Well, the answer is obvious: yes. But female emcees have always been few and far between in the rap game -- it often seemed like only one woman could hold the spotlight at a time, whether it was Lauryn Hill, Lil Kim or Missy Elliot. And while lesser-known emcees like Bahamadia and Rah Digga were continually garnering praise, none cracked the glass ceiling and got radio time. But in the wake of Nicky Minaj -- who proved she could seriously spit rhymes before embracing pop music -- female emcees have been making inroads this year. It looks like finally there might be rooms for more than one at the top. Ladies and gentlemen: we bring you the contenders.
Meanwhile, across the (other) pond...we’ve lately been entranced by how hip-hop has been transformed in the hands -- and mouths -- of Japanese beatboxers. Judging by the talent they’re fielding, it seems like if beatboxing was an Olympic sport, Japan would win, hands down.
Kishi Bashi (aka K Ishibashi) is a violinist who’s backed the likes of Regina Spektor and of Montreal in concert. But the man has a side gig taking that ancient instrument of his and running it through a bunch of pedals to create something distinctly modern. In this digital age, there’s nothing new about artists creating songs on the spot in front of you, but when this guy does it, it can stop your breath.