The hip-hop industry has been mostly male-dominated since its inception decades ago with legends who left their mark on the world, like The Notorious B.I.G, Tupac Shakur, Ja Rule, Big Pun, DMX, Ice Cube, and the list goes on. It’s no secret that these rappers made bank since they spoke about it with such bravado in their songs, which many still do to this day. But the rise of female rappers has sort of leveled the playing field. Sure, rappers like Lil’ Kim, Queen Latifah, and Missy Elliot were rocking the mics, but there’s been a surge like never before. Here is a list of 10 of the richest female rappers in 2021.
10 Nicki Minaj
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When it comes to this Caribbean-born babe, her success alone speaks loud and clear that she’s more than just a pretty face. Born on the island of Trinidad, Nicki Minaj took the rap industry by storm with her aggressive yet animated and sheepishly seductive style of rapping that quickly secured her a spot at the top of the music industry, despite being a female. She’s credited with producing songs such as Starships, Your Love, and Anaconda. Her songs have also featured top artists like Drake, Lil’ Wayne, Rihanna, Chris Brown, and Ariana Grande. Her successful music career has afforded her a plush lifestyle as well as a net worth of $85 million.
9 Queen Latifah
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Up next is one of the founding female rappers in the music industry who advocated for women’s rights, equality, and justice, Queen Latifah. Formally known as Dana Elaine Owens, the New Jersey-born pioneer began her rap career in 1989 when she signed with Tommy Boy Records founded by Tom Silverman. Her first album, All Hail The Queen, was released in the same year with her hit single, Ladies First, making a buzz in the street, as well as her other signature hits like UNITY and Fly Girl. Queen Latifah branched out from music into acting and has starred in movies such as Beauty Shop, Bringing Down The House, Set It Off, and Just Wright alongside rapper Common. Her expansive careers have awarded her a net worth of $70 million and counting!
8 Missy Elliot
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During the late 1990s and early 2000s, Missy Elliot’s name rang bells in the mainstream music circle as one o the few female artists to acquire such levels of success. During the peak of her career, she was best known for her collaborations with Aaliyah, Timbaland, Sean “Puffy” Combs, and MC Lyte. She’s also made movie appearances in Honey (2003) starring Jessica Alba, as well as Cinderalla (2021) starring Camila Cabello, Nicholas Galitzine, and Pierce Brosnan. Her last full album was The Cookbook released in 2005, and in December 2021, Timbaland teased a possible new album project that he and Misdemeanor Elliot were working on. She has sold over 30 million copies in the U.S. which has been instrumental in earning her a net worth of $50 million.
7 Cardi B
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She holds the crown as one of the modern-day Queens of rap alongside other female rap extraordinaire like Nicki Minaj and Meg Thee Stallion; Cardi B is in a lane of her own. Born and raised in New York City, she rose to stardom after posting videos of herself rapping on Instagram and other social media platforms. In addition to that, she also appeared on the VH1 reality show, Love and Hip Hop: New York, from 2015-2017. Her aggressive and street-style of rap lead her to be noticed, and she was eventually signed by Atlantic Records in 2017. Cardi B has sold 90 million records in the U.S. alone, placing her as the sixth best-selling female artist in the country. Undoubtedly, this has secured her a net worth of $30 million.
6 Iggy Azalea
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When it came to following her dream, Iggy Azalea went to the ends of the world to see it through to completion, in a very literal sense. Born in the year 1990 as Amethyst Amelia Kelly, the Australian native had an innate aspiration for the arts, and it started from school. According to The Famous People, she dropped out of school early and worked with her mother to save money and journey to the United States in pursuit of her music career. The rapper, singer, and songwriter broke out with the videos to her hit songs, Pu$$y and Two Times from her first mixtape, Ignorant Art. Her best chart-topping songs are Fancy, Work, Black Widow, and Change Your Life. She has also worked with big named artists such as Beyonce, Tyga, and T.I. Azalea’s net worth is still impressive at $15 million.
5 Sandra Denton (Pepa)
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Sandra Denton, professionally known as Pepa, was born in Kingston, Jamaica, and moved to Queens with her family before attaining her musical success. She is also listed as one of the richest female rappers of 2021, accumulating most of her success as one of the three members of the popular music group, Salt-N-Pepa, during the 1980s and 1990s. Their highly popularized song of 1986, Push It, is what really put them on the map. Other members of the group include Cheryl James as Salt and Deidra Roper as DJ Spinderella. Aside from her music ventures, she has also starred in the Salt-N-Pepa Reality Show on VH1, Growing Up Hollywood, and the Salt-N-Pepa movie released in 2021. Denton’s old and new money has caused her to generate a net worth of $15 million.
4 Cheryl James (Salt)
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Salt without Pepa is like an Oreo without the filling. With that, Cheryl James, known better for her stage name, Salt, is the other part of the Salt-N-Pepa trio. She played the lead vocalist alongside Pepa (Sandra Denton) and has also shared been present in their VH1 reality TV series, The Salt-N-Pepa Show. The group formed after James and Denton became good friends in college. Their first group name was called Super Nature, and the two released their first single, The Show Stoppa, which became somewhat of an R&B hit. Then in 1986, they released their first album, Hot, Cool, and Vicious. James is still sitting pretty with a net worth of $14 million.
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Born in the United Kingdon, Mathangi ‘Maya’ Arulpragasam, better known by her stage name, M.I.A., took the music industry by storm with the release of her 2009 hit single, Paper Planes. With a net worth of $14 million, her fortune comes from a combination of trendy alternative, dance, electronic, and hip hop genres expressing political and social issues as well as her role as an activist. Her music has received much criticism and praise for being a voice for the voiceless. Due to the controversial nature of her music and freedom of speech, she has been heavily criticized by the media. She has appeared on shows like Real Time With Bill Maher and The Colbert Report with Stephen Colbert to disclose her views on America, which has landed her on the reader of public figures like Oprah Winfrey.
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She is regarded as one of the most authentic and original female rappers of all time, and was the only female rapper to join the Ruff Ryders Entertainment record label, awarding her the title of the Ruff Ryders’ First Lady. Her cool, calm, and seductive style of rap has landed her in collaborations with Jadakiss, Gwen Stefani, Beanie Sigel, Alicia Keys, and Faith Evans. She has also starred in movies like the Barbershop trilogy with Ice Cube, The Cookout, and XXX with Vin Diesel and Samuel L. Jackson. Throughout her career, she has sold more than 10 million albums worldwide. Between movies and music, her net worth stands at $10 million.
1 Diedra Roper AKA DJ Spinderella
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Last on the list of the richest female rappers of 2021 is the third and final addition to the Salt-N-Pepa crew, and that is Diedra Muriel Roper, better known by her stage name, DJ Spinderella. Born in Brooklyn, New York, she joined the music group in 1987 and replaced their former DJ, Latoya Hanson. She came in at the perfect time, as their first album, Hot, Cool, & Vicious was becoming increasingly popular. The popularity of the album was spearheaded by the hit single, Push It, which became a platinum-selling song, receiving a Grammy Award Nomination. Dj Spinderella also starred in the reality show series, The Salt ‘N’ Pepa Show. Her involvement in the music group earned her a net worth of $10 million.
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Sources: Celebrity Net Worth, Biography.com, Billboard, The Famous People
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