Women have always been a part hip-hop culture since its inception. One the earliest MCs was Pebbles the Funky 4+1 More back in the '80s. Since then, women have become a powerful voice in the culture, ten standing toe-to-toe with their male counterparts.
In the 1990s, rappers like Queen Latifah pushed feminism in hip-hop to the forefront by demanding that it's "Ladies First," and then years later urging women to embrace "U-N-I-T-Y" and not negativity.
On the West Coast, Yo-Yo told men that she wasn't a toy to be played with, while the rap trio Salt-N-Pepa boosted women's self-esteem and creativity with "Expression."
But in the mid-90s, a post-feminism wave exploded with artists like Lil' Kim and Foxy Brown owning their sexuality through their music and not apologizing for it. Turning a slur into a term empowerment, Lil' Kim boasted proudly that she's a "Queen Bitch" and established a brand that exudes sex with an extra dose lyrical bravado. Her good friend Missy "Misdemeanor" Elliott took it to another level with "She's a Bitch," using the word as a term empowerment.
Other rappers were in-your-face with their feminism by denouncing, broke-ass dudes (TLC's "No Scrubs") and challenging gun-toting rappers to a rap battle (Heather B's "All Glocks Down"). In a moment female solidarity, in 1997, Angie Martinez, Lil' Kim, Left Eye, Da Brat and Missy Elliott teamed up for "Not Tonight (Ladies Night Remix)," a glorious posse track.
Meanwhile, Lauryn Hill recorded an album that would bring a new femininity in hip-hop. Her 1998 debut, The Miseducation Lauryn Hill, fered a solid voice in womanhood as she revealed the many challenges she faced as a woman in growing up in hip-hop and in life.
In honor Women's History Month, The Boombox salutes female rappers who made some noteworthy anthems womanhood and empowerment in the 1990s. As hip-hop continues to evolve, new female MCs (Nicki Minaj, Remy Ma, Cardi B, Tink, Rapsody, DeJ Loaf and more) continue to emerge in the rap game.
So without further ado, here are 10 Women's Rap Anthems the '90s that will make you nod your head and raise your fists.