One of the first female MC's on the mic was from the Zulu Nation, her name was Queen Kenya. She rhymed on the mic in combination with Mr. Biggs and a guy by the name of Cowboy. According to Mr. Biggs, "It wasn't rappin like we know it now, but it was just little phrases."
But the old school chick who gets major props as being one of the first to do it - and do it extremely well is Sha Rock of the Funky Four Plus One More. Sha Rock had the voice and the rhymes.
"See if the sun don't shine and the rain won't stop,
We got a style called punk rock,
Just get up the chairs and just have some fun,
Cause there's two deejays the Funky 4 Plus One.
To the people out there we want you to know,
We are the ones with the magic controll.
Cause theres two deejays and five MC's,
Four of the fellas plus one is me..."
The other stand outs from this period are Lisa Lee, Debbie Deb, Pebblee Poo and the Mercedes Ladies - big ups to DJ Flame b/k/a La Spank.
In 1984 the script got flipped as far as female MC's went when two chicks battled on wax: Roxanne Shante and Sparky D
Roxanne had the punchlines but Sparky had the fire. She was strong and aggressive on the mic. Shante's voice was thin but her punchlines were damn funny.
In the late 80's and early 90's a new crop of female MC's hit the scene: Queen Latifah, Monie Love, Sweet Tee, MC Lyte and Antoinnette. Queen Latifah back in the days had the skillz - no doubt, she was top notch witness cuts: 'Wrath of My Madness and "Inside Out". She was raw. Monie Love - who is currently an on air radio personality in New York, was the another top rank contender.
But it was the fierce gangstress from Queens who was the real underdog here. Dubbed the "female Rakim" Antoinnette rhymed in a low monotone that insinuated a cold crushing death to her competition. First premiering on a Hurby Azor produced compilation her songs "I Got An Attitude" and "Hit Em Wit This" were official boom box classic material. But it was the classic 'Who's the Boss" that cemented her forever.
Unfortunately her career would go nowhere due to poor management advice. Somehow someway she got caught up in a lyrical war with MC Lyte, a Brooklynite whose actual technical rhyming skills could not match Antoinnette's, however her raw voice and punchlines made her a quality opponent. Lyte's manager and father told me himself that Antoinnette was actually better than Lyte.