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30 Underrated Female Rappers You Should Listen to in 2023

Women have been at the vanguard, battling systems of inequality. Here are 30 underrated female rappers you should know about in 2023.

Fifty years into hip-hop, we are officially living in a renaissance of female rap. From Memphis gangsta rap to Bronx Drill, not only is there a plethora of women stepping up to, but also dominating, the mic. By now, you’ve probably bore witness to people begging for women in rap to get along during Twitter spats between their faves. But rap is inherently competitive. And there are finally enough high-profile women in the game for electrifying collaborations and equally as interesting beef. While they do largely uplift each other, female rappers are also treating rap like the sport that it is.

It’s taken a while for women in rap to get the respect they deserve. “They all rapping about the same thing,” was Jermaine Dupri’s critique of female rappers four years ago. “For me, it’s like strippers rapping,” he continued. Issa Rae’s HBO show Rap Shit was a response to Dupri’s one-dimensional accusations. Co-produced by the City Girls and co-starring rapper KaMillion, the series showcased the variety of perspectives that female rap has to offer.

Female rappers made their presence known during the 2022 and 2023 awards season. Doja Cat secured the Best Pop Duo/Group Performance with SZA at the 64th Grammy Awards. Doechii was Billboard's 2023 Women in Music Rising Star honoree. Latto received the Powerhouse Award the same night. Salt-N-Pepa received a well-deserved star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Missy Elliott made history as the first female hip-hop artist to be inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.

While male rappers have leaned into incel-like tendencies, women have been at the vanguard battling systems of inequality. Megan thee Stallion bore her soul on Traumazineamidst harassment campaigns and furthered a conversation on the plague of misogynoir at the center of hip-hop. Noname hosted book clubs that highlighted works of leftist revolutionary writers, and opened up libraries across the country. Flo Milli, Doechii, and Bree Runway took on the industry’s colorism. Though it feels a bit unfair that female rappers also have to take on the role of activists, they did so gracefully.

Returning from the 2022 hiatus, Okayplayer curated a list of 30 female rappers pushing the boundaries of rap with their lyrical agility, experimental production, and arresting wisdom. Whether you need a pick-me-up, additions to summer party playlists, or some deep storytelling, these artists will blow you away.

Bree Runway (Hackney, London, England)

PARIS, FRANCE - JANUARY 26: (EDITORS NOTE: This image has been retouched at the request of the client].) Bree Runway attends the Mugler Fall Winter 2022/23 Haute Couture show at Grande Halle de La Villette, as part of Paris Fashion Week on January 26, 2023 in Paris, France. (Photo by Pierre Mouton/Getty Images For Mugler) Bree Runway, a pure genre-bender, is just getting started. Photo by Pierre Mouton/Getty Images For Mugler

Michelle Obama was among Bree Runway’s earliest fans. It wasn’t the chic “Hot Hot,” the sultry “All Night,” or the Missy Elliot assisted track “ATM” that caught the former First Lady’s attention, but Bree’s secondary school performance. Runway used her first retail paycheck to buy a “DIY home studio,” creating tracks that would end up on her self-released EP, RNWY 01. Landing a feature on Lady Gaga’s Chromatica, a Fenty ambassadorship, and a BRIT Rising Star nomination, this genre-bender is just getting started.

Maiya The Don (Brooklyn, NYC)

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - JANUARY 20: Maiya The Don attends Ice Spice 2nite at The Ned on January 20, 2023 in New York City. (Photo by Johnny Nunez/WireImage) Maiya The Don is one of the toughest new female rappers. She raps with the authority of a mafia boss. Photo by Johnny Nunez/WireImage

Repping Brooklyn almost as hard as the late BKtidakwave herself, Maiya The Don raps with the authority of a mafia boss. She could honestly make an anthem for anything: The Empire State Building, Crocs, or even Eric Adams’ dismal excuse of a term. Last October, she set her sights on the hottest NYC bag for the viral single “Telfy.” Following it up with soulful kiss-off “Dusties,” she was gracious enough to give broke audacious men the attention they’ve been craving.

Tokischa (Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic)

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - OCTOBER 21: Singer Tokischa performs onstage at The Novo on October 21, 2022 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Scott Dudelson/Getty Images) Tokischa challenges cis-hetero standards of feminity, respectability, and divinity. Photo by Scott Dudelson/Getty Images

Tokischa’s allergic to cultural norms. Some discovered her as Madonna’s controversially young muse, others were introduced to her as a the clit draped in a latex vulva on the Billboard Latin Music Awards red carpet. Walking performance art, the Dominican rapper also uses dem bow as a medium to challenge cis-hetero standards of feminity, respectability, and divinity.

Fam0us.twinsss (Mobile, Alabama)

The Fam0us.twinsss sit side by side in front of a brick backdrop Consuela and Allie Jones are The Fam0us.twinsss, and they are some of the most pugnacious female rappers working. Photo credit: screengrab, YouTube

Every Fam0us.twinsss track is a ruthless tag team. Alabamanians to their core, Consuela and Allie Jones’ intonations in “stalk-king” and “watch-ing” give the effect of them kicking someone’s knees in from the back.“Big Scary” is an unleashed display of their thick country accents. Their inflections move you similar to being seated in a bounce house full of children hopped up on sour patch kids.

Rah Rah Gabor (Newark, New Jersey)

RaRah holds her chest and looks into the camera for a close-up Rah Rah Gabor was one of the stars of Kelela's Raven album.

Kelela reserved the sole feature on her much-anticipated 2023 album, Raven, for Rah Rah Gabor. For 38 seconds, the New Jersey rapper injected clever humor and uptempo flows into a largely ambient and semi-cerebral album. The line “You like 'em brown, you ain't another Clayton Bigsby” makes abundantly clear why she identifies with the word “unruly.”

Tia Corine (Winston-Salem, North Carolina)

ATLANTA, GEORGIA - MARCH 05: TiaCorine performs at Coca Cola Roxy on March 05, 2023 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Paul R. Giunta/Getty Images) Tia Corine rides Grand Theft Auto-type beats with punchy hooks. Photo by Paul R. Giunta/Getty Images Photo by Paul R. Giunta/Getty Images

If scientists examined your brain while you listened to 2022’s I Can’t Wait, they probably would think you were playing a video game. With Coi animated ad-libs and an alt-edge reminiscent of Rico Nasty, Tia Corine rides Grand Theft Auto-type beats with punchy hooks. On the slinky “Freaky T,” she teases with coy brattiness: “Glocky like a baby/carry that on my hip.” There’s a fascinating androgynous quality to her songs. She’s both the rapper and the R&B feature recruited to make tracks attractive across genres.

Ice Spice (Bronx, NYC)

HOLLYWOOD, CALIFORNIA - MARCH 27: Ice Spice speaks onstage during the 2023 iHeartRadio Music Awards at Dolby Theatre on March 27, 2023 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic) Ice Spice doesn’t just understand the internet, she bends it to her will. Photo by Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic

From the word “munch” to “duh-duh-duh,” Ice Spice has set irresistible vocal trends since her breakthrough in August. “You thought I was feeling you?” and “How can I lose if I’m already chose?” are two ubiquitous philosophical queries of the past decade. A staple in Gen-Z queer culture, Spice doesn’t just understand the internet, she bends it to her will. Fascinatingly, her debut EP, Like…?, did not feature seasoned producers or artists. Meticulously constructing her star project, the 23-year-old Bronx rapper is riding her own wave with her day ones. Thanks to the success of “Boy’s a liar Pt. 2,” similar to her idol Nicki Minaj, she’s reaching the stage where she could probably charge 50K for a verse with no album out.

GloRilla (Memphis, Tennessee)

SUNRISE, FLORIDA - MARCH 17: Rapper Glorilla performs during "On Big Party Tour" at FLA Live Arena on March 17, 2023 in Sunrise, Florida. (Photo by Prince Williams/Wireimage) GloRilla builds upon the labor of hometown icons La Chat and the late Gangsta Boo. Photo by Prince Williams/Wireimage

GloRilla is the Funshine carebear with a flamethrower attachment. Endearingly positive about the endless possibilities, she bestows mantras with every song: “Every day the sun won’t shine/But that’s why I love tomorrows.” Reorienting cultural conversations to Memphis, she builds upon the labor of hometown icons La Chat and the late Gangsta Boo. With “Tomorrow 2” she takes the baton and sprints across the country, spreading the sound with each stride.

Gloss Up (Memphis, Tennessee)

Gloss Up wearing green and posing for the camera Gloss Up has become a go-to for collabs with female rappers like Lakeyah, Flo Milli, and best friend GloRilla.

Motherhood is considered an infamous career impediment. Gloss Up didn’t get the memo. Securing a record deal with Quality Control, she still freestyles with her baby on her hip. “Don’t play ‘bout my respect/Whoop you hoes like my son,” she harnesses the threatening aura of a pissed mom in “Alone.” Protective of her friends as much as her kids, Gloss has become a go-to for collabs with artists like Lakeyah, Flo Milli, and best friend GloRilla.

K Carbon, Slimeroni, Aleza (Memphis, Tennessee)

K Carbon and others stand and pose for the camera K Carbon, Slimeroni, and Aleza are part of the internet's favorite supergroup. Photo credit: screengrab, YouTube

There is never a dull moment or weakling when K Carbon, Slimeroni, Aleza, Gloss Up, and GloRilla link up for a posse cut. “Set the Tone” and “Hot Potato” piqued the internet’s interest in this supergroup after GloRilla’s meteoric rise. “Shabooya” and “Eeny Meeny Miny Moe” solidified their collective power. These reunions serve as reliable recharging bases to energize them for their respective solo projects.

Lola Brooke (Brooklyn, NYC)

AUSTIN, TEXAS - MARCH 16: Lola Brooke performs at the Billboard presents The Stage at SXSW during the 2023 SXSW conference and festival on March 16, 2023 in Austin, Texas. (Photo by Tim Mosenfelder/Getty Images) Lola Brooke is not to be trifled with. Photo by Tim Mosenfelder/Getty Images

Lola Brooke demands princess treatment though she commands verses like a monarch. “Make me feel good” has become somewhat of a tagline for the Brooklynite. Even her predecessors Latto and Yung Miami knew they had to deliver nothing but the best and most memorable verses on the remix for Lola’s breakthrough single “Don’t Play With It.”

Monaleo (El Paso, Texas)

Monaleo with pink hair Speakers everywhere were not safe after the release of “Beating Down Yo Block." Photo credit: screengrab, YouTube

“I will kill you and let my cousin do a TikTok on your grave” is not what you would expect to hear from someone wearing a Barbie pink two-piece but Monaleo contains multitudes. Speakers everywhere were not safe after the release of her Miami bass tracks “Beating Down Yo Block” and “We Not Humping (Remix).” An aspiring mortician, Leo is extremely comfortable with death, violence, and morbidity. Recounting a childhood spent hitting classmates so hard that their shoes went flying but also one where roaches infested her home and bullies invaded her space, it makes sense that she made stand-up routines out of her demons.

Sexxy Red (St. Louis)

Sexyy Red holding a WWE belt Sexyy Red is one of the female rappers who doesn’t fall victim to self-censorship. Photo credit: screengrab, YouTube

Sexxy Red has the kind of infectiously carefree energy that inspires typically reserved folks, like a pregnant Summer Walker, to let loose and twerk on car hoods. Devoid of a filter, the St. Louis rapper doesn’t fall victim to self-censorship. Some of her best lines would definitely have been edited out by someone trying to achieve radio acceptance: “My coochie pink, my booty-hole brown.” The more fun she has with random lines, “Bald head, scallywag/Lick between my booty crack,” the more rewarding it is for us as listeners.


Lous and the yakuza (Lubumbashi, Democratic Republic of the Congo)

PARIS, FRANCE - MARCH 06: Lous & The Yakuza wears gold embossed LV monogram pattern sunglasses from Louis Vuitton, gold earrings, a silver nose piercing, a pale green and pale blue embroidered ruffled silk / satin sleeveless tank-top from Louis Vuitton, outside Louis Vuitton, during Paris Fashion Week - Womenswear Fall Winter 2023 2024, on March 06, 2023 in Paris, France. (Photo by Edward Berthelot/Getty Images) A Black woman in the world, a French rapper in hip-hop, Lous & The Yakuza is a vagabond sketching a lyrical road map with her songs. Photo by Edward Berthelot/Getty Images

French is the language of romance, diplomacy, and, in the unique case of Lous the Yakuza, survival. The Congolese-Belgian singer called a music studio home for a while after her parents kicked her out for choosing to pursue music instead of medicine. In the music video for “Dilemme” she’s a high priestess leader of a band of misfits. Her voice is so velvety smooth that it would deceive somber lines like “Si je pouvais je vivrais seule/Loin de mes chaines et des gens que j'aime (If I could I would live alone/Away from my chains and the people I love)” if it were not for the dissociative quality in her delivery. A Congolese living in Brussels, a Black woman in the world, and a French rapper in hip-hop, she’s a vagabond sketching a lyrical road map with her songs.

DETO Black (Lagos, Nigeria)

LONDON, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 09: Deto Black attends the Channel 4.0 launch party at Saatchi Gallery on November 09, 2022 in London, England. (Photo by David M. Benett/Dave Benett/Getty Images for Channel 4) DETO Black has a riot grrrl spunk. Photo by David M. Benett/Dave Benett/Getty Images for Channel 4

A certified accountant with a Bachelor's in Social Anthropology, DETO Black draws from a deep well of cultural knowledge. Her delivery has a riot grrrl spunk. Her demands are that of a bag-chasing city girl. “Independent bitch and I’m really really rich but I don’t give a fuck you’re paying,” she scoffs on “Drop Off.” She’s the personification of an eye-roll, but she takes partying just as seriously as cashing in on her worth.

Clip (NYC)

Clip poses in a winter coat Clip resides at the intersection of sad girl and bad bitch. Photo credit: screengrab, YouTube

“‘Cause I’m a sad bitch but I love being bad/Hopped up out my feelings/And I hopped in my bag,” Clip resides at the intersection of sad girl and bad bitch. Once thought of as opposites on the ontological spectrum, these personas are actually one and the same on tracks like “Villian.” Painful confessionalism is a passing guest on a Clip song, quickly escorted out by jumping breakbeats and hazy seductive pitched-up vocals.

Asian Doll (Dallas)

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - OCTOBER 29: Asian Doll performs at the Rolling Loud NYC music festival in Citi Field on October 29, 2021 in New York City. ( Asian Doll calls herself the “Queen of Drill." Photo by Astrida Valigorsky/Getty Images

When Asian Doll speaks, you get the sense that she really means every word. She’s not one to play or provoke for the sake of provocation. So when she called herself the “Queen of Drill,” she dropped a 20-track album of solid drill tracks exploring love, heartbreak, defending her throne, and getting back at her opps, of course. She’s quick to call someone out on Twitter but she’s just as quick to hop in the booth to make them eat their words on retorts like “Nunnadet Shit.”

Lebra Jolie (Houston)

Lebra-Jolie sits on a couch, a young female rapper In Lebra Jolie, we trust. The Houston native is one of the best new female rappers. Photo credit: screengrab, YouTube

In a just world, Lebra Jolie would be Andrew Tate’s sleep paralysis nightmare. Her self-titled EP holds a mirror up to dickheads who worship at the tabernacle of alpha male ministry. “What Kinda” is the ultimate ice bath wake-up call for these losers: “You too excited for these niggas even got the same fit/Buying watches for yo’ boys but you say you ain’t a trick.” The way she rolls her consonants on “Think It’s Funny” really tops off her insults. In Lebra Jolie, we trust.

Mercury (Atlanta)

Female rapper Mercury poses Tabula Rasa is Mercury's latest album and it is a mind trip. Photo credit: screengrab, YouTube

When The Face asked Mercury to name a bad habit, she confessed, “Talking over people. My brain doesn’t rest.” This freneticism characterizes her homespun music. Tabula Rasa, the Tennesse rapper’s latest album, is an experimental amalgamation of Southern trap, her emo Warped Tour headliner influences, and the eclectic sounds of Odd Future, and The Internet. Only a mind as restless as hers could corral these sounds into a cohesive follow-up to a firecracker debut.

Billy B (Brooklyn, NYC)

Billy B against a blue background Billy B is one of the best new female rappers to come out of Brooklyn. Photo credit: screengrab, YouTube

Out of all the remixes to “Don’t Play With It,” Billy B’s verse reigns supreme. Brooklyn is her home turf after all: “Them Brooklyn bitches/They ain’t really nothing to play with.” Though she’s loyal to drill, she flirts with Jersey club on “BREAK” and Bachata on “BACHATA.”

The Last Artful, Dodgr (Portland, Oregon)

PARIS, FRANCE - FEBRUARY 18: Dodgr performs during Polydor and Interscope Party at Le Badaboum on February 18, 2020 in Paris, France. (Photo by David Wolff - Patrick/Redferns) The Last Artful, Dodgr’s voice is very pliable. Photo by David Wolff - Patrick/Redferns

The Last Artful, Dodgr’s voice is so pliable, you’ll wonder if there are hidden features in her song. From track to track, she’s a different person. A past life providing backing vocals for artists like Aminé could explain these impressive vocal modulations. Her songs are as versatile as her vocal range. “IT” is quintessential bedroom R&B, while “Lightwork” is a contemporary reimagining of ‘90s pop if The Internet were producing back then.

Shenseea (Kingston, Jamaica)

INGLEWOOD, CALIFORNIA - MARCH 05: Singer Shenseea is one of the female rappers performing onstage during day 3 of Rolling Loud Los Angeles at Hollywood Park Grounds on March 05, 2023 in Inglewood, California. (Photo by Scott Dudelson/Getty Images) Just 26 years old, Shenseea has been on songs with Christina Aguleria and Sean Paul and was featured on Kanye West’s Donda, Photo credit: Getty

Dancehall has a rising star in Shenseea. Just 26 years old, she’s been on songs with Christina Aguleria and Sean Paul and was featured on Kanye West’s Donda, for which she received a Best Album Grammy nomination. After a while of lending her honeyed vocals on R&B tracks or crafting boisterous rap features, she released her debut album, ALPHA. The pleasure-centered “Lick” became a standout with a Meg thee Stallion feature.

Lady London (Bronx, NYC)

Lady London poses against a black backdrop. She is one of the most underrated female rappers of 2023 There isn’t a social media platform that Lady London can’t conquer. Photo credit: screengrab, YouTube

Lady London’s throwaway freestyles could embarrass many rappers’ curated discographies. Rap wasn’t even one of her prospects when she uploaded an impromptu poem to her 9,500 Instagram followers in 2018. The clip's virality changed her trajectory, landed her a record deal, and lead to the compilation of some of her best freestyles on the 2022 mixtape Lady Like: The Boss Tape. Pulling out all the rhetorical devices in her arsenal, London dropped a 2023 freestyle that reached just over a minute and a half. Her lyrics are all over TikTok. There isn’t a social media platform she can’t conquer.

Sukihana (Wilmington, Delaware)

Female rapper Sukihana leans into the camera Sukihana has become the undeniable ambassador of raunch and sexual liberation. Photo credit: screengrab, YouTube

Though she joined Love & Hip Hop: Miami in its third season, Sukihana quickly became a notable member of the VH1 reality TV series. She’s become the undeniable ambassador of raunch and sexual liberation. It’s fitting that she was one of Cardi B and Meg thee Stallion’s three muses for the cultural reset that was “WAP.” Honestly, this controversial track seems tame compared to Sukihana’s orgy-themed videos and pearl-clutching NSFW lyrics in Wolfy Pussy.

Omeretta the Great (Atlanta)

Omeretta the Great, one of the best new female rappers, poses for the camera Omeretta the Great is one of the female rappers who has been cranking out freestyles these past couple of years. Photo credit: screengrab, YouTube

Omeretta the Great ruffled a couple of feathers with her territorial ode to Atlanta “Sorry Not Sorry.” As a former Love and Hip-Hop: Atlanta member and a Zone 3 baby, she has the credentials to back up her hometown pride. Cranking out freestyles these past couple of years, she’s released her LP, Emotional Gangsta. She spars bar for bar with Key Glock but also lets her guard down with Tink. With the space to sit with her vulnerability, she can’t help but to sing the pain away.

Mello Buckzz (Chicago)

Mello Buckzz in glasses and holding her chain up for the camera. She's one of the best female rappers Chicago rapper Mello Buckz is a steadying and energizing presence. Photo credit: screengrab, YouTube

Interpolations of nursery rhymes, schoolyard chants, and childhood songs have been quite popular lately. None can touch the creativity of “BOOM,” formerly “Mousekatool.” Helming a crew of versatile Chicago rappers, Amari Blaze, Kashh Mir, and Moni Da G, Mello Buckz is a steadying and energizing host. Her imprint is so solid when Atlanta rapper Latto hopped on the remix, it still remained a Windy City anthem.

Lay Bankz (Philadelphia)

Female rapper Lay Bankz looks up into the camera Lay Bankz is becoming the go-to feature for up-and-coming rap artists who need a silky verse. Photo credit: screengrab, YouTube

YouTube pranks and TikTok clips garnered Lay Bankz an audience, and her youthful croons over club beats won her fans among the likes of Bandmanrill. “In My Bag” is an uptempo declaration of self-worth full of elegant runs. Updating the romantic desperation of old-school R&B with new-age toxicity, Lay Bankz is becoming the go-to feature for up-and-coming rap artists who need a silky verse to balance their frenetic flows on racing beats.

Vel Nine (Baldwin Park, California)

Female rapper vel nine out on a basketball court The Los Angeles native honors the city that molded her creativity and the people who poured into her humanity. Photo credit: screengrab, YouTube

In a cosmic way, Vel Nine’s musical career is an extension of her father’s short-lived time as a DJ. Selling his equipment to provide for her when she was born, he set into motion the events that Vel would later rap about in songs like “Mija.” No matter the platform, The Cypher Effect series on YouTube, or a Netflix film, the Los Angeles native honors the city that molded her creativity and the people who poured into her humanity.

ACE TEE (Hamburg, Germany)

one of the best female rappers Ace Tee in front of fire Ace Tee seems to enjoy the catharsis of humbling those who aren’t on her level. Photo credit: screengrab, YouTube

ACE TEE loves to rage. You might not know what the polyglot is saying when she switches to German, but it’ll get you hyped. Not particularly aggrieved, she seems to enjoy the catharsis of humbling those who aren’t on her level, whether that be in the financial, lyrical, or vulvic arena. Shame is a potent force. ACE TEE wields it like an Excalibur sword.

Dirtsa (Douala, Cameroon)

Close up of Dirtsa looking into the camera Dirtsa doesn’t translate her Afrofuturist bars or production for western ears or approval. Photo credit: screengrab, YouTube

Frenetic jams defined the past few years of popular music. Dirtsa slows it down with lo-fi musings. She doesn’t translate her Afrofuturist bars or production for western ears or approval. In middle school, her french teacher told her “You don’t know how to write, you will never know how, don’t even think about it.” This is the kind of harsh soul-crushing criticism you’d forgive an artist for harping on for decades, however, Dirtsa would rather focus on her love for the Black artists from the past, present, and future who have held her down and will hold her down.


Heven Haile is a contributing writer for Pitchfork with bylines at i_D, Dazed, bitchmedia, and more.