The rap game throughout history has never been a spot for women in the field to lead and excel. Hip-hop culture often sexualizes women and revels in misogyny. Until female rappers like Nicki Minaj and Cardi B stepped into the limelight, it almost seemed hopeless that women would finally be visible and respected by the rap community.
Both Nicki Minaj and Cardi B helped pave the way for female artists to recognize that they are in demand and wanted as valued members of the community. Female rappers now have the power to change the culture for the better — to create an environment where male rappers learn to celebrate their fellow female artists and show some love.
However, with Cardi B and Nicki Minaj holding down female representation, it seems as though there is only room for a small percentage of female rappers. In the media, the two female artists seem to constantly be in competition with one another.
With that being said, here is a list of four female rappers that are making their own way. They radiate individuality and originality. They aren’t talking about the same topics that seem to be present in female lyricism today, like money, self-image, talking ill of other women or revolving around men.
IAMDDB hails originally from Manchester and is a female rapper who has her own eclectic sound, which seems to shape-shift over time. On each project she drops, another side of herself is revealed and explored. She refers to her albums and mixtapes as volumes, alluding to the fact that her music reflects her life story, told in a series of moments.
IAMDDB has been known to have a flow that is best described as wavy, meaning she raps melodically, seamlessly teetering between rapping and singing. The hype she has acquired has come from singles with hypnotizing beats, like “Shade.”
IAMDDB’s music features a perfect balance of aggressive energy and smoothness. She can deliver hit party tracks, and then the next song will inspire you to meditate. Her latest project, “Swervvvvv.5,” explores Afro-jazz and soul-jazz.
On her track “Leaned Out,” she raps about her inability to assimilate amongst her peers:
“I cannot and won’t conform. I’ll do it all on my own. I keep it g all the time, always left wondering why I cannot fit in. I am so different I might stand up on my ones.”
2. Tierra Whack
Tierra Whack was first introduced to the world with her 15-minute-long project, titled “Whack World.” “Whack World” follows a creative direction that has never been done before — it consists of one-minute tracks that act as a series of vignettes, and each individual piece comes with its own visual. Whack has a childlike imagination that comes alive on all her tracks.
The raw, animated sound of Whack’s voice delivers an unparalleled level of versatility. Her single “Mumbo Jumbo” was nominated for best video at the 2019 Grammy Awards. Whack plays off the mumble rap style by creating a visual of her at the dentist — her mouth pulled and stretched while her teeth are being cleaned.
Whack doesn’t even deliver any real lyrics with this song — and she doesn’t need to. Her melodic humming and mumbling carries the track with ease and hooks you in. Any mood you find yourself in, Whack has a song that represents it. Whether you want a rough, trap song dedicated to delivering bars, a mumble track to zone out to, or you’re craving a cartoon daydream, Tierra Whack has everything you could want in a female artist and more.
3. Jean Deaux
Jean Deaux is a multifaceted artist that is proudly and boldly representing Chicago. Although she is a relatively new music artist, she also dabbles in filmmaking. Deaux has an impressive list of talented artists she has already collaborated with, including Kehlani, Ravyn Lenae and Saba. She sets forth with the intention of working with like-minded females and Chicago-based artists.
Deaux’s voice is as sweet as honey, showcasing her supreme vocal range alongside introspective raps over a Chicago jazz-soul inspired beat. Deaux spoke in an interview on what her debut album, “Krash,” is all about.
“We need failure if we want success. Life is a crash course — it’s a fight club. There’s a study that says affluent people that don’t struggle lose the intellectual capacity to empathize. Without failure, there’s no feeling.”
If you need some R&B infused rap that has shimmers of reflection and vulnerability, Deaux is your girl.
Noname is another Chicago-based artist, which is apparent in her love for jazz and the poetic nature of her lyricism. Her debut album, “Telefone,” speaks on the constant presence of mortality and anxiety that a Chicago native bears.
Most tracks on “Telefone” have the tone of a hazy train of thought that borders on delirium, as Noname tries to put together her thoughts as if they are a haiku. The title of her album is a metaphor for the panic and sheer terror Chicagoans might experiences whenever their phone rings, which brings the possibility of news of the death of a loved one. Police brutality lingers in her voice.
She scats and runs laps over a wailing trumpet and a melancholy saxophone. The latest project Noname dropped, “Room 25,” takes you to church, delivering a sermon of poetic justice for her South Side community. She is intimate and vulnerable, yet her music leaves room for the imagination and has a mystical quality to it. If you want to feel reborn and want to assign meaning to the unexplainable, Noname is the one for you.