap Artists 2024

HHW’s Top 30 Greatest Female Rap Artists 2024 Source:Getty

Chicago-bred Da Brat, born Shawntae Harris, entered Hip-Hop on a high with her LP Funkdafied. The album hit the Billboard charts at No. 11 and soared in sales, making Brat the very first female rapper to score platinum certification as a solo artist. It was her spitfire technique that drew rap fans in and although she didn’t see commercial success to follow up her first album, she did garner a few hits over the years with songs like, “What ‘Chu Like” featuring Tyrese and “That’s What I’m Looking For.” Overall though, Da Brat shone especially bright on everyone else’s songs, so we never had a chance to forget about her skill, whether it was on Total’s “No One Else” or Missy’s “Sock It To Me.”