There’s nothing like a themed playlist to get you into a specific mood complete with fake scenarios that play in your head while you hum along. You know how it goes. Taylor Swift for breaking up with your imaginary significant other. Mariah Carrey for pretending you can actually sing. Lady Gaga so you can imagine you’re the alien queen of an intergalactic queer empire. And so on and so forth. Really, we could go all day.
But there are days when you just want to feel like you’re that girl. Which girl? That girl. The perfect, boss ass bitch idealized version of you who exercises regularly, rocks at her job, looks her best 24/7, and is the personified deity of “gaslight, girl boss, gatekeep” and the much-coveted girl rest.
Get your phone out and start picking out songs to add to your “I’m working over the holidays and I’m trying to hype myself up about it” playlist because girl, same.
1. Doja Cat
If you still haven’t heard of Doja Cat, can I just ask, where have you been hiding because I need that kind of retreat from civilization? Kidding, kidding. In all seriousness, though, this 26-year-old rapper and singer has been everywhere since her song “Say So” trended on TikTok and peaked at #5 on the Billboard Hot 100.
“Say So” was part of the Hot Pink album which was released in 2020. The song’s disco and pop-rap influences as well as its flirty lyrics and upbeat sound that you won’t be able to resist dancing to (at least in your head) might give the impression that Doja Cat only makes fun pop songs for Gen Zers on TikTok, but the artist has shown that she knows how to spit bars too. You even hear a little of this in the second verse of “Say So.”
But “Say So” doesn’t exactly fit the bill for a boss bitch playlist so how about a song that’s literally titled “Boss Bitch” (or Boss B*tch, if you want to be polite)? Granted, the song, which was featured on Birds of Prey, is really electropop but the appeal of Doja Cat is in her flexibility as an artist. If you really want to hear her rap, you might be more interested in tracks like “Tia Tamera.” Let’s be honest, though, “Mooo!” was her best.
2. Flo Milli
Flo Milli, who’s actually Tamia Monique Carter off stage, is a 21-year-old rapper from Mobile, Alabama. Carter started making music at just 9 years old. Though she wasn’t quite Flo Milli yet, she was already dancing and acting at a young age, a good sign of a future career as an artist.
She started making professional recordings in 2017 when she was only 17 years old. Even at a young age, Flo Milli knew what she wanted and knew how she was going to get it. For one, she had already started a social media campaign for herself with the goal of breaking into the mainstream.
In an interview with Billboard, she said that she expected to gain musical success at 18, something that actually happened when she was 19 after “Beef FloMix,” a song that sampled Ethereal and Playboi Carti’s “Beef,” went viral in 2019.
“Beef FloMix” has a lot of attitude in it. Imagine Blair Waldorf from Gossip Girl rapping about how she always gets her way and that “flexing on you is her duty” because that’s what “Beef FloMix” is all about. When asked about the audacious attitude she brings to her music by WMagazine, Flo Milli had this to say:
“I come from a household full of women. We used to argue a lot. When you’re around women all your life, you adapt to the attitudes. The energy I’m bringing is like ‘How dare you?’ because I’m that bitch.”
If there’s one recent song from her that you really should listen to, it’s “Roaring 20s” because first, it would fit in the “that girl” playlist you’re working on and second, there’s nothing like roaring 20s glamor and “I made my own lane and I took advantage” to help you manifest good things on New Year’s Eve.
Okay, maybe you’re looking for someone who’s a little more aggressive and a little less straight. For that, your playlist needs a dash of Ashnikko.
Ashton Nicole Cassey, better known as Ashnikko, is a rapper and singer from Oak Ridge, North Carolina whose song “Daisy” you probably heard on a few TikToks before. Prior to that, she went viral for her song “Stupid” which spawned a dance trend that even Miley Cyrus took part in.
While Flo Milli and Doja Cat don’t exactly keep their music 100% clean, Ashnikko is openly vulgar and aggressive in almost all of her songs. Despite the violent energy of her songs that’s more commonly heard in music made by male rap artists, Ashnikko claims that her influences were female artists like M.I.A, Bjork, Nicki Minaj, Dolly Parton, and Avril Lavigne which you can easily see in her music.
“I didn’t listen to any men before the age of 16,” Ashnikko told BBC.
Ashnikko paid homage to Lavigne’s hit song “Sk8er Boi” with her own “L8r Boi” which flips the narrative by pointing out that your typical “sk8er boi” is “parasitic” and treats ballet girl like she’s his therapist.
While it’s harder to figure out where Dolly Parton comes into play in her discography, I’ll go out on a leg and say it’s probably “Working Bitch,” which is exactly the musical pick me up you need if you’re working throughout the holidays.
4. Rico Nasty
Ashnikko not enough for you? Need a female rapper whose tracks you can mentally scream to while you plan how you’re going to end that one relative who always keeps throwing shade at you at family gatherings? Look no further than Rico Nasty.
Rico Nasty, whose real name is Maria-Cecilia Simone Kelly, is a 24-year-old rapper who started her music career in high school back in 2014 with the album Summer’s Eve. Rico Nasty was only 17 years old at the time.
When asked about it on Dazed, Rico describes her early career casually, saying that: “[I was the] only bitch rapping in all of PG County. And I was the youngest bitch rapping. So I’m in school and niggas is like, ‘Woah, you the bitch that rap,’ and I’m like ‘Yeah, yeah.’”
But according to her, she wasn’t really taking it seriously at the time because she wasn’t getting any shows. She would later gain traction with the release of “iCarly” and “Hey Arnold,” two singles named after popular Nickolodeon shows.
While both singles helped her gain some underground recognition, it was “Smack A Bitch” that would put her on the map. “Smack A Bitch” is where we really get a taste of who Rico Nasty is as it combines her signature aggression with Harajuku (but also emo somehow?) visual elements. Basically, she’s an alt girl who’s a rapper. What more could you ask for?
African-American and Latina female rappers aren’t the only ones making waves in recent years. Outside of the U.S, Mina Otomonai, a.k.a Chanmina, has been gaining popularity around East Asia for her multilingual music that breaks the boundaries between Japanese and Korean music. No single fan on the J-Pop vs. K-Pop divide can claim her as being entirely their own due to her parentage as the daughter of a Japanese father and South Korean mother.
Oddly enough, Chanmina says it was her mother, a professional ballerina, who led Chanmina on the path to becoming a professional rapper. Her mother gave exposed her to the arts and taught her the basics of being a performer by having her attend ballet classes and teaching her daughter herself. During one of those ballet classes, Chanmina saw a hip-hop class being taught in the studio. For the young girl, it was love at first sight.
While she grew up outside of hip-hop and rap’s home turf, Chanmina likely understood what it was like to struggle in society because of your race, a common theme of rap music. Despite the fact that she looked like your average Japanese girl, Chanmina found herself bullied and ostracized because she wasn’t a fluent Japanese speaker.
These days, she raps in Japanese and speaks out about how the cult of beauty destroys the self-image of young women in her song “Bijin.”
6. Lexie Liu
If you’re a League of Legends player, you might remember Lexie Liu better as Seraphine, the starry-eyed pop star of Piltover who first made an appearance during the comeback of K/DA, the League girl group that featured Kaisa, Ahri, Akali, and Evelynn.
Though she did a fantastic job as Seraphine, Lexie Liu has an entire career outside of League‘s fictional music scene. The 22-year-old artist comes from Changsha, Hunan Province in China. She started dabbling in music as a student when she began dancing and playing the piano.
Fast forward to 2015, the artist joined a South Korean TV competition called “K Pop Star-5.” She didn’t stick around and sign with South Korean talent agency, something that was common among former TV competition contestants. Instead, Liu moved to New York where she studied at Fordham University. Her move to the U.S helped her develop as a bilingual artist with fans on both sides of the globe.
In 2019, she joined 88rising with the release of 2030, a new album with Lexie Liu’s signature blend of R&B, rap, and pop. Though many of her popular songs feature a more pop side of her, the artist has shown she’s more than capable of spitting bars with tracks like “Mulan,” “Jiaren,” and “Manta.”
Come on, did you really think I’d bring up Asian female rappers without bringing up the Asian female rapper?
K-Pop fans will remember CL from her days as a member of 2NE1, a South Korean pop group that dominated charts throughout Asia in the late 2000s to mid-2010s. Even back when she was part of a group, CL had already made a reputation for herself as the rapper of the group.
Before she was CL, though, she was Lee Chaerin. The 30-year-old rapper and songwriter was born in Seoul, South Korea to South Korean parents but claims that culture-wise she’s not 100% Korean.
“I feel like an alien sometimes, where I don’t feel like I belong anywhere,” she told Vogue in an interview. CL grew up in multiple cities, among them being Paris and Tokyo. While having a female rapper in a K-pop group is almost standard fare these days, CL was arguably the first of her kind. Mark Guiducci wasn’t exaggerating when he wrote that “CL is to 2NE1 what Beyoncé was to Destiny’s Child.”
In 2019, CL officially left YG Entertainment, 2NE1s label, to strike out on her own. Unfortunately, she’s currently signed with Scooter Braun and well, you already know how that panned out for Taylor Swift.
Cl recently came out with her first full-length solo album Alpha where CL does what she does best, rap.