Female rappers were less sexualized
Shortly before the rise of Lil' Kim and Foxy Brown, female rappers were not as racy as they are today. No disrespect to Nicki Minaj and her contemporaries, things were just different then. Female emcees like MC Lyte, Da Brat, Lady of Rage, and Missy Elliott not only personified the braggadocio and confidence of their male counterparts, but also tended to dress like them too. The same goes for a group like TLC—tall tees, baggy pants, Timberland boots, and bandanas featured heavily into their wardrobe.