It’s no secret that the US sets the trends for hip-hop music worldwide. And one of the most striking trends in 2020 was independent women as stars in their own right, without prominent male endorsements or as token members in a mostly-male crew.
Maybe (hopefully) we became less misogynistic as a culture. Maybe the talent was just too undeniable. Maybe the industry decided it was time to represent itself in a more equitable way. Or maybe it’s a retro thing, with groundbreaking artists like Lil Kim and Missy Elliott being re-appreciated.
Whatever the case, American rap now belongs to superstars Cardi B and Megan Thee Stallion. 2020 also saw breakthroughs by City Girls and Flo Milli, and 2021 promises new work by rising artists like Tierra Whack and Babyxsosa.
Here are some other notable women in rap making noise around the globe.
Making trilingual music (Japanese, Korean, and English), Chanmina is set to have a global 2021. Her Angel EP from 2020 borrows from the sultry pop of Jhene Aiko or Ariana Grande, but with a cool that is all hers. “Very Nice to Meet You” is laidback Chanmina.
Rachel Watashiga and Mamiko Suzuki are Chelmico, a duo more given to the true school form of hip-hop. Traditionalists at heart, they also relish branching into the new worlds–for instance their collaboration with M-Flo “Run Always,” which veers into EDM.
South-East London’s Enny came to rap inspired by the lyrics of J. Cole and Missy Elliot’s dance moves, but has since wielded her pen more than her choreography. “Peng Black Girls” is a minor hit in England, a song wishing for more Black empowerment at home and everywhere.
Nigerian-British Shaybo reps South London and raps rough and tough with an easy intelligence. Her aggressive style works on a variety of backdrops; the unimpeachable “Dobale” is spacey and minimal with Afrobeats influence.
Phlow is a veteran riding high with her Marmalade EP, which she recorded more or less spontaneously in the studio. “Cheque” is the sound of an artist with nothing left to prove, choosing a danceable sound to showcase her real rap pedigree. Queen vibe.
Another veteran with a new lease on life, Eva Alordiah took a several-years break from rap and then came back on top with “Friend Or Foe.” Simply put, her Kendrick Lamar-inspired flow is a force to be reckoned with.
Clothing designer and rapper Tássia Reis is an up-and-coming chameleon, as apt to hop on an emotional R&B song as the hard club banger “Dollar Euro.”
Some people are just born to rap. Clara Lima comes from one-on-one battle rapping–nearly a lost art amongst hip-hop’s many forms–but can also craft a song. She tones down her style on the sung chorus of “Amarok,” but maintains her edge always.