Femcee Madness Round 1: NW Freshmen
It’s time to vote for the younger, upcoming femcees. Most of these women have been producing music for the past decade, proving themselves as the next era of hip hop women. I’m finding many of these early match ups much more difficult than those of the veterans. Let’s see who you love the most in this quadrant.
(1) Nicki Minaj vs. (16) Amil
Somehow I don’t think Nicki Minaj needs much of an introduction. Whether you hate her or love her, you most certainly heard some of her many commercially successful verses, especially considering she has the most Billboard Hot 100 entries of any female MC. This is partially due to her versatility; you’ll find Nicki making mainstream pop, gangsta rap and EDM club bangers. Amil launched soon after going on tour with Jay-Z in 1999, collaborating with HOV himself and a handful of other ROC Nation affiliates, and then in 2000 releasing her first LP, All Money Is Legal.
Remember, you’re voting for Amil and not Beyoncé. 😉
(9) Ms. Jade vs. (8) Jacki-O
We are still waiting on Philadelphia’s Ms. Jade to release a follow-up to her 2002 LP, Girl Interrupted, but she has made a partial comeback via mixtapes, proving her ability to stay current. Although she has been doing her own thing, the beginning of her career is tightly linked with her collaboration with Timbaland and Missy’s crew. Jacki-O is from Miami, and is all about sexuality and confrontation. Her flow is in your face with a laid back vibe, while often taking lyrical shots at other femcees. Jacki-O stayed busy from 2002-2011 before retiring from hip hop for religious reasons.
You can skip ahead to Ms. Jade’s verse at about 1:40
(5) MIA vs. (12) Khia
MIA is not only aTamil-British rapper, but also an experimental punkish/electronic/hip hop artist who also happens to design her own album art. Her music and videos, marked with deep political interest and engagement, break every stereotype and rule of musical genre and sound like absolutely no one else. Khia spent her early years in Philadelphia, but since moving to Tampa she has been considered a legend of Southern rap, mostly due to her super-sexual chart topper, “My Neck, My Back.” You can check out either femcee’s NSFW tracks in the links above, while the songs below are a bit less controversial.
(13) Dessa vs. (4) Rah Digga
This might be one of the hardest match-ups this post. Rapper/poet/singer Dessa has been busy doing all three since 2005 when she joined the Minneapolis-based indie hip hop collective Doomtree. Since 2010 she’s been putting out solo records as well, and is gaining a whole new audience with her appearance on The Hamilton Mixtape’s song “Congratulations.” Also she has a Tiny Desk Concert that’s great. Although Rah Digga joined Busta Rhymes’ Flip Mode Squad in 1998, and had done some recognizable features before the new millenium, it wasn’t until 2000, when she released her first solo record, Dirty Harriet, that her name rose to fame. She comes off tough without looking like she’s trying, making her one of the most talented and influential femcees of the decade.
Dessa’s verse is just after the 1:20 mark.
(3) Remy Ma vs. (14) Lady Luck
Brooklyn’s own Remy Ma is a protege of Big Pun and continues to work with Fat Joe and other Terror Squad members. Her only solo album from 2006, There’s Something About Remy, was widely successful, but her 8-year stint in prison delayed her still-anticipated follow up. Since being released a couple years ago, she’s been nominated for a Grammy and made hip hop news for diving into a harsh feud with Nicki Minaj – one of the most fun in a long time. Hopefully that anger is fuel for an album. Lady Luck is a battle queen, known for her set up and punchlines as she disses her opponent. She has a way of making everything she says rhyme with her smooth flow on her mixtapes. More recently, she’s been working on her own production company, co-owned with her girlfriend. Not every match allows us to watch the two femcees go head to head, but Remy and Lady have a history of battles you can watch here and here.
(11) Snow The Product vs. (6) Diamond (&Princess)
Your Vote-In pick, Snow Tha Product, was tied with Lady LeShurr for the first week of voting until she surged ahead to take 56% of the votes. This young Mexican is building her reputation on her social consiousness and Latina perspective, as well as her quick-paced rhyming skills. I had a difficult time deciding whether to have Diamond with or without her early partner in crime, and as you can see, I left that decision to you. The two femcees were as connected as Salt-n-Pepa during their time with Atlanta-based Crime Mob, but since 2007 Diamond has made a name for herself as a solo rapper. Some call her the Queen of Trap, and she continues to release mixtapes, most recently in 2016.
(7) RaSheeda vs. (10) Sa-Roc
RaSheeda has been releasing albums fairly consistently since 2001, with her recognizable vocal lilt and tone often paired with bold, bass-heavy beats. She’s stayed in the spotlight with both her appearances on Love and Hip Hop: Atlanta, and her hip hop duo with Kandi Burruss, Peach Candy. Representing a whole different side of Atlanta, Sa-Roc is known for her spiritual and philosophical consciousness. Her name gives homage to Mother of the Mic, MC Sha-Rock, who just missed being on this list not because of lack of influence, but due to lack of video recordings. In her own words, Sa-Roc’s voice is “honey coated, with a lil bit of gravel in it.”
(15) Lil Mama vs. (2) Trina
You may remember Lil Mama from her 2008 single “Lip Gloss,” released from her debut album, VYP (Voice of the Young People) when Mama was only 19 years old. The song has probably haunted her ever since, but it didn’t stop her from playing Lisa Lopes in the TLC Biopic in 2013, and finally putting out a solid, reference-filled (and more mature) mixtape in 2015. She goes up against Miami queen Trina. Since getting her start with rapper Trick Daddy, all 5 of her studio LPs have had commercial and critical success, causing XXL to name her “the most consistent female rapper of all time.” She carries herself like a true diva, dressed in confidence and sexuality, demanding attention with any feature verse she offers.
Check back this weekend with the final quadrant of round one! Peace,