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Tiny Desk Playlist: Women Run The Rap Game

Several bright, young women rappers have owned the Tiny Desk stage in the past few years, and I'm honored to highlight some of my favorites from the archives.

• I love that Chika kept her performance low-key, even with four backup singers behind her. Her set is pure charm, poetry and comedy. At one point, she pulls out a tiny tub of Vaseline and erroneously calls it ChapStick.

• Notice first (as if you couldn't) that Mulatto is sitting in an oversized, tufted, white throne in a studio and not in front of a wall of books per the usual Tiny Desk aesthetic. It's the perfect ambiance for her to suavely rap about riches and insecurity, while a violinist gives the performance an extra air of grandeur.

• In between three songs, Rapsody talks about the emotional challenge of being a Black woman in hip-hop and diversifying the image of women in rap. She's steady and electrifying, especially in performing "The Man," about the lost innocence of Black boys without father figures.

• People were still learning about Megan Thee Stallion in December 2019, post-"Big Ole Freak," when she took the Tiny Desk stage. Amid a sea of cube lights, she brings the same tongue-wagging charisma that's become her signature.

Noname raps with a level of clarity and calm that hangs in the air like smoke. It's a treat to watch her perform selections from her album Telefone and talk about how we should "heal the world with vulnerability." —Clover Hope, writer, professor, and author of The Motherlode: 100+ Women Who Made Hip-Hop.

Tiny Desks In This Playlist

Megan Thee Stallion

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