With a flurry of ferocious new female rappers breaking out and some of rap’s top performers finally receiving big-name recognition, it’s been a big year for women in hip-hop. Unfortunately, due to the continuous onslaught of new music to check out from an ever-increasing number of artists (crafting ever-longer collections of songs in an effort to game streaming service stats for additional sales), it’s easy to overlook great albums from great rappers, even if you’re actively looking for them.
From the “Invasion Of The Dolls” to Cardi B’s takeover of all things even tangentially related to rap, women are coming up in the game in a big way. While Cardi, Nicki Minaj, Rapsody, and pop acts like Beyonce and Rihanna lead the charge, a burgeoning underground movement includes raunchy rappers like Cupcakke and raspy rebels like Rico Nasty.
Here are just a few of the albums that have been released in 2018 that showcase the seismic shift in hip-hop opening doors for diverse voices and styles in a genre where women were formerly better known as video vixens than vicious spitters. Those days seem long past, rapidly washing away by the tides of time — here’s your chance to catch the wave or get left behind.
City Girls — Period
Fans of Miami bounce mavens like Trina and Jacki-O finally have a new dynamic duo to look forward to. Miami’s own J.T. and Young Miami started making noise last year with their Quality Control, Vol. 1 single, “F*ck Dat N—-” and have taken off ever since, garnering the praise of hometown hero Trina and the attention of Drake. The latter landed them placement on The Boy’s double album, Scorpion, on the catchy viral sensation “In My Feelings.” The increased notoriety provided by the breakout hit has shed more spotlight on their bouncy debut, Period, and fortunately for them, the project was one of the better debuts of 2018.
With standout, Parliament-sampling single “I’ll Take Your Man” paving the way, City Girls’ bawdy rhymes and skittering, uptempo bounce tracks provide a summery blueprint for getting money, flossing all-new everything, and turning out potential sugar daddies without catching feelings. Unfortunately, J.T.’s hustle included credit card scams that ended up getting her sent to prison for the next two years — even if City Girls’ newfound cultural cachet from association with Drake is rumored to have helped her delay her sentence for a bit. While their Quality Control cohorts Migos experienced a similar downturn in fortunes and seemingly came out on the other side intact, if anyone can keep their names buzzing, it’s QC’s Coach K and Pee. Until then, the group’s 16-track debut will have to serve as both their stunning coming-out and premature swan song — with just enough bounce to keep it in rotation until J.T. comes home.