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This all-girl trio were behind the 80s rap hits like "Express Yourself" and "Tramp."
Memorable lyrics: "C'mon girls, let's go show the guys that we know/ How to become number one in a hot party show."
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Yup, you guessed right! We're talking about Salt-n-Pepa, long considered one of the best female rap groups of all time.
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Though she made her mark in the South, rapper Shawntae Harris was raised in Chicago. She chose her stage name because she was a "spoiled only child."
Memorable lyrics: "Them calls me the funkdafied, funkalistic, vocalistic."
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With songs like "Funkdafied" and "Give it 2 You," Da Brat was a bonafide hip hop hitmaker in the early 90s.
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His dapper style and impeccable dance moves earned this Brooklyn emcee respect from the fellas and lots of love from the ladies.
Memorable lyrics: "I'm the authentic poet to get lyrical/ For you to beat me, it's gonna take a miracle/ And, stepping to me, yo that's the wrong move."
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Big Daddy Kane is still going strong. Catch him at the ESSENCE Fest on July 6.
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This Harlem rapper, also known as the Human Beat Box, got his start as part of the Get Fresh Crew.
Memorable lyrics: "Have you ever seen a show with fellas on the mic/ With one minute rhymes that don't come out right/ They bite, they never right, that's not polite."
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Doug E. Fresh has barely slowed down since making his debut in the 80s. Catch him at the ESSENCE Fest on Thursday, July 4.
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Afrocentric and ready to challenge any stereotypes about women, this New Jersey native was the epitome of girl power hip hop.
Memorable lyrics: "A woman can bear you, break you, take you/ Now it's time to rhyme, can you relate to/ A sister dope enough to make you holler and scream."
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Though she's stepped away from rapping, the Queen (Latifah) is still commanding crowds on the big and small screen.
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This Compton native's music always celebrated female empowerment and addressed sexism in the music business.
Memorable lyrics: "I'm in the 90s, you still in the 80s, right/ I rock the mic, they say I'm not lady-like."
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You can't play with my Yo-Yo (Yolanda Whitaker)! The veteran rapper will be part of the ensemble cast of BET's reality show Hip Hop Sisters, set to debut this fall.
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These New Yorkers' debut album The Message (1982) brought a new wave of rap with social commentary. And who could forget their incredible style?
Memorable lyrics: "Don't push me cause I'm close to the edge/ I'm trying not to lose my head."
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Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five is one of the most respected and influential hip hop groups of all time.
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This California native left a successful hip hop group behind to pursue a solo career. In 1992 he starred in the critically-acclaimed film Boyz n the Hood.
Memorable lyrics: "Just waking up in the morning, gotta thank God/ I don't know but today seems kinda odd/ No barking from the dog, no smog."
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Two decades after his debut, Ice Cube is still going strong as a rapper, actor and screenwriter.
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This Bronx rapper, whose stage name stood for "Knowledge Reigns Supreme Over Nearly Everyone," rose to fame with hits like "The Bridge Is Over" and "South Bronx."
Memorable lyrics: "So you think that hip-hop had its start out in Queensbridge/ If you pop that junk up in the Bronx you might not live."
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You guessed right: We're talking about the one and only KRS-One.
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This British-born rapper with a penchant for big gold chains and diamond jewelry is known for songs like "Teenage Love" and "Hey Young World."
Memorable lyrics: "Hey Mr. Bigshot/ hey, don't you look fly?/ But you don't have a nickle... ohhhh, my my my/ You've been fightin again and, you forgot why."
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We’re talking about Slick Rick, aka Rick the Ruler.
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Best known for songs like "Tennessee" and "Mr. Wendal," this Southern collective brought alternative hip hop to the forefront.
Memorable lyrics: "My day was going great and my soul was at ease/ Until a group of brothers started bugging out."
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You guessed right! Arrested Development, led by Speech (pictured), continues to make music and recently released their 10th studio album, Standing at the Crossroads.
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This Cleveland collective, known for their melodic style of rhyming, was signed by N.W.A.'s Eazy E.
Memorable lyrics: "And I'm gonna miss everybody/ I done rolled and blows my gauge/ Looked at him while he lay/ When playing with destiny, play too deep for me to say."
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We’re talking about Bone Thugs n Harmony.
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This Oakland alternative hip hop group is behind 90s hits like "Doowutchyalike" and "The Humpty Dance."
Memorable lyrics: "I'm crazy, allow me to amaze thee/ They say I'm ugly but it just don't faze me/ I'm still getting in the girls' pants/ And I even got my own dance"
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You guessed it: Digital Underground.
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This Queens-bred rapper is known for his rapid-fire lyrical style and, um, amazing lips.
Memorable lyrics: "When I'm alone in my room sometimes I stare at the wall/ And in the back of my mind I hear my conscience call."
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He rhymes like no other. Catch LL Cool J at the ESSENCE Fest on Friday, July 5.
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This California crew of rappers and producers were among the first to be labeled as "gangsta rap." Their controversial name (Hint: it rhymes with triggers) coupled with their risque subject matter didn't gain them many fans over 30, that's for sure.
Memorable lyrics: "Runnin' with my brothers, headed for the homebase/ With a steady pace on the face that just we raced."
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That's right, we're talking about N.W.A. (N***az With Attitude).
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This Grammy Award-winning New Jersey trio made their debut in 1989 with the release of Independent Leaders. Their most succesful song sampled the Jackson 5's "ABC." Their second-biggest hit sampled Bob Marley's "No Woman, No Cry" and featured the lyrics "If you ain't ever been to the ghetto/ Don't ever come to the ghetto/'Cause you wouldn't understand the ghetto."
32 of 32 Getty Images
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