Hip hop remains a male dominated sport despite the emergence of new female rappers such as Rapsody, Phlow, Goldlink and even Young M.A. - One of the reasons hip hop will continue to remain male dominated is the lack of serious female talents in the game. None of which can ever hold their own for more than two minutes. The continent (Africa) has also had its own share of femcees but as usual, they are never able to sustain it to reach legendary status. Is it a lack of talent or a drive thing? I know a lot of female rappers that'll tell you nobody takes them seriously in hip hop (like females in politics) but I've never met such people. Have you?
The likes of Nigeria's Sasha, who I believe was seriously overrated was regarded as a great despite the fact that her bars were well below average. Well, at least she was consistent for a minute. Eva Alordiah (Nigeria) and, Xtatic (Kenya), are also popular names to have disappeared off the face of the Earth. (Quick note) Eva recently dropped her much delayed 1960 album but her hype had already died down by then. Xtatic on the other hand has been poorly managed which is sad because the talent is there for everyone to see. Female emcees in general have never been able to hold their own for long in an industry that's highly competitive. I could ask you the reader to name ten female emcees from around the world and i bet you'd struggle to name 5. Quiz yourself if you doubt me (New school femcees not old). P.S. I was told the word femcee is offensive to female rappers. Are we bringing feminism into hip hop now?
The fact that most female rappers think they need sex appeal to keep the audience stimulated is absurd. Lauryn Hill, Queen Latifah, Missy Elliot, Rah Digga, MC Lyte just to name a few are proper emcees who never had sex appeal. Nicki Minaj made being a bunny in female rap cool but it's never that. Talent is what counts in this game so don't try to hide behind Nicki Minaj's barbie syndrome. Your bars will speak for you.
With every thing going on I had to ask myself... Who are Africa's top female talents right now and how long will they last? Well, i have no idea but these crop (old & new) have a solid backing and foundation behind them which can help them go a long way, but just like the fellas, they still gotta put in work as talent only counts for 40% in this genre, ability to pick a beat is also key. This was hard to do because quality female rappers in Africa are rare, kind of like good leaders. For some of them i had to do some extra digging as they aren't your regular MTV base names.
In no particular order, here are Africa's hip hop queens.
Bombshell is Zambia's leading lady in rap. The volatile rapper came up in the scene in an aggressive way with "Bad Mothafucker" featuring Bulo Man, TR and 5ive 4our and hasn't looked back ever since. She describes her sound as "Unique, diverse, authentic and explosive." Bombshell doesn't hold back lyrically and like her name suggests, she packs a punch. She's a problem!!
Rouge is still pretty much new to me so the jury is still out on this one. But if you've ever heard her rap I'm sure you won't deny her talents. With the ability to both sing and rap in English as well as French , Rouge is one of Africa's brightest sparks in female rap right now. Over are still relatively new career she has worked with the likes of AKA, Reason, Moozlie and has even opened for Cassper Nyovest. Her bars are feisty and filled with the cockiness you'd expect from a young emcee. The spotlight is on Rouge right now, how she uses it all depends on her.
Nadia Nakai is Family Tree's first lady and at this stage no longer new to us. She had already created a buzz for herself before Cassper swopped in but the platform Family Tree provides her is much bigger than anything she had when she was independent. She started to generate attention for herself when she won the mixtape 101 competition on the ETV show, Shiz Niz. But her big break finally came in 2014 when she dropped a feisty verse on Riky Rick's "Amantombazane." Nadia is not all beauty the "bad bitch" can actually rap. Her Family Tree debut Bragga is out now. Listen to it and judge for yourself.
Phlow is fucking nice fam!! She's so nice that she may body some of your favorite male rappers. Signed with Str8Buttah productions, Phlow has been low key killing it with consistent material and high volume wordplay. Over the years she has taken time to build her talents - holding her own in male dominated rap competitions. The Lagos based rapper has been featured on top websites across the world including creative-hiphop.com, HipHopDX, The Source and 2DBZ. Phlow is not afraid of a challenge and it's about time people start to take her seriously. Sleep on her at your own peril
Keko's mission for supremacy began back in 2010 when she appeared on "Fallen Heroes" alongside Don Mc, SP, Davis and the Mwanba Children Choir. The song was dedicated to the lost soldiers of the world not just Uganda. Her verse was arguably the best spat on the track -- The love and feedback she got from the record gave her the motivation she needed to kick on. Her big break finally came after she recorded "How We Do." The smash hit went on to propel her as one of UG's leading women in rap. She's been consistent for the last five years and has succeeded where most men have failed. She released her debut album "Strides" back in September of last year -- Her mind is in a much better place now, her drug problems are in the past and she just wants to focus on her music and help young Ugandan's live the best life they can.
This lady from Ghana is a beast on the mic, in her own words she got "balls" (She said it not me). Tough wordplay, ability to switch flows, aggression and drive, Eno got it all. Hip hop in Ghana is too male dominated but Eno has survived and lasted longer than some of her male counterparts. Eno doesn't care about the barbie syndrome with her freakish tomboy looks -- when she's in the booth she's a man. Eno is currently Ghana's female rap queen and nobody's touching her. You can even argue she's top 5 GH rappers all round. Quote me on that.
So riddle me this ladies. How come we get constant collaborations from the guys but not from the women? They reach out to each other not minding the language barrier or ego but we never get such link up from y'all. There's a popular misconception that women generally hate each other but i strongly believe and hope that's not true. Women will rise in rap when we decide to put away the differences for a common good which is hip hop and bodying beats. Every femcee I mentioned will give most of the male dominant rappers the run around or at least hold their own. I made y'all twitter handles available for a specific reason, build your fan base outside your country -- Reach out to yourselves and collaborate, but knowing how the woman mind works -- it's a "I'm bigger and more popular than you are so I won't reach out."
If we don’t challenge this male dominated sport then what do young aspiring female rappers have to look forward too? With great power comes a great responsibility.