Hidden Figures: An Overdue Spotlight on Pioneer Lady MCs



Pioneers are often appreciated but need to be remembered in every genre, and Hip-Hop is no exception. Below are unsung women in Hip-Hop who paved the way for generations.

Oaktown’s 3.5.7.

Oaktown’s 357 credit by Rolling Stone Australia

This Bay Area, California group started as background dancers for MC Hammer but would soon create their lane. Songs like Yeah, Yeah, Yeah, and Juicy Gotcha Krazy became house party classics.

Monie Love

Monie Love credit by Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

This London MC made an impressive debut on Queen Latifah’s classic Ladies First. Along with Latifah, A Tribe Called Quest, Jungle Brothers, and De La Soul, Love later became a member of the legendary Hip-Hop collective known as Native Tongues, delivering a verse on the posse cut Buddy. Songs like It’s a Shame and Monie in the Middle gave her solo shine before she later became a veteran radio jock.

MC Sha-Rock

MC Sha-Rock credit by HotNewHipHop

The anointed “Mother of the Mic, MC Sha-Rock, was the lone lady MC/Breakdancer in the Bronx, New York group Funky 4+1. The group’s appearance on Saturday Night Live in 1981 made them the first in Hip Hop to perform on national television. Rock’s style, heard through underground mixtapes, influenced future rappers like MC Lyte, Queen Latifah, and DMC of Run DMC.

Lady B

Lady B credit by WXPN

From Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Lady B was signed to the legendary Sugar Hill Records. The Philly MC’s 1979 debut, To the Beat Ya’ll, became a hit and a Hip Hop catchphrase for decades. She later created her legend as one of the first radio personalities to play rap music on-air in the city.

MC Trouble

An early Hip Hop era West Coast artist out of Los Angeles, California, MC Trouble became the first female rapper to be signed to Motown. The lead single I Wanna Make You Mine ft. The Good Girls debuted as a popular dance jam before her life was cut short by an illness.

Yo Yo

Yo-Yo credit by WGJS Radio

The protégé of Ice Cube, this Compton, California-born MC held reign supreme in the song You Can’t Play with My Yo-Yo. She later matched rap bars with her mentor on The Bonnie and Clyde Theme ft Ice Cube. Yo Yo also made her mark acting on TV shows like Martin and New York Undercover and films like Boyz in Da Hood and Waist Deep.

J.J. Fad

JJ Fad credit by Hip Hip Wiki

The trio of MC J.B., Baby D, and Sassy C, known as J.J. Fad, breathed life into the careers of N.W.A. As CEO of Ruthless Records, Eric “Eazy-E” Wright caught the buzz of the group around southern California through their mixtapes. Eazy signed the group and then rereleased Supersonic on Ruthless Records. The song became a mainstream hit, and its commercial success was used to fund the label’s next project shortly afterward, Straight Outta Compton.

Sister Souljah

Sister Souljah credit by The Nation

After the debut of the album 360 Degrees of Power, the Bronx-born radical artist became more known as an activist than a rapper. Sister Souljah applied her pen skills to create written novels such as the classic The Coldest Winter Ever.


Boss credit by People

Although born and raised in Detroit, Michigan, Boss was discovered by West Coast legend DJ Quik, who helped get her signed to Def Jam Records. The album Born Gangstaz delivered successful singles such as Deeper, Progress of Elimination, and Recipe of a Hoe, making an unapologetic mark for street raps. RIP to the original Bo$$ lady of Gangsta Rap.

The post Hidden Figures: An Overdue Spotlight on Pioneer Lady MCs appeared first on American Urban Radio Networks.

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