This year, countless women came together from disparate corners of Hip-Hop to deliver collaborations that were fun, innovative, introspective or all of the above. However, women in rap were noticeably excluded from some of the most widely celebrated albums released by their male peers.
Works recognized in the Best Rap Album category at the upcoming 64th annual Grammy Awards featured only one female rapper across the five nominations. While Lauryn Hill was included on Nas’ Kings Disease II, J. Cole, Drake, Tyler The Creator, and Kanye West left lady lyricists off of their guest lists. A social media debate led many to question the motives informing the absence of female rappers on Certified Lover Boy in particular, considering the subject matter of that album and the genre’s wealth of femcees seemed like a match made in rap duet heaven. Of course, others disagreed, doubling-down as they justified the exclusions.
Without being featured on the aforementioned projects, women in rap did score some impressive features on albums from Gucci Mane, Young Thug, Isaiah Rashad, and others. Female rappers also exclusively contributed to the soundtrack for Bruised, Halle Berry’s directorial debut. Overall, 2021 was another banner year for female rap—and the best moments came when women got together to spit their rhymes in the absence of men.
Below is a list of the 21 best women-led collaborations of 2021.