Album cover features the City Girls lying on a bed in white robes and chains.

Rapping Like the Boys

By Pearce O’Neal
Music Journalist

The genre of rap has widely been dominated by men for all of its existence. Though female rappers have been around since the birth of hip-hop, their prominence has seen highs and lows. 2019 saw a surge of the female star in rap. Rappers like Megan Thee Stallion, Rico Nasty, and City Girls all had huge years. They’re not slowing down for 2020 either.

With anthems like “Hot Girl Summer” and “Big Ole Freak,” Megan Thee Stallion took over the summer. From TikToks and Instagram captions, to freestyles and twerk videos, the catchphrase “Hot Girl Summer” was unavoidable. She led a campaign of women using their bodies as a voice. She made all girls feel comfortable in their own bodies, and also made hits while doing it.

Cover of Tina Snow featuring Megan Thee Stallion against a black background.
Cover for Meg Thee Stallion’s EP Tina Snow featuring hit single “Big Ole Freak.” Screenshot by Pearce O’Neal via Apple Music.

“Big Ole Freak” made it to number 99 on the Billboard Hot 100. “Hot Girl Summer” made it all the way to number 11. She used the momentum of these hits to not only propel her rap career, but also make a household name for herself.  She made it clear for girls that they could express themselves in their own individual way, and not worry about the out of date repercussions. After making the XXl 2019 Freshman List, her impact in rap was undeniable. Megan The Stallion just dropped a new EP titled Suga, further carving her name into the female rap bible.  

With her scratchy and almost off-putting voice, Rico Nasty never fails to fill the room with excitement and energy. She joined Meg Thee Stallion on the XXL Freshman List, getting some recognition for her already vast discography. Rising to fame through her mixtapes The Rico Story and Sugar Trap, Rico made it clear she wasn’t here to follow the rule books. Citing Joan Jett as one of her idols, she blends rap and alternative. With her infectious crooning and screaming, she established herself as a genuine rapper, all while keeping her fiery and punk edge.

In 2019, she dropped a collaborative mixtape with up and coming producer Kenny Beats, showing her versatility. She used music videos for these brazen songs as a viable platform to portray her personal identity and her edgy aesthetic. She also joined forces with distinguished rappers A$AP Ferg, Lil Yachty and Earthgang in 2019, adding to her credibility and solidifying her blossoming career.  

After gaining momentum from a feature on Drake’s stand out B side hit “In My Feelings,” City Girls started to become a well-known name. The song went on to break multiple streaming records and inspired a viral dance that took over the internet. The group consists of rappers Yung Miami and JT, rapping about the female trap movement.

Album cover features the City Girls lying on a bed in white robes and chains.
Album cover for Girl Code, the City Girls’ debut studio album. Image via City Girls.

When JT went to prison on fraudulent credit card charges, it seemed like the garnered success of the group might be in for a substantial blow. It was quite the opposite. Their debut studio album Girl Code was released while JT was incarcerated and had multiple songs reach the Billboard Hot 100, including the smash summer hit, “Act Up.” The song threw them to the front of the game and advanced the movement of female empowerment with a club hit. They have announced a follow up to their debut album, said to drop some time this spring. Expect to hear more heat from the City Girls very soon.  

While not always given the recognition they deserve, the female force in hip-hop is not to be reckoned with. Following in the foot-steps of greats like Lauryn Hill, MC Lyte and Missy Elliot, this new generation proves they can rap with the boys. They have a lot to say and they’re going to say it their way. You can check out all of these artist’s work on streaming services and iTunes. Also, listen to the Female Rappers Stay Hard playlist on Spotify to hear them and more great female rappers. 

Featured image via City Girls.

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