Alright, this is old news now, but can we talk about Remy’s diss track puh-leaze?! I hate to see women dissing each other—I really do, but TBH, hearing Remy’s rhymes getting attention has given me life. I mean she is one of the most important woman MCs in hip hop.
The thing is though, she and many other OG female rappers have been out of the spotlight for some time now. Where did they go?! (Honestly, they probably got sick and tired of a gross industry that decided to appropriate their culture and claim that only sex sells — but hey, that’s a whole ‘nother issue we can discuss later). Let’s instead take a moment to celebrate the badass women of hip hop who spoke to all of us and for so many!
Yes, before she was Living Single and prepping for her Last Holiday, she was a pioneer in hip hop. Queen Latifah released her first album, All Hail the Queen, when she was just nineteen years old. Her songs resonated because she was rapping about issues like domestic violence, relationship problems, and harassment. At nineteen she was a voice for black women of all ages, so let’s take a sec to ALL HAIL THE QUEEN!
Before Remy was slaying Nicki, she was killing it as the sole woman in the group Terror Squad. Before her days in Terror Squad, Remy was raising her younger siblings and writing poetry in the Bronx to cope with her surroundings. After serving six years in prison, Remy has used her voice to openly criticize the criminal justice system and mass incarceration. Whether you’re #TeamNicki or #TeamRemy, this rapper deserves respect.
Missy “Misdemeanor” Elliot is one of hip hop’s most significant figures. She started out in the all-female R&B group, Sista. She then became a member of the Swing Mob Collective, and went on to collaborate with Timbaland to produce for Aaliyah, 702, Total, and so many more! Forget about a triple threat, Missy literally does it all! She has also been vocal about her childhood hardships dealing with domestic abuse, and has attributed her own strength to her brave mother.
Okay, can anyone get through The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill without crying? If you can —kudos, you have no soul. Seriously though, this album won so many awards and broke so many records, you can’t talk women in hip hop without praising Ms. Hill. Lauryn started out singing at a young age, and learned to rap and got a lot of her flow from listening to rappers like Ice Cube. She started out in The Fugees and dropped her painfully honest solo record The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill in 1998.
Like Ms. Hill, Eve, born and raised in Philly, also started out singing. When the manager of her all-girl singing group suggested she rap, she killed it and started working on her solo career right away! Her 1999 debut was a major success and made her the third female rapper to top the Billboard 200! Not only was every single song on the album written by Eve, but much like the bad B’s before her, she spoke up about real issues that affect women.
Vinas, don’t get all distracted with diss tracks and beefs. Hip hop is a male-dominated industry so whenever there are badass women to support, let’s do it! Now if only Remy and Nicki could do the same… Sigh.