While listening to a segment on NPR about women in Latin hip-hop, we got to thinking about some of our favorite Latinas who have made waves in the hip-hop world. Here are 10 of the best Latina MC's of all time:
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La Caballota, who is also known as “The Queen of Reggaeton,” got her start in the reggaeton industry in 1995 with an all-male Puerto Rican group called The Noise. In 1997, Ivy decided to go solo and released her first album En Mi Imperio. But it wasn’t until her second album (The Original Rude Girl) that the 41-year-old Boricua showed off her rap skills.
Known as “The Voice of New York,” Angie is one of the hottest (and one of our absolute personal favorite) DJ’s on Hot 97. She got her first break in radio at the age of 16, but in 1996 was encouraged to give rapping a try. Angie went on to appear on various big hits including the remix for Lil’ Kim’s “Ladies Night.” In 2001, Angie released her highly anticipated debut album Up Close and Personal. The album landed her a nomination for BET’s Best Female Hip-Hop Artist award.
Brooklyn-born rapper Gloria Rodriguez was Hit Squad’s first female member. She released her debut album, All Woman, in 1997 and the album’s release single, “Somebody Else,” landed as #10 of Billboard’s Hot Rap Singles and #54 on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Singles & Tracks chart.
The daughter of two Chilean exiles, Ana was influenced by Chilean rap group Makul and went on to form her own group called Los Gemelos in 1995. Two years later, Ana and her fellow Los Gemelos’ group member collaborated with three other rap artists to form Makiza. Unfortunately, Makiza broke up in 2006 but this led to Ana landing a solo career and eventually being nominated at the Latino MTV Video Music Awards under the categories for Best New Artist and Best Urban Artist.
The 34-year-old Miami native would write rap rhymes in her spare time, but this hobby was what caught rapper Trick Daddy’s attention and landed her a feature spot on one of his lead singles on his second studio album. Trina went on to release her debut album, Da Baddest Bitch, in March of 2000. It debuted at #33 on the Billboard 200 charts and #11 on the Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart. She went on to release four more albums and currently has fans waiting for the release of her sixth studio album.
Born Maria Rodriguez, La Mala adopted her stage name when she performed on-stage for the first time at the age of 17. She began making a name for herself in the early 90’s after she appeared along hip-hop acts Colma and SFDK. In 1999, she made her solo debut and in 2000 released her first full-length album, Lujo Ibérico. Mala has collaborated with tons of artists, including Romeo Santos, Calle 13 and Tego Calderon.
She’s known as “The Queen of Spanish Rap,” and in 1988, she launched her career with the release of her debut album, Trampa. The sales of Trampa exceeded all expectations and Lisa M quickly became the highest paid Latin hip-hop rapper in Puerto Rico, the U.S. and Latin America. The 39-year-old artist released her last album, Respect, in 2006 that featured collaborations with various reggeaton artists including La Bruja.
The 27-year-old Mexican MC made her U.S. debut in 2009 at the South by Southwest musical festival in Austin, Texas. And after several years of working hard in the industry, Nina independently released her debut album, Indestructible, in May 2013.
Snow Tha Product
Born Claudia Feliciano in San Jose, California, Snow Tha Product got her first taste of hip-hop when she moved to San Diego. She began freestyling with her friends and later began recording songs through a studio connection she made through her mother. At 19 she made the decision to drop out of college and pursue a career as a rap artist. In 2011, Snow released her independent debut album Unorthodox. Two of her singles – “Drunk Love” and “Woke Wednesday” – became viral hits. The success of these songs gained the attention of three major record labels and the 26-year-old rapper eventually signed with Atlantic Records. She’s now preparing to release her first studio album under the label in 2014.
Rebecca Marie Gomez is the newest Latina rapper around, but the 16-year-old belleza has some serious skills.She released her first single “Becky from the Block” which was inspired by Jennifer Lopez’s “Jenny from the Block.” Her EP, Play It Again, also included a song with Pitbull. And she continues to soar having landed a gig as one of CoverGirl's latest spokesmodels.