Ni Una menos, the grassroots feminist movement, has spread across Latin America since its formation in 2015 in Argentina. While female journalists and academics started the movement, it has grown to include a new wave voices from all walks of Latin American culture. Some of these voices come from female hip hop artists. While hip hop has been a historically male-dominated genre, female MCs in Latin America have risen up against stereotypes and gender-based violence.
Challenging the societal norms surrounding hip hop culture hasn’t been easy for these women. “Sometimes people think hip-hop is the most sexist space in the world, and that underestimates our culture,” said Rebeca Lane (a popular Guatemalan MC), “as if the rest of the world – academia, business, journalism – weren’t sexist. So, yes. It’s difficult. But it’s difficult just to be a woman. End of story.”
1. Ana Tijoux (Chile)
Born in France after her parents were exiled from Chile after the 1973 coup, she was a foundational female voice of Chile’s hip hop scene with her band Makiza. Her newest album “Vengo” contains songs influenced by native and contemporary Latin American sounds. Her song “Antipatriarca” is a direct attack against the patriarchy and misogyny in Latin American society.
2. Rebeca Lane (Guatemala)
A leading force of Latinoamérica Unida, a compilation album of female MCs, Lane uses her music and poetry to affirm female liberation, and question gender roles, and the colonization and militarization of her country. With a musical theater background, she affirms an important statement: Ni Una Menos.
3. Nakury (Costa Rica)
Natasha Campos, who goes by Nakury, has a history of beauty pageantry and modeling, which she quit to enter hip hop. She quickly got involved with rapping and has used her platform to empower women. Her newest album, Via, was released in 2017 and features several collaborations with other artists including Rebeca Lane.
4. Audry Funk (Mexico)
Audry is a singer and MC from Puebla, Mexico whose music features a combination of reggae, hip hop, soul and funk, focusing on themes like gender equity, unity, and female empowerment. She is an activist and is part of the group “Mujeres trabajando” which works to showcase women’s art within hip hop culture. In 2018, Yiwei Chen created a documentary about Audry’s activism and career titled “Audry Funk: A Documentary on Hip Hop, Womanhood and Social Justice.”
5. Dania Neko (Chile)
Neko is a Chilean MC whose mix of bossa nova, folk music, and hip hop comes from the sounds of her home neighborhood in Santiago, San Joaquín. Neko worked with the group Somos Mujeres, Somos Hip Hop, and her latest album Depura features lyrics that connect with other women who have experienced similar struggles. She uses her music as a platform to empower other women to think freely.
6. Miss Bolivia (Argentina)
María Paz Ferreyra, better known as Miss Bolivia, is an Argentinian MC, producer, and DJ, who mixes cumbia, hip hop, and reggae into her music, with strong influences from her neighborhood La Paternal. She started out as a psychology student and later turned her meditations into lyrics. As an openly bisexual artist, she focuses much of her music on LGBTQ and women’s rights.
7. Krudas Cubensi (Cuba)
Krudas Cubensi is a group of three MC’s from Cuba who advocate for black, women’s, and queer rights. Starting in small festivals in Havana, the group wanted to incorporate feminist discourse into the masculine genre of hip hop. While they left Cuba for the US, their music still raises awareness about the struggles of Black Latina and Caribbean queer folks.
8. Jezzy P (Mexico)
Jessica Roldán, known on stage as Jezzy P, has been a female pioneer in Mexican rap since 1996. She has focused her music and work on bringing awareness to women’s rights, educating young and indigenous people, and campaigning for sexual and reproductive health. She has collaborated with many Mexican and international rappers including Ana Tijoux and Miss Bolivia.
9. Sara Hebe (Argentina)
Hebe is an Argentinian rapper and MC with a background in dance and theater. Her collaboration with her producer, Ramiro Jota, created a mix of hip hop, cumbia, reggae, chacarera, dancehall, reggaeton, and punk. She breaks genre stereotypes by creating music for a female audience.
10. Danay Suarez (Cuba)
Suarez is a Cuban singer, songwriter, and MC born in Havana. She moves between jazz, hip hop, and R&B. She has participated in the Havana Cultura project, and has collaborated with many talented artists and poets throughout the creation of her two albums including Stephen Marley, Aja Monet, Idan Raichel, and Roberto Fonseca.
*Text & List, by Isabel Curro