A few years ago it was hard to name a successful female rapper, but now Nicki Minaj is one of the biggest artists in the world, Azealia Banks is the indie kids’ fave and every female singer from Madonna to Cher Lloyd is having a go. There’s an onslaught of new rap girls all hoping to be the next big thing, and realistically there’s not going to be room for all of them. So who has the best chance of making it? I marked ten of the best contenders on poptasticness and hit potential.
Kitty Pryde describes herself as the Taylor Swift of rap, and that was enough for me to know I’d be a fan! The 19-year-old became famous via YouTube, particularly after posting a song called Justin Bieber, which inevitably got her lots of attention. In the song she mentioned a rapper called Riff Raff (apparently also an Internet sensation, though I’d never heard of him) and once he heard it, they got together to collaborate on a track called Orion’s Belt. Kitty may have difficulty expanding outside of her Internet hipster audience, but she does represent a side of rap that’s totally different to what’s typically expected of female rappers.
Hit potential: 32% Poptasticness: 69%
I hadn’t heard much about Angel until the past week, when she suddenly seems to be appearing in all the right places, including The Guardian and Billboard. After a year building her fanbase online, including releasing a free EP, she signed to Universal. Like Kitty, she aims to be different to other female rappers and uses her Native American heritage as musical and visual inspiration. Her latest song and music video New York is pretty shocking, and knowing that it got her signed she’s unlikely to start playing by the rules now. What’s most exciting is the list of people she’s been in the studio with recently, which ranges from Paul Epworth to Rudimental!
Hit potential: 71% Poptasticness: 30%
15-year-old Becky Gomez (no relation to Selena, though they look alike) was the first signing to Dr Luke’s new Sony label Kemosabe, and is known so far for her personalised covers of big hit rap songs such as Lighters by Eminem, and Take Care by Drake. She’s a good singer as well as a rapper, and adorably cute – pretty much the perfect teen-friendly version of the current girl rap trend. Kanye West and Simon Cowell have both tweeted about her so you know it’s going to be a big launch, but for now she’s just working on her album and featuring on a few singles including (quite weirdly) the UK version of Ai Se Eu Te Pego by Michel Telo.
Hit potential: 87% Poptasticness: 78%
Honey Cocaine is part of Future Pop star Tyga‘s rap crew, and is unfortunately best known for being shot in the arm after one of his gigs. Luckily she recovered and, in true rapper style, went on to put out a rap about the experience called Who Shot Me. Honey Cocaine is a Canadian 19-year-old, born Sochitta Sal, and often said to resemble Rita Ora. Unlike the girls featured here so far, Honey has come up from within the US hip-hop community and is embraced by fans of male rappers because of her connections. Her freestyle cover of Tyga’s Rack City has received over a million views, as has her most popular solo track Feel Shit.
Hit potential: 43% Poptasticness: 35%
Who would have thought that Azealia/Azalea would be such a common name for female rappers? Like Angel Haze, Iggy made a name for herself with a shocking song and video that went viral. The track was called Pu$$y and the video featured a small child riding a rocking horse suggestively among other dubious activities. She is Australian but now lives in the US, and has signed to Grand Hustle, the label founded by T.I., who will also executive produce her album. Cee Lo will feature, but Azealia Banks is unlikely to appear after she accused Iggy of being racist. So far Iggy is best known in the UK for her rap on the Radio 1-playlisted Beat Down by Steve Aoki.
Hit potential: 68% Poptasticness: 46%
To be continued…