The hardest part for any new artist is just getting your foot in the door. Sometimes you aren’t fortunate enough to be able to rely on a big-name, but you are able to bring it talent wise. And if you’re lucky… IF you’re lucky… you’re just talented enough to get some shine. In any given city, or any given neighborhood for that matter, there’s any number of aspiring lyricists and smooth spitters who just haven’t caught that big break. It becomes even harder to achieve when you’re a female rapper who doesn’t have a gimmick (Kreayshawn, I’m looking blank-staring at you).

In 2011, two underrated and understated female rappers in particular stood out amongst the many new faces, male and female alike, just trying to get on. The beauty about being counted out, is that you don’t have as much counting on you. But if I were a gambling man, I’d be all too willing to take my chances and bet on these two femcees transforming hip-hop in 2012.

 

Nitty Scott, MC

Chances are, the name “Nitty Scott” sounds very familiar. Like really, really familiar. You just can’t remember where you heard it. Let me refresh your memory real quick.

 

Yes, it’s true – appearing in the company of a number of already established rappers in the BET Hip-Hop Awards Cyphers this year certainly catapulted the headphones-and-hoodie rocking Brooklynite beauty into a previously un-held spotlight. But the reality is, Nitty Scott MC had been proving her talent a long time before BET put her in front of the camera. Scott dropped two projects in 2011 – Mick Boogie Presents: Nitty Scott, MC – The Cassette Chronicles in April, and then Doobies x Popsicle Sticks in mid-November. Both mixtapes all but justified Nitty’s use of “MC” as part of her stage moniker, because make no mistake, Nitty Scott’s lyricism is ridiculous.

Something about Nitty Scott’s voice sounds like pure nostalgia, like she’s the rap child of Queen Latifah and MC Lyte were such an aural union possible. Don’t believe me? Check out Nitty’s “Luv My Life,” which reeks of the 90s and all but would have fit right in playing on an episode of New York Undercover back in the day. Scott’s versatility is also admirable. Songs like “Time Is Running Out,” off Cassette Chronicles, blends her raw rapping ability with a biting honesty about how she sees herself; while the J. Period-remixed “FeminiNITTY” has Scott dropping bars almost without taking a single breath over elements of various instrumentals (such as Busta Rhymes’ “Touch It”).

While BET may have finally put Nitty Scott, MC, within everyone’s sight, Scott is certainly hoping that her music places her within every listener’s mind and heart. Though unsigned, she’s all hype and will continue to rep for the independent folks through her “The Boombox Movement”; and pardon my alliteration, but no doubt, Nitty’s passion and prowess puts her in prime position in 2012 to break out.

 

Raven Sorvino

If nothing else, Raven Sorvino deserves your consideration for dropping Inspired, a project that Sorvino put together in honor of Aaliyah… except it’s all rap. The audacity! A damn-near doppleganger of Aaliyah Haughton spitting bars over a remake of Timbaland’s beat for “We Need a Resolution” is certainly forgivable, as that instrumental supports a freestyle. But playing on “At Your Best (You Are Love)” to spit absolutely raunchy lyrics on her track “At Your Best 2.0?” Literally rapping over a version of Aaliyah’s “Back & Forth” and calling her version “Masturbation?!” On paper, it sounds so wrong; but to your ears, it’ll sound so right. Sorvino’s Inspired tape was a slept-on surprise of 2011, but Sorvino wasn’t about to allow herself or her talent to be napped on.

It helps that Texas-raised (but Cali born) Sorvino had already paid her dues as the anointed “First Lady” of underground group Language Artz, so by association, she’d had some credibility. But if you hadn’t heard of Inspired, surely you’d heard the single Raven Sorvino let loose in the fall of 2011, “Pink Pony.” “Pink Pony” further enabled Sorvino to show off her ability to spit the kind of bars you’d find yourself quoting days later trying to remember from where you’d first heard them. And she would close out 2011 by dropping a hot video for the song “Whisper’z (N.S.F.W.),” thus whetting the thirst catching the attention of male listeners and garnering still further support for her forthcoming debut album under HipNOTT Recordings, Paper Girl, which drops this month.

This writer admires and admittedly may be a little biased in Raven Sorvino’s ability to sound sexy without forcing the sexiness. But if recent leaks “Whisper’z” and “Who Gwan Test Me” are any indication, Paper Girl has all the makings of one of the strongest femcee debuts this side of Missy Elliott’s Supa Dupa Fly; and the album – though hopefully Sorvino will give us more than just an album this year – should certainly set Raven up to break out and most certainly break in a wealth of new fans.