The 50 Best Rap Songs by Women

20. Queen Latifah "U.N.I.T.Y" (1993)

Album: Black Reign

"U.N.I.T.Y." is one of hip-hop's smartest and most powerful anthems. Queen Latifah knew that street harrassment and disrespect weren't problems that originated with hip-hop, but that hip-hop would actually provide her with the biggest stage to address them. The song, from her 1993 album Black Reign, dropped at the beginning of the following year. Produced by KayGee of Naughty By Nature, the song offset Latifah's powerful, brash delivery with a melancholy saxophone hook. Peaking at No. 23 on the Hot 100 and winning Latifah a Grammy Award for "Best Rap Solo Performance" in 1995, "U.N.I.T.Y." was the most successful release of the Queen's career. The song managed a tough tightrope act of fighting for a righteous cause without sounding didactic or academic. Unapologetically assertive, the track made its case most forcefully when Latifah "punched him dead in his eye and said 'Who you callin' a bitch?'"

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