We know that making a list of the top 10 female rappers is going to be controversial—and we certainly can’t include everyone—but we feel the more attention drawn to the ladies of hip-hop, the better. So what went into our criteria? Basically, we looked for women who not only made game-changing contributions to hip-hop culture but also continue to influence the new generation of emcees—male or female.
Their achievements speak for them and these ladies have continued to bring it hot to the audience. Apparently, male rappers have their work cut out for them and need to watch out for these divas. In no particular order, here are the queens of the rap world, aka – the chart-toppers and top 10 best female rappers in the world at the moment.
Despite her brief run-in with the law, Kimberly Denis Jones has retained her stance among the most influential rappers in history. Mentored by The Notorious B.I.G himself, Kim has recorded so many feats since her 1996 debut. She holds the record of the first album by a female rapper to be honored with the coveted 5 mics award from hip-hop magazine – The Source.
Living on the streets of New York after she was sent away from home, Kim would freestyle her rap skills until Biggie Smalls scouted her after which she became a member of his Junior M.A.F.I.A rap crew. Subsequently, the rapper became one of the three female acts to boast three platinum-certified studio albums. Even while serving time in 2005, the “Queen of Rap” and “Hip-Hop Goddess”, as she is often called, continued to release hits to rave reviews. She has thus far sold over 15 million albums and 30 million singles across the globe and her $25 million net worth is proof she is on the right path.
Missy Elliott is not only one of the best in the business, she’s also one of the most versatile hip-hop artists of all time. A multi-faceted entertainer, Missy writes, raps, sings, crafts beats, and directs music videos that are some of the most innovative in the game. To top it off, no other woman has ever been able to match her commercial success—the Virginia native is the only female rapper with six platinum-certified albums.
Missy’s absence was unequivocally felt in the music industry in 2011 as a result of her battle with a hyperthyroidism disorder called Graves’ disease. The condition came with symptoms that stopped her from writing songs as she could not hold on to a pen for long. Nevertheless, with the right treatment, the legendary rapper is in a better place and looks forward to making a comeback. Meanwhile, she has won several awards in the past including four Grammies and sold more than 30 million records in the United States alone.
Voice – check; unique music style – check; effortless flow – check; mad bars – double check. Nicki Minaj is quite the attention grabber and has been ranked over time among the 10 best female rappers in the world. Her raw bars might get some people all riled up but Nicki got no chill and never holds back. She’s popular for spitting her lyrics really fast in addition to those colorful costumes and wigs that has become her signature look.
The Anaconda hitmaker with real name Onika Tanya Maraj is among the younger female rappers who gave the genre a new look. Seriously, we weren’t ready for the Trinidadian-American bombshell. With hit tracks like Super Bass, Starships, and Bang Bang, Minaj holds the record as the female act with the most Billboard Hot 100 entries, not just in hip-hop but across all genres.
Her insane flow and delivery have earned her 6 American Music Awards, 11 BET Awards, 4 MTV Video Music Awards, 4 Billboard Music Awards, a Billboard Women in Music Rising Star Award, as well as 10 Grammy Award nominations. Additionally, her commercial success has seen her sell 20 million singles (as a lead artist), 60 million singles (as a featured artist), plus more than 5 million albums sold globally. No gainsaying she has a spot among the world’s best-selling musicians and the world needs to watch out for the ball of fire that is Nicki Minaj.
Reminisce Smith gained international recognition when he linked up with fellow male rapper Fat Joe, and made the monster hit ‘’Lean Back’’. She released her debut album ‘’There’s Something About Remy: Based On A True Story’’ in 2006. This marked the start of a successful career getting a Grammy nomination.
She has since earned her respect as part of the top 10 best female rappers with many awards and nominations to her name irrespective of the fact that she spent six years in prison.
Ma is renowned for her unique way of dropping the bars so effortlessly, leaving her audience with a food for thought and something new in each track.
Among the legends in the industry, Lauryn Noelle Hill may have slipped into isolation by removing herself from the public eyes but she still deserves a place with the top 10 best female rappers that have ever been. The American singer, rapper and songwriter was a part of the Fugees group before she shattered the records with the release of her debut and only solo album The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill. The album made her a global name, earning a number one spot on the U.S. Billboard 200 upon its debut. It has also sold almost eight million copies, won five Grammy Awards, among several others.
Love her or hate her, The Bronx-born rapper is here to stay. Belcalis Marlenis Almánzar is gradually taking over a lot of things including the charts and giving her predecessors a run for their money. The stripper-turned-rapper joined Lauren Hill as the second female rapper to top the US Billboard Hot 100 chart with a solo output, she achieved this with her single, I Like It. Also, her debut studio album, Invasion of Privacy, released in 2018, debuted at number one on the Billboard 200. The musical offering also broke records amid rave reviews from critics. Stemming from her meteoric rise to prominent fame, she made the cut on Time’s 2018 100 most influential people in the world.
So far, Cardi’s growing career boasts 2 Grammy Award nominations, 1 Billboard Music Award, 2 BET Awards, and 3 MTV Video Music Awards. Her musical style has been described as unapologetic, raw and aggressive. She has often been accused of being a Nicki Minaj wannabe, well, who cares? Besides, if the claims hold any water, she is doing a great job at it. Seemingly, Cardi B will remain on the coveted top 10 best female rappers list for a long while.
Before she went all Hollywood actress on us, Queen Latifah was making a statement and earning a much-deserved respect as a female hip-hop artist. While her last album (Persona) was released since 2009, she is still remembered and credited as one of hip-hop’s pioneer feminists alongside the likes of MC Lyte.
Ask a diehard hip-hop fan who the greatest rapper of all time is, and you’re likely to get about 10 different answers. Now, switch the question to “Who’s the best female rapper of all time?” and you’re likely to end up with the same answer 9 out of 10 times: MC Lyte. MC Lyte changed hip-hop’s portrait of a female rapper without changing her outfit. Not only was she the first solo female rapper to release a full album, 1988’s critically acclaimed “Lyte as a Rock,” she cloaked her style not in false bravado but in dignity, integrity, and, best of all, actual superiority. Seven albums followed, with the most recent, 2015’s “Legend,” aptly named. Lyte can still run circles around most of her peers—male or female. Her deft wordplay, swift delivery, and butter-smooth flow make her the undeniable queen of hip-hop.
Although she has become more of an actress, a list of top 10 best rappers in the world wouldn’t be perfect without showing some love to the Philadelphia-born star. Eve Jihan Jeffers-Cooper was the first to lift the Grammy Award for Best Rap/Sung Collaboration in 2002. She received the accolade for the song Let Me Blow Ya Mind which she did with Gwen Stefani. She has worked with Dr. Dre, DMX, and the Ruff Ryders.
Amethyst Amelia Kell gained popularity when she released YouTube music videos for her song “PU$$Y’ and “Two Times”. Her big breakthrough came when fellow rapper T.I signed her with Grand Hustle Records after the success of her debut mixtape “Ignorant Art”. Iggy’s debut studio album “The New Classic” was a success with its lead single “Fancy” topping the charts in various countries.
This made her the fourth female rapper to top the Billboard 100 Charts. In 2014 she won she won two American Music Awards in the Rap/Hip Hop categories. Iggy has also won one MTV Video Music Award and three Teen Choice Awards and in 2016 she was presented with the Woman of The Year award by GQ Australia. She is an ambassador of Australian underwear and clothing company Bonds.