Over the last year or so, women have dominated the music industry in several aspects. Trinidadian and Dominican rapper Cardi shut down the internet with her sex-positive smash single “WAP,” featuring Houston hottie Megan Thee Stallion. Meanwhile, newcomer Bia landed verses from several prominent hip-hop artists, including Nicki Minaj and J Cole, who appeared on “Whole Lotta Money (remix)” and “London,” respectively. As we celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month, take a moment to check out some of the proud Afro-Latina emcees heating up the music industry.
Fans were first introduced to Puerto Rican-Italian emcee Bia during her appearance on Oxygen’s reality show Sisterhood of Hip-Hop. Her efforts garnered the attention of veteran emcee Nicki Minaj who collaborated with the Boston native for the remix of her 2020 hit single “Whole Lotta Money.” The track earned her a BET Hip Hop Awards nomination in 2021 for “Song of the Year” and “Best Collaboration.” She recently earned a nod for her latest track London featuring Grammy Awards-winning rapper J. Cole.
Dominican-American rapper-singer-dancer DaniLeigh’s first successful single was a 2017 track titled “Party,” an empowerment song for women and Latinos, and featured Mexican-American rapper Kap G. She began singing and dancing at age 12 before becoming a background dancer to artists like Pharrell and Nelly Furtado. At 18, she was requested by the late Pop icon Prince to direct and write the music video treatment for his 2014 song “Breakfast Can Wait,” in which she ultimately starred in the lead role. The “Purple Rain” musician continued to mentor the burgeoning artist until his untimely death in 2016.
Afro-Indigenous and Puerto Rican singer and rapper Princess Nokia, born Destiny Nicole Frazqueri, started her music career by releasing projects on YouTube and SoundCloud. She released her debut studio album, Metallic Butterfly, in 2014 and a mixtape a year later titled Honeysuckle. However, she found breakthrough success with the release of her 2017 studio album 1992 Deluxe. Nokia often references her culture in her music.
Despite her naysayers, Cardi B. has remained proud of her Trinidadian and Dominican roots. When trolls on social media questioned her Afro-Latina roots, the Bronx native took to her Twitter, where she shared a 2016 cover story from Vibe where she spoke about her heritage. The post featured photos from Cardi’s Dominican grandmother’s apartment in Washington Heights, NY, with a caption that read, “Before I even got my teeth fix, I was talking about my roots.” She added, “Not just cause of fame. Thank you, carry on.”
Today Cardi is one of the most prominent artists in hip hop. She’s earned several accolades, including a Grammy award in 2019 for her debut studio album, Invasion of Privacy. The project debuted at no. 1 on the Billboard 200 and broke several streaming records.
Harlem-raised, Afro-Dominican recording artist Melii found fame in 2018 with her single “Icey” before releasing her debut album phAses a year later. She’s best known for effortlessly rapping in Spanish and English, as seen in her recent track “Have U Seen Her?”