Kimberly Denise Jones (born July 11, 1974 or July 11, 1975), known by her stage name Lil’ Kim, is an American rapper, songwriter, record producer, model, and actress. She was born and raised in Brooklyn, New York, living much of her adolescent life on the streets after being expelled from home. In her teens, Jones would freestyle rap, heavily influenced by actress/singerDiana Ross, and fellow female hip-hop artists like MC Lyte and The Lady of Rage. Performing a freestyle rap for The Notorious B.I.G. got her music career start in 1995 with his group Junior M.A.F.I.A., whose debut album Conspiracy generated three hit singles.
Kimberly Jones’ debut studio album, Hard Core (1996) was certified double platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) and spawned three consecutive No. 1 rap hits: “No Time”, “Not Tonight (Ladies Night remix)”, and “Crush on You”, a record for a female rapper. Her following albums, The Notorious K.I.M. (2000) and La Bella Mafia (2003), were certified Platinum, making her the only female rapper besides Missy Elliott to have at least 3 platinum albums. She was featured on the single “Lady Marmalade“, which also had guest vocals by fellow recording artists Mýa, Pink and Christina Aguilera (a remake of the 1975 smash hit, originally recorded by LaBelle) which went to No. 1 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100, making her the first female rapper to have a No. 1 on that chart. In addition, the remake won two MTV Video Music Awards including Video of the Year, and a Grammy Award for Best Pop Collaboration with Vocals at the 44th Grammy Awards in 2002. In 2005, she served a yearlong prison sentence for lying to a jury about her friends’ involvement in a shooting four years earlier. During her incarceration, her fourth album The Naked Truth was released. She returned to the public eye in 2009 with an appearance on Dancing with the Stars.
Throughout her career, Jones has earned several accolades for her work. Her songs “No Time“, “Big Momma Thang” and “Ladies Night” were listed onComplex Magazine’s “The 50 Best Rap Songs By Women”, at number 24,13 and 7, respectively. Crush On You, It’s All About the Benjamins andMoney, Power, Respect appear on VH1’s “The 100 Greatest Hip-Hop Songs”.In 2012, she was honorably listed on VH1’s “100 Greatest Women In Music” list at number 45, the second highest position for a solo female hip-hop artist. Read more at Wikipedia.
Melissa Arnette “Missy” Elliott (born July 1, 1971) is an American singer, songwriter, rapper and record producer. Her first major success came as a songwriter with childhood friend and producer Timbaland on projects forAaliyah, 702, Total, and SWV. As a record producer and songwriter, she has worked with Mariah Carey, Whitney Houston, Janet Jackson, Christina Aguilera, and Beyoncé as well as contemporary artists Keyshia Cole, Tamia, Monica andCiara.
In the late 1990s, Elliott expanded her career as a solo artist and rapper, eventually winning five Grammy Awards and selling over 30 million records in the United States. Elliott is the only female rapper to have six albums certified platinum by the RIAA, including one double platinum for her 2002 album Under Construction. Elliott is also known for a series of hits and diverse music videos, including “The Rain (Supa Dupa Fly)“, “Hot Boyz“, “Get Ur Freak On“, “Work It“, and the Grammy award-winning video for “Lose Control.” Read more at Wikipedia.
Inga DeCarlo Fung Marchand (born September 6, 1978), better known by her stage name Foxy Brown, is an American rapper, model, and actress. She is best known for her solo work, as well as numerous collaborations with other artists and her brief stint as part of hip hop group The Firm. Raised in Brooklyn, New York, her father Keith Stahler abandoned the family at a young age to pursue his career at ERAC records. Her albums include Ill Na Na in 1996, followed by Chyna Doll in 1999, and Broken Silence in 2001. She also performed on the 1997 self-titled album by the Firm, the only album to be released by that group to date. Throughout her career, Brown has held an extensive arrest record and served some time in jail.
After 2001, she continued recording verses for herself and other artists but did not release any albums; she left the Def Jam label in 2003, thus canceling the release of her Ill Na Na 2 album. However, she returned to the label in January 2005 after then-Def Jam president and CEO Jay-Z signed her back to begin work on her new album Black Roses. In December 2005, she began suffering from hearing loss, which put her career on hiatus until the next summer, a few months after surgery. A fourth studio album, which originally was a mixtape, was released in May 2008 following many delays spawned by a jail sentence that Brown served for assault. Read more at Wikipedia
Lauryn Hill (born May 26, 1975) is an American singer, songwriter, rapper, producer and actress. She is best known for being a member of the Fugeesand for her solo album, The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill.
Raised in South Orange, New Jersey, Hill began singing with her music-oriented family during her childhood. She enjoyed success as an actress at an early age, appearing in a recurring role on the television soap opera As the World Turns and starring in the film Sister Act 2: Back in the Habit. In high school, Hill was approached by Pras Michel to start a band, which his cousin,Wyclef Jean, soon joined. They renamed themselves the Fugees and released two studio albums, Blunted on Reality (1994) and the Grammy Award-winning The Score (1996), which sold six million copies in the United States. In the latter record, Hill rose to prominence with her African-Americanand Caribbean music influences, her rapping and singing, and a rendition of the hit “Killing Me Softly“. Hill’s tumultuous romantic relationship with Jean led to the split of the band in 1997, after which she began to focus on solo projects.
The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill (1998) remains Hill’s only solo studio album. It received massive critical acclaim, showcasing a representation of life and relationships and locating a contemporary womanist voice within the neo soulgenre. The album debuted at number one on the U.S. Billboard 200 and has sold approximately eight million copies there. It included the singles “Doo Wop (That Thing)” (also a number one), “Ex-Factor“, and “Everything Is Everything“. At the 41st Grammy Awards, the record earned her five awards, including Album of the Year and Best New Artist. She won numerous other awards and became a common sight on the cover of magazines.
Soon afterward, Hill dropped out of the public eye, suffering from the pressures of fame and dissatisfied with the music industry. Her last full-length recording, the new-material live album MTV Unplugged No. 2.0 (2002), sharply divided critics and sold poorly compared to her previous work. Hill’s subsequent activity, which includes the release of a few songs and occasional festival appearances, has been sporadic and erratic. It has sometimes caused audience dissatisfaction; a reunion with her former group did not last long. Her music, as well as a series of public statements she has issued, have become critical of pop culture and societal institutions. Hill has six children, five of whom are with Rohan Marley, son of reggae legend Bob Marley. In 2012, she pled guilty to tax evasion for failure to pay federal income taxes, and in 2013, served a three-month prison sentence. Read more at Wikipedia.
Da Brat is the stage name of Shawntae Harris (born April 14, 1974), an American rapper and actress. Her debut album, Funkdafied (1994), sold one million copies, making her the first female solo rap act to have a platinum-selling album, and the second overall female rap act (solo or group) after Salt N Pepa. Read more at Wikipedia.