What a time to be a female rapper. For once, there's room for women of different styles, backgrounds and aesthetics to concurrently thrive in hip-hop. And of the new stars, Cardi B is the leader of the pack. The Bronx-bred rapper is responsible for 19 Billboard Hot 100 tracks—14 of which are her own. Her debut album Invasion of Privacy has been charting since its April release, and she has two No. 1 singles under her belt: the Latin-flavored "I Like It" and last summer's Grammy-nominated anthem "Bodak Yellow."
Cardi isn't hogging the spotlight for herself, though. She took to Twitter this week to share a bit of the spotlight with her peers:
All the aforementioned women have put out projects this year that are oozing with audacious, unapologetic bars, similar to those Cardi B has been spitting for the past year. Cardi asked fans for their faves as well, retweeting a reply that mentions Philadelphia native Tierra Whack, who showed off her imaginative vision and zany sounds with the 15-minute project Whack World. "Thanks for putting me on !,” Cardi tweeted in response. “Which songs you suggest ?I need new music in my ear.”
While speaking to Associated Press in September 2017, Bardi mentioned that she wants to work with all of the female rap artists out right now, including Lil Kim, Trina, Remy Ma and Nicki Minaj (the latter appeared alongside Cardi on Migos’ “Motorsport”).
While fans await more Cardi B collaborations, XXL compiles an primer on the rappers that she favors and why you should get familiar with them. Take a look below.
Name: Bianca Bonnie
Projects/Songs You Should Know: The 9th Year, “Faith In These Brownskins,” “Hurd Ju” featuring Remo the Hitmaker, “Plain Jane Freestyle”
Why You Should Listen: Formally known as Young B of “Chicken Noodle Soup” fame, Bianca Bonnie has been paying her dues for years. Like Cardi B, she starred on Love & Hip-Hop: New York and made her name as one of the premier female spitters in Harlem. “Faith in These Brownskins,” her flip on Fabolous’ bar “All I got is faith in these lightskins” off “Faith In Me,” is her most popular track to date—the song’s visual has been viewed over 1.2 million times.
Name: City Girls
Projects/Songs You Should Know: Period, “Fuck Dat Nigga,” “I’ll Take Your Man,” “Period,” “Where the Bag At”
Why You Should Listen: After releasing their jaw-dropping breakout track “Fuck Dat Nigga” in 2017, Quality Control Music signees Yung Miami and JT caused a commotion with their debut mixtape, Period. Their hypersexual bars—which often question how much men are willing to spend on them—have garnered them huge looks, including one from Drake, who sampled the ladies on his chart-topping track “In My Feelings.” Yung Miami, who stars in the single’s visual, is currently promoting their mixtape sans JT, who is incarcerated on fraud charges.
Projects/Songs You Should Know: "Queen Elizabitch," "Ephorize," “Deepthroat,” “Vagina,” “Duck Duck Goose” and “Crayons”
Why You Should Listen: Many wouldn’t believe 21-year-old CupkakKe performed poetry at churches in her teens. Since the NSFW track “Vagina” went viral in October 2015, CupkakKe has gone on to perform sets at big-name festivals nationwide, showing love to those who aren’t afraid to get down and dirty, whether in public or private.
Name: Katie Got Bandz
Projects/Songs You Should Know: Bandz and Hittaz, Drillary Clinton mixtape series, “I Need a Hitta,” “Lil Bitch,” “Pop Out” featuring King Louie, “39 Bars”
Why You Should Listen: Katie Got Bandz is no stranger to the business. Her abrasive 2012 breakout track “I Need a Hitta” turned her into a viral gif—her gun-toting scenes in the visual were highly alarming, yet one couldn’t look away. Undoubtedly the first female drill rapper to reach nationwide success, Katie continues to drop projects that give an intense view of Chicago’s turbulent rap scene.
Hometown: Bay Area and Sacramento, Calif.
Projects/Songs You Should Know: High Maintenance, “Icy Grl,” “Focus, “Anti,” “B.A.N.”
Why You Should Listen: Saweetie stepped onto the hip-hop scene in 2017 with “Icy Grl,” her viral revamp of Khia’s infectious, sexually-charged classic “My Neck, My Back (Lick It)”—both the track and video have a combined 62 million streams on YouTube and SoundCloud. The 25-year-old USC alum began taking her rap career serious after graduating and has become a leading voice for women empowerment in less than a year’s time with her confidence-boosting trap singles.