Women played an integral role in the birth and growth of hip-hop.
Today, the ladies are at the forefront of the industry.
Here are 20 photos of the genre's most iconic female stars.
MC Sha-Rock and the Funky 4 + 1 were the first rap group to ever appear on national television.
Da Brat was the first ever solo female rapper to have a platinum-certified album.
Lauryn Hill's only studio album, "The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill," was the first by a female rapper to top the Billboard 200.
Salt-N-Pepa are widely known as the first ladies of rap.
Missy Elliott is currently the only female rapper to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
MC Lyte was the first female solo rapper to release her own, full-length album, 1988's "Lyte As A Rock."
TLC had four No. 1 singles on the Billboard Hot 100, "Creep", "Waterfalls", "No Scrubs," and "Unpretty."
Eve had three top 10 albums on the Billboard 200 between 1999 and 2002, which sold a combined 3.5 million copies.
Queen Latifah was the first female rapper to win the Grammy award for best solo rap performance with her song "U.N.I.T.Y."
J.J. Fad were the first act to release an album on Eazy-E's Ruthless Records.
Kelis, one of hip-hop's most eclectic stars, has sold over 6 million records worldwide.
Rah Digga, a longtime member of Busta Rhymes' Flipmode Squad, is one of hip-hop's most revered lyricists.
Nikki D was the first female rapper signed to Def Jam.
Cardi B is the only female rapper in history to have five No. 1 hits on the Billboard Hot 100.
Lil' Kim, known as the "Queen of Rap," reshaped the landscape of rap thanks to her raunchy, unapologetic style.
Born in South Africa and raised in New York City, Jean Grae is an underground rap legend.
Monie Love was the first British-born rapper to break the US market.
Nicki Minaj has sold 8 million albums in the United States alone.
Remy Ma is a multiple-time winner of the BET award for best female hip-hop artist.
Megan Thee Stallion was the first female rapper to win the Grammy for best rap performance.
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