As a pioneer for women in hip hop, Queen Latifah is more than qualified to weigh in on the status of a genre she helped push forward, and she's not exactly excited about the caliber of artists out today.
The Queen called the Rickey Smiley Morning show to promote her new eponymous daytime talk show, and shared views on the female rap game. When asked to name which female rhymer has impressed her the most in the last 15 years, the New Jersey native shouted out the likes of Shawna, Da Brat, Missy Elliott, and Eve, but doesn't believe today's climate is all that interesting. "I still think some of the best ones that have done it have yet to be topped," she said. "I still don't think anybody has topped the whole era of Foxy [Brown], [Lil'] Kim, Missy, Eve, me, on the tail end kind things."
Female MCs like Azealia Banks, Angel Haze, Iggy Azalea and Nicki Minaj don't have to kick down the same doors left unlocked by some of their predecessors, but are still making history in their own right. Azalea for example became the first woman to be included on XXL's freshman cover, and Minaj was the first female rapper to land on Forbes' Hip Hop Cash Kings list and the first to perform solo on the Grammy awards, among a list of other achievements. But the female rap game could use more than one star player, Latifah added. "I'm still looking forward to it not being a one at a time female rapper thing. I think Nicki Minaj is great but I think we definitely need to blow up some of the other females that are out there."
Although Latifah — born Dana Owens — hasn't released a studio album since 2009's Persona, her music peers are involved in The Queen Latifah Show, premiering Sept. 16. Will Smith and wife Jada Pinkett Smith are executive producers, Alicia Keys taped a segment during the show's test run and Lenny Kravitz' design firm is responsible for the set.
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(Photo: Kevin Winter/Getty Images)