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Five Female Rappers Dominating the Underground Hip-Hop Scene

In a male-dominated genre and scene, female rappers have persisted and procured stardom statuses in the underground hip-hop scene.

Collage of female rappers from left to right: CLIP, Bktherula, and Molly Santana.
Credit: Youtube / CLIP, Bktherula, and Molly Santana

In a world where hip-hop is dominated by men, there are female rappers who are equally skilled, if not more talented, at rapping.

Historically, hip-hop has been a male-dominated genre. When people think about rap, they probably think about Kanye West, Drake, and Eminem, among other popular male rappers. Bigger female rappers such as Lauryn Hill and Nicki Minaj are typically found in conversations surrounding the history of rap. Media representation and gender bias in hip-hop tend to take the spotlight away from them.

Additionally, a lot of mainstream rap music is rooted in misogyny, with the sexualization of women prominent in much of the lyricism present in these songs. Even amongst the gender bias present in the hip-hop scene, female rappers have still managed to highlight their voices and secure faithful audiences.

Female rappers such as Doja Cat and Ice Spice currently dominate hip-hop, however underground female rappers are also making their mark. Here are five talented underground female rappers that you should check out.

1. CLIP

New York-based rapper CLIP has quickly gained recognition in the underground hip-hop scene. Citing inspirations from Playboi Carti to Yung Lean, the sound of “cloud rap” is well distinguished in her discography, especially “Sad B!tch” and “Calvin K”.

CLIP has a very “online” persona, frequently posting on X, formerly known as Twitter, in which she has amassed a following of about 56,000. She starred in the music video for Ice Spice’s viral hit “Deli” and has made music with big artists such as former Brockhampton member Kevin Abstract and, more recently, producer Clams Casino.

Staying in tune with the New York underground scene, chances are that she’s friends with your favorite underground rapper. Erin Larsen, manager of Playboi Carti and other Opium affiliates, is also the manager for CLIP. Seeing as how Carti has amassed a giant cult-like following, there’s no doubt CLIP will follow in his footsteps.

Be sure to check out CLIP’s latest release, “2 The FACE“, which favors a more upbeat sound than the usual trippy beats CLIP raps over.

2. Hook

California-based rapper Hook provides her listeners with a smorgasbord of songs across different styles. From softer ballads like “Answer!” to moshpit-inducing hits such as “NVR”, the rapper stays consistently interesting.

More avant-garde than her fellow peers, Hook tends to experiment with West Coast hip-hop and create unheard-of sounds. All of her projects contain aspects of experimental hip-hop, which is an underground genre in itself. Additionally, Hook tends to collaborate with other underground artists, having Nedarb fully produce “Crashed My Car“, and more recently bringing underground French rapper OBAKXS to feature on “MATTRESS“, one of the songs on her latest album, “CASTLE“.

Hook has opened for experimental artists’ tours such as Yves Tumor alongside Evanora Unlimited. If experimental music is something you catch yourself listening to often, then be sure to check out Hook’s discography.

3. Bktherula

Bktherula is a female rapper based in Atlanta, Georgia whose discography is reminiscent of modern rage hip-hop and drug-induced trap. Having collaborated with the likes of Rico Nasty and Destroy Lonely, Bk’s newfound success is discernable. On top of that, openly identifying as part of the LGBTQIA+ community, Bk brings further representation needed in hip-hop.

With the success of Bk’s song “UH HUH” on TikTok as well as recently opening for PinkPantheress‘ “Capable of Love” tour at select stops, it’s not unreasonable to believe that Bk may amount to the stardom that Doja Cat and Cardi B hold. Bk also has an upcoming headline tour of her own, set to perform at famed venues such as the Echoplex in Los Angeles and Irving Plaza in New York City.

Bk’s latest project, “LVL5 PT2“, contains notable features and songs that will keep hip-hop fans on their toes. “Love Santana” is also worth checking out when doing a deep dive into Bk’s discography.

4. Babyxsosa

Reigning from Richmond, Virginia, Babyxsosa dabbles in pop rap and plugg music. Once a member of underground hip-hop collective Surf Gang, Sosa has found a unique sound by utilizing dreamy production and high-pitched melodic vocals. Favoring softer songs over brasher ones, the New York-based rapper specializes in rather lighter rap.

While working with Surf Gang, Sosa reeled in further recognition with the song “Everywhereigo.” The song went viral on the social media platform TikTok, amassing about 70 million streams on Spotify after approximately 415,000 videos were posted using the official sound. The song features a repetitive chorus (Everywhere I go / They all know my name) over a beat with aspects of bedroom pop that was everywhere in 2017 and 2018.

Having recently been affiliated with Kanye West and even getting a shoutout from Playboi Carti in the A$AP Rocky song “Sights / Our Destiny“, Sosa has maintained a decent following. For those who prefer melodic instrumentals and campy, repetitive lines, Babyxsosa is worth taking a listen to.

5. Molly Santana

Molly Santana is the latest addition to the roster of underground female hip-hop. Coming from Fontana, California, the Japanese-American rapper first started releasing music in 2021, only recently gaining a bigger audience after being seen performing with rappers Nettspend and Osamason, who are some of the biggest artists in the current underground hip-hop scene.

Molly’s latest release, “Molly Santana“, features deeper vocals, unlike the higher ones in her previous projects. Tracks like “Wherever You Go” feature dancehall aspects, while “What Did I Do Today?” utilizes drill drums, showcasing variety.

As of now, not much is known about the origins of Molly. As time goes, it is inevitable that her current following will only grow from here on out which will lead to more details about her artistry.

Conclusion

Gender should not be an aspect of judging whether an artist dabbling in hip-hop is good or not. These up-and-coming artists show just why gender shouldn’t dictate whether the music sounds good or not. They shouldn’t lose the spotlight as long as they put their all into their craft and make it sound good.

Women will continue to reign as some of the best artists specializing in hip-hop and its coexisting subgenres.

Written By

California State University Long Beach undergraduate studying journalism with a special interest in music journalism. Guinea pigs and music are some of my favorite things.

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