Doors didn’t open easily for women in hip-hop. Female hip-hop artists have been trying to break that glass ceiling since hip-hop was born in 1973. From times when the genre didn’t feel big enough for more than one female name to women now dominating the hip-hop and pop charts, female rappers have found their true power in coming together on a track.
Female hip-hop collaborations were a rare find in the early decades of the genre. By the mid- to late ’90s, however, the lyrics and voices of two or more women trading bars on the same rap song were well within reach on the radio. Artists like Queen Latifah called for respect and unity and gracefully demanded an end to the misogynoir plaguing the hip-hop industry. Rappers like Missy Elliott and Da Brat exuded unconventional styles with a healthy dose of disdain for the male gaze, while artists like Lil’ Kim and Foxy Brown unapologetically played into it. When they came together on a track, it was a showcase of empowering fun as well as lyrical talent.
When pop music got a hold of the power of sprinkling in rap verses on singles in the ’90s to early 2000s, rap collaborations trended in a fresh, new direction. Today, female artists have claimed their place in the hip-hop music scene. No longer guests in a space they helped create, female rappers—like Nicki Minaj, Cardi B, Latto, Rico Nasty, Flo Milli, Kaliii, and more—are not shy about making their presence known and even doing it together.
The rap elders are pleased. Veteran emcee Yo-Yo told Revolt in an interview that she’s proud to see women advocating for themselves in hip-hop. “I think this generation is more fearless,” she said. “They say what they want, and they get it.”
If it’s a collab the women of rap want to do, they’ll get no complaints from fans. Between the hip-hop charts, iTunes streams, and social media views, the people have spoken: All-female rap collaborations are in demand and here to stay.
Stacker used various sources to list 25 of the best female hip-hop collaborations over the past 50 years. Read on to see if your favorite all-female collab made the list.