Rap may have crossed over into the mainstream, but it’s still a hard genre to make it big in… and harder still if you’re a woman. While the likes of Eminem, Jay Z, Dr. Dre and Kanye West may be raking in the money with relative ease, making rapping pay if you’re a female artist is still far from an easy job. The glass ceiling may be shattering across the world of business, but it’s still very much intact in the record business. That said, there are some female rappers slowly making inroads into the previously all-male domain: to find out which ones are making the most headway, check out our list of the 20 richest female rappers of all time.
20. Ladybug Mecca - Net Worth: $800 Thousand
Known primarily as one-third of the underground hip hop trio Digable Planets, Ladybug Mecca soared to fame in the early 1990s. Since then, she’s forged a sufficiently successful solo career to make her the group’s highest earner. As of 2019, she has an estimated net worth of $800 thousand.
19. Foxy Brown - Net Worth: $3 Million
With a net worth of $3 million, Brooklyn native Foxy Brown comes in at number 19. Despite her numerous arrests and occasional jail time, Brown’s contribution to the hip hop scene (which has led many to refer to her as the “female Tupac”) remains undiminished.
18. Young M.A - Net Worth: $2 Million
Since her triple-platinum hit single “Ooouuu” broke into the top 20 of the Billboard Hot 100 in 2016, Young M.A has established herself as one of the hottest young artists around. In 2018, she appeared on Forbes 30 under 30, while the success of her debut album saw her win nominations for BET and MTV Artist of the Year and Female Hip-Hop Artist of the Year awards. She’s currently estimated to be worth around $2 million.
17. Kash Doll - Net Worth: $2 Million
After dropping out of the Henry Ford College in order to support her family, Kash Doll took a job at a strip club. As it turned out, she ended up making more money by rapping to the customers than she did by dancing for them, once netting $26000 in the course of one night alone. Since those early days, she’s opened for both Drake and Meek Mill and featured on Iggy Azalea’s 2019 studio album, In My Defense. Her net worth of $2 million is set to grow exponentially over the coming months with the release of her debut studio album, Stacked, in October 2019.
16. Azealia Banks - Net Worth: $3 Million
She may be as well known for her outspoken views on politics and race as she is for her musical output, but Azalea Banks has managed to achieve enough with her album sales and concert tours to bag a net worth of $3 million.
15. Da Brat - Net Worth: $3 Million
Da Brat’s success started with the one million album sales she pulled in for her 1994 debut, Funkdafied. As well as being the first female solo rap artist to receive a platinum certification, she’s doubled her celebrity (and audience) in recent years by appearing on numerous TV shows, including the reality TV series Growing up Hip Hop: Atlanta and The Rap Game. Despite some legal trouble in the past (she’s been arrested on several occasions and once served 21 months in prison for aggravated assault), she’s still managed to net a very respectable fortune of $3 million.
14. Mila J - Net Worth: $4 Million
Mila J first came to the world’s attention as a dancer in Prince’s "Diamonds and Pearls" video in 1991. After enjoying some success with the R& B Gyrl, Mila took a hiatus from music in the early 2000s. "I definitely think I was able to really figure out who I was as a solo artist and what I wanted to talk about, what I wanted to address—be myself, basically. It was a break because I was in the industry for a minute, “ she’s told Global Grind about the break… and considering the success she’s enjoyed since, it clearly worked. With a net worth of $4 million, Mila ranks as the 14th highest paid rapper of all time.
13. Remy Ma - Net Worth: $4 Million
The often-controversial rapper Remy Mal recently came under fire for her remarks about sexual assault survivors. Speaking with co-hosts Joe Budden, Eboni K. Williams and Brandon "Jinx" Jenkins on the Revolt TV talk show "State of the Culture”, the hip hop star questioned why rape victims seek financial compensation from their attackers, comparing it to "prostitution." After Williams suggested survivors sometimes seek compensation for the emotional distress, therapy, and loss of income caused by the trauma, Ma responded with "That's called prostitution," adding, "It seems like in a lot of these alleged sexual assault cases the women are asking for money. 'Hey, give me money and I’ll feel better.' To me, in any exchange with sexual acts of being compensated with money, that’s prostitution." Leaving her personal opinions and apparent confusion between restitution and prostitution to one side, few can dispute the rapper’s contribution to the music scene over the years. As the recipient of two Vibe awards, two Source awards, and two BET Award for Best Female Hip-Hop Artist, she’s one of hip-hops highest achievers- and, with a net worth of $4 million, one of its richest.
12. Iggy Azalea - Net Worth: $6 Million
Australian hip-hop artist Iggy Azalea began rapping at the age of 14. At 21, her controversial tracks "Pussy" and "Two Times” went viral on YouTube, leading to the release of her first full length mixtape, Ignorant Art. The success of her debut studio album, The New Classic, in 2014 led to her becoming the first non-American female rapper to reach the top of the Billboard Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums, while “Fancy”, the second single from the album, made her an international sensation. To date, she’s earned two American Music Awards, three Billboard Music Awards, an MTV Video Music Award, a People's Choice Award, four Teen Choice Awards, four Grammy Award nominations, and a net worth of $6 million.
11. Trina - Net Worth: $6 Million
Hardcore rapper Trina first grabbed our attention with her appearance on Trick Daddy's second studio album www.thug.com. Since then, she achieved worldwide success and critical acclaim, earning a mention on Billboard's list of the "31 Female Rappers Who Changed Hip-Hop, along with two ASCAP Awards, two BMI Awards, one Billboard Music Award, one EME Award, and one All-Star Music Award. Her net worth as of 2019 is $6 million.
10. MC Lyte - Net Worth: $8 Million
With a net worth of $8 million, MC Lyte comes in at number 10. Described by many as one of hip-hops “original feminists," the American rapper first came to prominence in the late 1980s after becoming the first female solo hip-hop artist to release a full album. In the last couple of years, she’s added another string to her bow by branching out into acting, appearing on TV in such shows as In the House, Get Real, Half & Half, Queen of the South, The District, Tales, and Sylvie.
9. Eve - Net Worth: $10 Million
Pennsylvania-born rap artist Eve burst onto the scene in 1999 with her hugely successful debut album, Let There Be Eve...Ruff Ryders' First Lady. Since then, she’s racked up hit after hit, as well as branching out into an equally successful film career (some of her most notable credits include XXX, Barbershop: The Next Cut, Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle, and The Woodsman). Her net worth is currently estimated to be around $10 million.
8. DJ Spinderella - Net Worth: $10 Million
DJ, rapper, producer and actress DJ Spinderella is the first member of the iconic rap trio Salt -N-Pepa to make our list. While she may not have achieved the same level of fortune as fellow members Cheryl James and Sandra Denton, we doubt she’s too disappointed with the $10 million she’s accrued so far.
7. M.I.A. - Net Worth: $14 Million
If you thought it was hard enough making it as a female rap artist, try making it as a non-American female rap artist. As one of our very few entries to hail from somewhere other the US, British rapper, singer and songwriter M.I.A.’s innovative blend of hip-hop, electro, dancehall, and grime has seen her earn an Academy Award, three Grammy Awards, a Mercury Prize, and an MBE for service to music.
6. Cheryl James - Net Worth: $14 Million
Strong rhymes, an amazing stage presence and a hefty dose of feminism turned all-female rap crew Sal-N-Pepa into one of the most successful music acts of the late 1980s and early 1990s. Selling over 15 million records worldwide and becoming the first female rap act to win a Grammy doesn’t just bring acclaim… in the case of founding member Cheryl James, it also brings a $14 million fortune.
5. Sandra Denton - Net Worth: $15 Million
As the Pepa to Cheryl James’ Salt, Sandra Denton has managed to achieve a substantial net worth of $15 million over the course of her 30-year career. In addition to selling five studio albums as part of the all-female rap crew, she’s also seen her worth (and celebrity) rise in recent years thanks to her 2nd career in reality TV.
4. Cardi B - Net Worth: $24 Million
The record-breaking, money-making Cardi B might be an occasionally controversial figure, but that hasn’t stopped her turning her internet celebrity into bona fide chart success. Since she last appeared on the show that made her name, the VH1 reality television series Love & Hip Hop: New York, she’s sold three number-one singles on the Billboard Hot 100; debuted at number one on the Billboard 200 with her first studio album; won a Grammy Award, seven Billboard Music Awards, two Guinness World Records, nine BET Hip Hop Awards, three American Music Awards and four MTV Video Music Awards. If that wasn’t enough, she’s also earned enough to give a very considerable net worth of $24 million.
3. Missy Elliot - Net Worth: $50 Million
Missy Elliot’s first experience of the entertainment industry came with girl group “Fayze” in the early 1990s. Since those early days, she’s established herself as one of the most respected, innovative talents in music, becoming the first female rapper to be inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame and the first female rapper to receive the MTV Michael Jackson Vanguard Award. She’s also sold enough albums to make her the third richest female rapper of all time.
2. Queen Latifah - Net Worth: $60 Million
Ask a 10-year-old girl what they want to be when they grow up, and there’s a good chance their answer will read like Queen Latifah’s resume. Singer, songwriter, rapper, actress, model, television producer, record producer, comedienne, talk show hostess… if there’s an avenue of entertainment the woman formerly known as Dana Elaine Owens hasn’t yet applied her talents to, it’s yet to be found. Since she started her career beatboxing in the late ’80s, Queen Latifah has turned into a veritable powerhouse, earning a Golden Globe award, three Screen Actors Guild Awards, two NAACP Image Awards, a Grammy Award, numerous additional Grammy nominations, an Emmy Award nomination and an Academy Award nomination.
1. Nicki Minaj - Net Worth: $80 Million
Since her discovery by fellow rap artist Lil Wayne, Nicki Minaj’s career has gone from strength to strength. Her four-studio albums have sold a combined total of $5 million worldwide, while the 20 million singles she’s sold as a lead artist and the 60 million she’s sold as a secondary artist make her the most featured female artist on the Hot 100. Part of Minaj’s power has come from her ability to work her fan base, using all the social media tools at her disposal to increase their number. She now has more than 106.6m followers on Instagram, 20 million followers on Twitter and 16 million subscribers on YouTube. The larger than life rapper currently has a net worth of $80 million, making her the richest female rapper of all time.
Written by Allen Lee
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