Infinite x MTV K First Showcase

The 12 Best New Female Emcees Dominating Mics Everywhere

By Beverly Bryan
September 19, 2011

Tags: HOT
  1. #13
    This is not about femcees
  2. #12
    T Yoon Mirae
  3. #11
    Niña Dioz
  4. #10
    Muthoni The Drummer Queen
  5. #9
    Dominique Young Unique
  6. #8
    Jean Grae
  7. #7
    Lady Leshurr
  8. #6
    Snow Tha Product
  9. #5
    Arabyrd
  10. #4
    Nneka
  11. #3
    Angel Haze
  12. #2
    Lioness
  13. #1
    Ana Tijoux
  • This is not about femcees
    Look, it was kinda cute for a second there, but the time has come to retire the word “femcee” forever. We’re serious. So serious in fact, that we’ve come up with a list of twelve reasons why. Each of these women of rhyme should be on your own list of favorite rappers, and not added on as a “femcee” footnote.

    Another thing this list should retire is the idea that talented girls are rare in the rap game or that there can only ever be one female rapper on top in any given scene. The only challenge in coming up with this global round up was narrowing it down to just a few.

    Great female emcees have always been with us of course, but these ladies represent a new vanguard of talent and they’re rolling terribly, terribly deep.

    For now, get to know these twelve. Let's start with #12 T Yoon Mirae
  • #12 T Yoon Mirae
    T Yoon Mirae, is recognized as the reigning queen of South Korean hip hop -- and it’s not just because she’s married to its king, Tiger JK of Drunken Tiger fame. This American-born “Queen of Soul” is known for her vocal chops as well as her talent as a rapper. She sweeps the Korean Music Awards and murders microphones on the regular – but we really love her for her child abuse prevention work and multi-cultural youth activism.

    Photo Credit: MTV K/Yang Tae Jin Next #11 Niña Dioz
  • #11 Niña Dioz
    She’s been compared to everyone from M.I.A. to Lady Sovereign, but Niña Dioz is hammering out her own sound in Monterrey, Mexico’s indie underground. The petite blonde emcee has got an EP and a mixtape out, plus a track in the soundtrack for the film Rudo Y Cursi, starring Diego Luna – but her fans continue to salivate for her long promised debut album. Her talent is such that we know it will be worth the wait.

    Photo courtesy of Niña Dioz/Credit Gloria Rivera Next #10 Muthoni The Drummer Queen
  • #10 Muthoni The Drummer Queen
    Hailing from Kenya, Muthoni the Drummer Queen is emerging onto the world’s radar as a genuinely refreshing emcee and songwriter. Her ambitious debut album The Human Condition draws on African rhythms and she has a grimey streak, but she’s not easy to pin down – or even catch up with, especially not on her churning bilingual single “Mikono Kwenye Hewa.” However, it’s her wry sense of humor, on display in songs like “Welcome to the Disco” that makes her one for fans to watch.

    Photo courtesy of Muthoni the Drummer Queen Next #9 Dominique Young Unique
  • #9 Dominique Young Unique
    The fashionista of our lady rapper bumper crop puts the flow in Florida. Nineteen year-old Dominique Young Unique wears her sense of swagger on her sleeve, but it shows in more ways than her leopard print dresses. At once smooth and motormouthed on her new wave sampling Glamorous Touch mixtape, she switches styles like Nicki Minaj switches outfits. Her skills have landed her on stage alongside everyone from Die Antwoord to Gucci Mane.

    Photo Credit: MTV Iggy/Nichole McCall Next #8 Jean Grae
  • #8 Jean Grae
    Active since the mid-1990s, Jean Grae is a well established artist with several full albums, a filing cabinet full of critical accolades, and props from The Roots and Talib Kweli on her resume. But the South African born and NYC raised lyricist makes this list by dint of consistent and continued freshness – and the number of favorites lists she appears on. She’s a lot of people’s favorite rapper – not just favorite female rapper. And if you don’t believe she’s still on top, check out her new Cookies and Comas mixtape – to be followed soon by Cake or Death

    Photo Credit: Getty/Donald Bowers Next #7 Lady Leshurr
  • #7 Lady Leshurr
    It’s easier to compare Lady Leshurr to those glow-in-the-dark cats that might cure AIDS than it is to compare her to other rappers. Like those genetically modded kitties, the grime emcee is cute as hell, yet powerful and kind of freaky. Her baby face and childlike voice only make her razor-sharp rhymes and NSFW language more of a punch in the brain. Check out her Friggin L mixtape if that’s how you like it. Next #6 Snow Tha Product
  • #6 Snow Tha Product
    California-born, Fort Worth-based Chicana rapper Snow Tha Product runs a record label, and her rhymes in Spanish and English flatten competitors like a steamroller driven by Eminem. But the 22 year-old is more than just independent and lyrically nimble, on the title track to her debut album Unorthodox she becomes the stand-out voice of every girl ever who couldn’t blend in if they tried and her single “Drunk Love” is giggle-like-an-idiot funny.

    Photo courtesy of Snow Tha Product/ Credit Jamiel Boling Next #5 Arabyrd
  • #5 Arabyrd
    Young Malaysian party starter, Arabyrd is making waves in Kuala Lumpur as an emcee and DJ. She’s getting buzz pop appeal, a way with Day-Glo accessories, and aggressive rhyme delivery. She’s opened for Diplo and her just dropped Disco Nected EP is getting crazy blog love worldwide. Online consensus is her Sarawak Malay track “KEK” kills.

    Photo courtesy of Arabyrd Next #4 Nneka
  • #4 Nneka
    Nneka is half Nigerian and half German, half hard hitting emcee and half heartbreaking neo soul diva. She divides her time between Hamburg and Lagos, her lyrics between Igbo and English. But, on a socially aware track like “Soul is Heavy,” from her new album of the same name, she’s completely, spine-tinglingly arresting.

    Photo Courtesy of Nneka/Credit Jason Goldwatch Next #3 Angel Haze
  • #3 Angel Haze
    Angel Haze (known at home as Raee’n Wahya) just dropped a mixtape called King that might change your life. This is particularly true if your life revolves around searching for hip hop prodigies with lyrical grace and intellectual depth. We love that when the 20 year-old emcee isn’t busy with mic assassination she’s on YouTube doling out relationship advice like an actually-helpful version of Dr. Phil.

    Photo courtesy Angel Haze Next #2 Lioness
  • #2 Lioness
    Currently the pride of UK hip hop and grime, Lioness can bounce over the trickiest beats like a Super Ball and spins a stunning spectrum of lyrical moods – from alluring to terrifying to wacky. She’s got a reputation as a force built on a couple of astonishing mixtapes (Roarness, Loch Ness Monster) and some high profile verses but she remains at large and unsigned. She’s no cub though, she’s been in the game since the age of 14.

    Photo Courtesy of Lioness Next #1 Ana Tijoux
  • #1 Ana Tijoux
    Chilean rapera Ana Tijoux discovered hip hop in France when she fled the Pinochet regime with her political activist parents. After returning to Chile, she forged the spotless, effortless style of Spanish-language rhyme that garnered a 2010 Grammy nomination for her sophomore album 1977.

    Photo courtesy of Ana Tijoux More Lists