This Monday, July 11, at 9pm, its VH1 Hip Hop Honors: All Hail The Queens, a salute to Missy Elliott, Queen Latifah, Lil’ Kim and Salt-N-Pepa, featuring tributes and performances by Pharrell, Timbaland, Eve, Remy Ma, Raven Symoné, Common, Naughty by Nature and more.
To get you ready, we’re calling out 10 queer hip hop stars who rock the mic.
This breakthrough gay rapper took the Internet by storm with his ultra slick speed-rapping on “Wut.” Since then he’s released three mixtapes, an EP with Terrible records, and addictive tracks like “Soda,” “BOOM” and “Koi.” Le1f’s debut LP, Riot Boi, dropped in 2015.
We described Wallace’s EP, Faggot, as forceful with “a sound that is undeniably ’now’ while also managing to make stylish nods to the past.”
This out female rapper is one of the stars of Oxygen’s Sisterhood of Hip Hop, but she made her name in music, performing with Wyclef Jean and collaborating with Chris Brown, Tank, and Sage the Gemini. Her mixtape “Better Late Than Never” dropped in 2015.
This punk prince(ss) lies on the artier end of the rap spectrum, serving dope lyrics with a fervent intensity on tracks like “Booty Bamboo”, “Gay Dog Food” and “Coke White Starlight.” Mykki’s threat to retire from music in 2015 is thankfully empty—on Twitter the performer teased a new album coming soon.
This pansexual 23-year-old is a talented rapper with a lot to say—and a damn impressive resume: Her video for “Battle Cry,” featuring Sia, was nominated for a VMA in 2014.
Cakes da Killa
With lyrics like “Hit me on grindr so I know where to find ya / Pull up to my crib in your new Pathfinder,” the King of Carry has never been anything but out and proud.
God-Des & She
It’s been a minute since 2013’s United States of God-Des & She, but Alicia Smith and Tina Gassen still slay us, with tracks like “Love You Better,” “Lick It” and “Between the Sheets.”
You can catch the duo when they tour, or at various Pride festivals. Smith also regularly DJs in Austin.
Big FreediaAriel LeBeau
The ambassador of New Orleans bounce music’s ultra-realness and genre-defining music has scored her legions of fans, worldwide tours, and her own TV show (Fuse’s Big Freedia: Queen Of Bounce.) The Queen Diva has even collaborated with RuPaul (on “Peanut Butter”) and Beyoncé (on “Formation”).
Her debut album earned favorable reviews across the board, and Freedia’s busy working on a followup to 2014’s Just Be Free.
This out rapper practically has a PhD from all the time he spends in the library: The creator of the avant-garde runway anthem “Ima Read” also schooled the children in tracks like “Last Name Katz” and “You Tell ’Em” and has opened for Azealia Banks and the Scissor Sisters.
VH1 Hip Hop Honors: All Hail The Queens airs July 11 at 9/8c on VH1.
Christopher Rudolph contributed to an updated version of this feature