Top Pre-1990 Female Rap Songs

Shante

Roxy Music: Having a nice day but too old to be playing on that thing

After months of research, trawling through our record libraries and interviewing thousands of Fat Lace readers for their input, we give you the definitive list of the best pre-1990 female rap songs. OK, we interviewed nobody and it’s formed of our own bias but it’s a valid study. We’re working on the post-1990 list as we speak. Popular opinion dictates that Women are only good for managing hedge funds, heading up international peace keeping missions, flying jets and baking cakes but we think that’s unfair, they can also rap, well some can and a few even do it quite well, so let’s celebrate the fairer rapping sex in all their perfumed glory.

Isis ‘The Power Of Myself Is Moving’ (4th & Broadway)
The title would suggest this song was about flicking herself off but no, she was talking about her independence and inner- female strengths. Girl power 101 by Isis. The Slave sample really hooked us in and there’s even a guest appearance by Professor X who apparently loved to show the ladies his big black staff.

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Roxanne Shante ‘Have A Nice Day’ (Cold Chillin)
KRS One once said “Roxanne Shante is only good for steady f**king”. Did he know something we didn’t? Marley struck gold when he discovered this Queen Of Rox. The feisty Queensbridge raised Juice Crew MC debuted in 1984 and never looked back since, well until she recorded the Large Professor produced ‘Brothers Ain’t Shit’. She was exposed as a fraud when it was revealed she didn’t even have a brother, proving her tale of sibling rivalry was totally unfounded. She never quite recovered. Come back Rox, all is forgiven.

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Sparky Dee ‘vs. The Playgirls ‘The Battle’ (NIA)
Sparky’s talents were totally overlooked until DJ Red Alert became her DJ. Well she recorded a song called ‘He’s My DJ (Red Alert)’, whether that was true or not has never been proven. They were never seen together. As part of our research we examined New York City court records and uncovered a restraining order by a Mr. R. Alert filed against a Miss S. Dee. Apparently when he found out she recorded the song withiout his permission he flipped his lid, hence the term ‘DJ Red Alert, goes berserk’. We’d like to see the video for this track, we imagine it would be like the x-rated version of Duran Duran’s ‘Girls On Film’.

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Queen Latifah ‘Latifah’s Law’ (Tommy Boy)
Hail Fat Queen. It’s an anagram, we pointed that out in an old issue of Fat Lace. She’s like the Oprah Winfrey of rap, annoyingly self-aggrandising and but we’re not going to put down the ‘Princess Of The Posse’ too badly, anyone who’s a friend of the 45 King is a friend of ours and this Louie Louie produced album cut was a bonafide killer. If anyone knows where the horn sample is from we’d love to know.

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Latifah

Turbonator X: Self-aggrandising

Tanya Winley ‘Vicious Rap’ (Paul Winley)
The intro, you may recognise, was used on Diamond D’s ‘Best Kept Secret’. This early classic on Paul Winley records has to be one of the first female rap records. Who’d have thought that a girl called Tanya could rap for over seven minutes about sweet fuck all and it be considered one of the greatest hip-hop records of all time. Also an early example of rappers using their real names. People accused Anya Hindley’s ‘Handbag Rap’ of copying her.

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Dimples D ‘Sucker DJ’s (I Will Survive)’ (Partytime)
This record was made more famous for its use in Marley Marl and MC Shan’s ‘Marley Scratch’. Listening back, nearly every line by Dimples, real name Crystal Smith, has become a classic hip-hop sample. Not exactly a stand alone great but certainly immortalised for its later use. This was her only release but we guess calling every DJ a sucker didn’t inspire them to play her records.

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MC Lyte ‘Cha Cha Cha’ (FPM)
Where do we start with Lyte? She’s recorded so many classic tracks spanning her career it’s unfair to single out any one in particular. Lyte’s probably the only female rapper who lasted the test of time in terms of credibility. She’s never quite been a sex symbol although she is attractive. Not being objectified probably helped her status as becoming one of the greats. Blimey, Germaine Greer would have a field day with this wouldn’t she?

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Lyte

A pensive Lyte sipping on a nice cuppa-cuppachino

Antoinette ‘Hit ‘Em With This’ (Sound Check)
Although her career was short lived, Antoinette released a string of great singles taken from two albums ‘Who’s The Boss’ and ‘Burnin At 20 Below’. Much like Salt N Pepa, Antoinette was under the tutelage of Hurby ‘Luv Bug’ Azor but never went the ultra commercial route like her peers. Probably why she’s broke today. Hurby had a real eye for the ‘talent’ didn’t he? First Antoinette, then Salt N Pepa. Totally transparent.

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Salt N Pepa ‘My Mike Sounds Nice’ (Next Plateau)
This was as underground as it got for Salt N Pepa, pretty much everything else they did was nothing less than a commercial success. Let’s face it through, we all loved DJ Spindarella, albeit a tad cross-eyed, she was the girl next door type. You just wanted to spy on her getting undressed after practicing her scratching. We hear VH1 are running a reality show about them, well all that money lasted a good ten years, not bad going.

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Blondie ‘Rapture’ (Chrysalis)
Not strictly a rap record and Deborah Harry wasn’t strictly a rapper but ‘Rapture’ was a huge hit and Grandmaster Flash etched it stone by including the rapping part on his classic ‘Adventures On The Wheels Of Steel’. Damn, she even rapped in French. Maybe that will catch on one day and folk will start rapping over there in Franceland. Nah, it will never happen.

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Who’s The Girl?

Who’s that girl?: Can anyone name the mystery rapper? (not mentioned in our list)

Shazzy ‘Keep It Flowin’ (Elektra)
Not too many people have heard of Shazzy, She’s not the female version of Shaggy put it that way. On the 12” of Shazzy’s ‘Keep It Flowin’ it states the album was to be titled ‘The High Priestess of Newfunk’, when it dropped it was called ‘Attitude: A Hip-Hop Rapsody’. Convoluted either way. Regardless, it’s a slept on classic notable for production by the Stimulated Dummiez a.k.a. SD50. A project Dante Ross will probably want to forget.

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Ice Cream Tee ‘To Be Continued’ (Uni)
Bettina Clark made her debut on Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince’s debut album ‘Rock The House’ on the track ‘Guys Ain’t Nothing But Trouble’. She was quickly snapped up by Jazzy Jay and one year later released her debut album ‘Can’t Hold Back’. It was nothing like her syrupy debut though. The beats were hard as nails thanks to Jazzy’s influence. She never made it to the big time but let’s hope she still gets some change from Will and Jeff. Or at least a Christmas card.

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Big Lady K ‘Don’t Get Me Started’ (Priority)
Big Lady was the first female artist to get signed by Priority Records. Her career never amounted to much but this particular track was a smash with the real heads for it’s faultless sampling of Ike & Turner’s ‘Bold Soul Sister’, which considering she was from the West Coast had a distinctive East Coast feel at the time. Not much else to say really, she was overweight and made one great record.

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COMMENTS & FEEDBACK PLEASE, DID WE GET IT RIGHT, WHICH TRACKS WOULD YOU HAVE PICKED?


43 Responses to "Top Pre-1990 Female Rap Songs"
  1. Reply lace da booze October 14, 2007 12:24 pm

    Theres a few other names that come to mind but wether they’re any good is another thing. I like that Disco Twins and Starchild joint ‘Do That Right’. thats good.
    the UK used to go hard with female MCs in the 80s though – no Monie Love ‘I Can Do This’ ?.

  2. Reply Una Stubbs October 14, 2007 14:01 pm

    WEE PAPA GIRL RAPPERS! Seriously though I’ve always thought the Cookie Crew’s ‘Born This Way’ was tight and for Finesse and Synquis should get a mention I suppose…

  3. Reply whut October 14, 2007 15:00 pm

    when was 2 much ‘wild thang’ was that 1990? does that count?

  4. Reply lace da booze October 14, 2007 16:05 pm

    special mention to Coco Chanelle. Im after Kings of Swing ‘Nod Ya Head To This’ 12″ if anyone can hook me up

  5. Reply The_P October 14, 2007 18:37 pm

    is it Finesse? or the other chick whos name i cant spell in the same group?
    yeah love Shante she killed it on Bite This, she was pure young but could hold her own against any of the male rappers, sounded fierce over that beat she could adapt to beats like that. And Have a Nice Day is such a tune. I know she didnt write her rhymes but im not that bothered.

  6. Reply AaronM October 14, 2007 22:15 pm

    Where’s Sha Rock, guys?

  7. Reply The_P October 15, 2007 06:30 am

    So yeah i would have put ‘Bite This’ in the list.
    I think you got it about right with the entries.

  8. Reply whut October 15, 2007 11:05 am

    Anquette “Ghetto Style” great sleeve too and
    Sweet Trio “Non Stop” big up to Jazzy Joyce (she’s on my space’s so’s sha rock, they appreciate the UK luv too, they know we knows our Hip Hop!), Cookie Crew ‘Females’ just for that ‘can get enough of cookie crew-ew-ew-ew-ew-ew-ew-can’t get enough of cookie crew’ cut they have on it, and “Faith” by Wee Papa’s got heavy play by Dave Pearce on Radio London, I had the pleasure of seeing the Wee Papas at a jamback in 88 too with Derek B and Overlord X in Kent, those were the days!

  9. Reply Reemycks! October 15, 2007 13:15 pm

    You forgot Evette Money! Evette Revenge and The Other Side of Me are the shit. If im correct the girl in the flick is Finesse from Finesse and Synquis. Am I right.

  10. Reply Una Stubbs October 15, 2007 13:59 pm

    Do I get the props for mentioning Finesse and Synquis? Props for the Stubbs!

  11. Reply Dan Large October 15, 2007 14:23 pm

    well spotted guys, it was in fact Synquis from Finesse & Synquis. We should have repped the UK more, big up Cookie Crew….the interview coming soon !

  12. Reply The_P October 15, 2007 14:45 pm

    Cool, how bout the She Rockers we used to rock Give It A Rest remember? they had Streets Ahead as dj. Damn what was the name of that track where they use the Gordons War break?

  13. Reply whut October 15, 2007 16:33 pm

    how about “B-Boys Beware” 2 sisters? Or one of my faves was “Oh Veronica” “vibrator-vi-v–vibrator” classsssic!!!! And “I am Down” by Salt N Pepa, I love the look they have on that sleeve. “Romeo” by The Real Rox.

  14. Reply Dan Large October 15, 2007 17:57 pm

    damn! B Boys Beware, totally forgot about that. Doh!

  15. Reply twix October 15, 2007 19:09 pm

    nice work guys. The only other female rapper I would have DEFINITELY put in was Sweet-Tee…

  16. Reply Una Stubbs October 16, 2007 14:17 pm

    Donna from the She-Rockers was a bit fit, was she not?

  17. Reply End Level Boss October 16, 2007 14:39 pm

    How about Sha Rock from Funky Four Plus One? Her rhymes on ‘That’s The Joint’ are dope.

  18. Reply End Level Boss October 16, 2007 14:41 pm

    Betty Boo from the original She Rockers line up was extremely fit.

  19. Reply lace da booze October 16, 2007 15:06 pm

    im suprised the Beatnuts production on the Monie Love album hasnt put its value up on eGay – some nice tunes on that LP.

    when you do the 09s make sure Boss & Bahamadia are in there. 2 albums that are definitely slept on

  20. Reply whut October 16, 2007 17:55 pm

    sha rock, lisa lee and debbie dee…us girls can boogie too, we can dance we can shake it, let’s get at them on myspazz for a 2008 reunion. Ps does anyone else remember joining in booing Nickie Nicole at the Gangstarr jam at town & country club kentish town around 1989/90? Nickie D was much better.

  21. Reply bse October 25, 2007 09:24 am

    Isis was too dope. Her whole “Reboul Soul” album is excellent. Nice to see her getting some mention.

  22. Reply diggin-d October 31, 2007 22:37 pm

    2 the P…she rockers track is called ON STAGE!!!

  23. Reply diggin-d October 31, 2007 22:40 pm

    peace and love to jee nice!!! thanks for the record!!!

  24. Reply jee-nice November 5, 2007 06:49 am

    thanx dee!!
    and don’t forget these dope ladies: anquette (throw the p), kiss amc, symbolic three (no show), glamour girls, pebblee poo (fly guy), bee-side (change the beat),jjfad (supersonic), ms melodie (live on stage), oaktowns 3.5.7., l.a.star, icey jaye (it takes a real man), ….. watch out: http://www.anattitude.net/womenonwax/frame.html and hear it: http://www.anattitude.net/littlestory/frame.html

  25. Reply Boriquateddy January 10, 2008 21:29 pm

    what about Frick & Frack “You shouldn’t have done it”, “Go Southside” , “Who’s on mine” and “Look Out” these chicks go HARD!!! not too many people know of them they were produced by Marley Marl…also MC Shan’s sister Princess Ivori put out a few joints in 88 “The crackpipe (Changed it all)” , and “Boy what a night” she was a tight story teller…2 Much came out in 88 with “Wild Thing” which was a precursor to L.L.’s “Doin it” Almond Joy/LeShaun of 2 Much also did “Totally Awesome” which was a cute ghetto aproach on the valley girl accent.

  26. Reply Monikca April 15, 2008 18:06 pm

    Nice site. Thanks for all your hard work.
    : ) M

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  28. Reply princess ivori May 17, 2008 19:34 pm

    thanks Boriquateddy! i googled my name & your comment showed up. it did my heart good to know i was still remembered as a female mc & in your words “a tight storyteller” :-) i’m putting my story telling skills to good use in radio, books & tv now. GOD Bless!

  29. Reply Alan Partridge June 30, 2008 11:54 am

    I think all bases have been covered here pretty much. Antoinette in my opinion was better than Shante. I would have included “I Got An Attitude” for Antoinette; pure heat all the way!

    As far as the Dimples D track; I like this version, but dare I say I much prefer the later remix of it with the “I Dream Of Jeanie” sample. Was that also produced by Marley Marl?

  30. Reply Alan Partridge June 30, 2008 11:57 am

    Having said that the remix of “Sucker DJs” may not have been pre-90, which might explain why you guys went for the earlier version. Either that, or you don’t like song with samples from cheesy old TV programmes!! I, on the other hand, can’t get enough of that shit!!

  31. Reply Vantanna September 18, 2008 23:36 pm

    Synquis of the Infamous Finesse @ Synquis Uptown Kickin’ It

  32. Reply JShow2000 October 3, 2008 23:18 pm

    Thanks for mentioning Frick & Frack, BoriquaTeddy. I was in my basement last night listening to an old tape I made while recording the Rap Attack back in the day when “Shouldn’t have done it” came on and I could not remember their name. I only have a few radio tapes that I recorded, but quite a few classics on them.

  33. Reply ml February 15, 2009 02:25 am

    michie mee-victory is calling-first priority

  34. Reply JShow2000 March 9, 2009 14:06 pm

    I finally found the A & B sides to Frick & Frack’s “Shouldn’t Have Done It”. I was nodding my head to the track and to the dub…lol. Took me way back. There are plenty of classics that I need to track down. Guess I’ll get started.

  35. Reply keepskatin April 6, 2009 16:56 pm

    glad you older people could list these forgotten female rappers of the 80s,i’m going to try to find their songs online,i love 80s music,better than the crap on the radio today.

  36. Reply JShow2000 June 3, 2009 05:52 am

    I just downloaded “Go Southside” & “Who’s On Mine?” by Frick & Frack. I am trying to find “Look Out” now.

  37. Reply supabad one January 27, 2010 17:57 pm

    i would like to give an honorable mention to b.w.p (bitches with problems) i wasnt suppose to listen to them so young so it was fun! one minute man lol & bitch go change your kotex!!!!!!!

  38. Reply Lyn E Lyn March 29, 2010 21:41 pm

    Just found this site ( I know I’m late!) on the subject of old school female rappers, Shante was one of the best of her time , the battle with Stetsasonics Fruitkwan at freshfest back in 84/5 i think was ledgendary, also had love for Antoinette who clashed several times with Mc Lyte but Lyte came on top. Check Whos the boss by Antoinette. Uk females as mentioned already monie love was hot when she was with the Just Bad crew (Pogo and Sparky) Obviously Cookie crew were hot but Atori did it big also Cookie crews sister crew Mistaken Indentity were not bad too for those that know, but best UK female mc of all time was Mystery MC from the family quest now thats taking it back and for all those that don’t know get to know Google is a wonderful thing!

  39. Reply New fan of female rap. May 20, 2010 01:08 am

    I would like to thank the Cookie Crew for being the iunspiration for me to become so interested in listening to female rap . For some odd reason the name Cookie Crew stuck with me during all my teenage years and even now into my adult years when I was only collecting and listening to male rap acts. I remember seeing the video for “Born This Way” and liking that song. That little bit of exposure to their sound must have left some sort of lasting impression on me because to this day I remembered their name. I finally recently rolled the dice on buying their debut album titled “Born This Way” and it was money well spent and should’ve been spent back in 1989 when the album first hit the stores. Thank you so much Cookie Crew for encouraging me to buy more female rap acts music. You gals are my alltime favorite female rap group ! It would be nice to meet you in person so you could autograph a “Born This Way” 12″ single for me and for me to thank you personally for you being the reason I decided to listen and research more about female rap acts and their wonderful musical contributions to this wonderful creation we have here on earth called hip hop ! Thanks for leaving me with such a memorable impression.

  40. Reply E Jay September 21, 2010 19:25 pm

    The list was ok but not well put together. With artist such as MC Trouble and also Sweet T. to main MCs from the 80s who were ground breakers.

  41. Reply aisha March 30, 2011 11:08 am

    thats one of the finesse and synquis chicks

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