Femcee Madness Round 1: Freshest Yet
We’ve made it to the last brackets of round 1! These polls include the most recent of femcees to compete, only making their mark in the music world within the past 7 years. I will admit that I am a pretty big fan of a handful of these ladies, but I’ll try not to let my bias slip into view too much. Also, the brackets below have been adjusted to include the veteran winners of round one, so check out the updated page, and get to voting!
(1) Iggy Azalea vs. (16) Little Simz
Aside from being one of the most criticized rappers of late, Iggy Azaelia managed to nab the #1 seed here because she’s also the most acclaimed. I don’t want to underestimate the Florida-based Aussie, and I will fully admit that “Fancy” is one of my fave videos, but I also admit that I am very excited that your vote-in choice, Little Simz, might have a real shot here. Straight outta London, Simbi is a soft-voiced poet with impeccable flow. She has yet to blow up in North America, but I have a feeling her current tour is going to help boost her status. She recently did a Tiny Desk Concert (my favourite office furniture related series).
(9) Sasha Go Hard vs. (8) NoName
Two very different Chicago Femcees get to face off here. Sasha Go Hard is one of a very few female rappers associated with a south-side style of trap known as drill music. As a drill artist, Sasha is an aggressive rapper addressing the violence in her city with graphic imagery that doesn’t sugarcoat. Meanwhile, Noname has been combining her rap with jazz and R&B and gospel to reflect on her city and country. She hasn’t made music videos as far as I can tell, but she’s gained popularity as a longtime collaborator of Chance the Rapper, before releasing her debut LP, Telefone, last summer.
(5) Azealia Banks vs. (12) Nyemiah Supreme
Even their pictures make me feel like this match-up is extra appropriate! Unfortunately Azealia Banks‘ reputation for online rants and beefs threatens to overshadow her talent as a rapper, but whether it’s in a song or on twitter, the girl commits to her ideas and energy, no matter how outlandish. Nyemiah Supreme is quick to self-identify as the most underrated female, but I will let you decide that. She brings a fun energy and attitude, looking like she’s down to party long after she’s finished performing.
(13) Lizzo vs. (4) Young M.A.
Well yeah, if it wasn’t real before now… both of these fresh femcees have been blowing up more recently, although they’ve been hard at work for years. Lizzo has been the front-woman of a handful of collaborative indie projects like Grrrl Prty, The Chalice, and Ellypseas, before releasing her first solo record in 2013, Lizzobangers. I love her because of her energy, body positivity, fantastic sense of humour and optimistic outlook. Young M.A. took the world by storm with her extra-viral “OOOUUU,” which has been referenced, covered, and remixed more than I can keep track of. She is a proud Brooklyn butch lesbian who does not hesitate to rhyme about her two greatest loves – hennessey and women. I love her because she is unapologetically her badass self. I don’t even know how I WANT this to go.
(3) Tink vs. (14) Sammus
Tink builds narratives using rap and vocals as interchangeably as Lauryn Hill. She’s been steadily giving us mixtapes, including her Winter’s Diary series, and is expected to release her first LP by the end of this month. Another master storyteller, Sammus weaves her PhD level vocabulary with a wide range of pop culture references to make nearly everyone feel included at some point. I have no idea what to do here, folks. Good luck.
(11) Gifted Gab vs. (6) DeJ Loaf
Along with her crew from Moor Gang, Gifted Gab is keeping the Seattle hip-hop scene alive and well, with her Queen-Latifah-inspired flow over remarkably simple and catchy beats that draw even more attention to her clever lyrics. Detroit’s DeJ Loaf has a particularly chill, melodic delivery, treading the fine line between rap and r&b. She’s been steadily growing with recognition since making XXL’s 2015 Freshmen Class – the same year as Tink.
(7) Angel Haze vs. (10) Lee Mazin
Angel Haze can rap at a rapid-fire pace while processing deep personal content. Hmmm, actually that is a phrase I could use for Lee Mazin too. Come to think of it, these two rappers remind me a lot of each other. My love of Angel Haze began when they came out as queer and remade Macklemore’s “Same Love,”and has only strengthened with every release. I guess Philly-based Lee Mazin is mostly known for her spot on Sisterhood of Hip Hop, but her freestyles are exceptional.
(15) Princess Nokia vs. (2) Rapsody
Princess Nokia is the rapping alter-ego of Wavy Spice aka Destiny Frasqueri, as well as her collaborative project with OWWWLS. Their two mixtapes are eclectic without losing focus, drawing on numerous styles and cultures of influence, with an attempt to reach across difference and musically represent humanity as a whole. No bigs. You may have heard of Rapsody since she showed up on Kendrick Lamar’s epic rap opus, To Pimp A Butterfly, but she has been releasing her smooth wordplay as a solo artist since 2010. In her words, she’s “still that rapper that your favourite rapper is scared to rap after.” So good thing she’s up last on these brackets.
These polls are going to close fast, so get your voting done before the end next weekend and then watch out for the second round!