In the snippet of The Fader’s documentary on Princess Nokia, she announces onstage to the crowd, “So like I say at all these patriarchal, male-dominated events: all the motherf—–’’ girls to the f—–’ front!” The women mobbed the stage in triumph, smiling as Nokia crouches down to look them in the eye, vibe, sway and sing with them. For me, that moment was unforgettable; the moment women in hip-hop took control and stopped doing it for the men who control the industry.
The fetishized “female rapper” or “femcee” label is old— consider it canceled. Successful women like Young M.A. and Syd tha Kyd aren’t just a token few in the industry anymore, they’re taking over the whole damn thing. Supporting LGBTQ artists like these ladies is about to be more than just a statement, it’s soon to be the norm. Here are some of the many queer women you should get used to (and love) hearing.
Go down the list, and let us know what you think.
Destiny Frasqueri, aka Princess Nokia, does not give a single fuck about anything but her girls. The brooklyn rapper is seriously vocal about her feminist views and the importance of protecting queer women of color. Her second album, 1992, is full of aggressive, catchy raps about being a magical bruja queen in brooklyn. And her aggression is no front. Recently, she punched a man in the face and threw a drink over his head at Cambridge University after he harassed her during a show. Before ending her set early she announced, “I’m so sorry, but when a white boy (in this particular case) disrespects you, you punch him in the fucking face.”
Since her hit “OOOUUU” blew up radio stations across the country this summer, with frat boys trying to jack her “Headphanie” line, Young M.A. has made it into mainstream hip-hop. She stars in the new Beats “No Strings” commercials, and she’s dropped several hits including her fire “EAT” and “Kween” freestyles. As a black, Hispanic lesbian, she reps herself proudly in her lyrics, explicitly rapping about her sexual experiences and relationships with women. But Young M.A. isn’t all sex— she gets real about depression, the loss of her brother and relationship issues in songs like her “So Gone” freestyle. Her newest single “Hot Sauce” is just as infectiously catchy as “OOOUU”, promising big things for her upcoming Herstory EP.
Syd tha Kyd
Previously a member of the rap collective Odd Future, where Tyler the Creator and Frank Ocean got their start, Syd is also the frontwoman of Grammy nominated R&B collective The Internet. The mohawk rocking lesbian has a sweet, sultry voice, which she showcases in her solo album Fin. Despite an already successful career, Fin is only the beginning for Syd. Since dropping the album in February, Fin has gotten rave reviews for being so smooth and ‘90s reminiscent. Praised for creating an album with such a strong balance of politics and pleasure, Syd writes, “At a time when racism, misogyny, and homophobia are institutionalized to a terrifying degree, carving out a space for feeling good is more than necessary.”
It’s hard to believe Kehlani is just 21 years-old. The bisexual Oakland singer performed with Stevie Wonder on America’s Got Talent when she was 16, her second mixtape debuted at number 5 on the national R&B/Hip-Hop chart, was nominated for a Grammy, and featured a verse from Chance the Rapper. Last year, she spoke out about mental health after suffering a suicide attempt, which sparked beef with known misogynist Chris Brown. Her debut album, SweetSexySavage, which dropped in January, is practically impossible to take off repeat with empowering songs like the Aaliyah sampled “Too Much” and “Advice.” Kehlani’s voice is also debatably the best feature of the Suicide Squad movie, thanks to her super sexy song “Gangsta.”
Angel Haze has had it hard, but she’s fighting even harder for her comeback. According to the Haze, she was born into a cultish religion in one of Detroit’s roughest areas, her father died of an accidental self-inflicted gunshot wound, Haze was raped as child, grew up homeless and developed an eating disorder and self-harming habit. She went through messy breakups with model Ireland Baldwin (Alec’s daughter), as well as her record label, Republic before releasing her mixtape Back to the Woods in 2015. Her music has been featured in movies like The Heat and 22 Jump Street, and she guest starred in an episode of MTV’s Catfish, yet she still can’t seem to break into the mainstream.
However, today could be Haze’s tipping point with the release of her second album Roses Will Rise. In its first single, “Resurrection,” which Haze dropped in November, she’s more confident than ever, spitting lines like, “2014 the year I died / Now I’m resurrected like Jesus Christ” and “Damn, my perfection.” Though the album is highly anticipated by Haze’s fans, they may have to wait a bit longer. This morning she hinted at a delay with this mysterious tweet:
decided to start over
— 🌹FRïDA🌹3/16 (@AngelHaze) March 16, 2017
Haze identifies as agender and pansexual, but she’s fed up with identity labels just as much as record labels. In a Broadly interview, Haze opens with, “It doesn’t matter what you call me. He, she, it, they. I haven’t given a fuck for years.”
Slide in her DMs for discussions on feminism and Donald Glover.