Opinion: Before Nicki Minaj, These 8 Female MCs Ruled

PHOTO: Nicki Minaj at AMAs

Nicki Minaj is on top of the world right now, and anyone who's listened to her brand new album, Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded The Re-Up, knows she's not stepping down from her throne anytime soon.

But while she basks in the spotlight now – and she does love to bask – what about all those other female rappers who once ruled but then disappeared into oblivion?

But it's like they say – keep your friends close and your enemies closer. Just look at Foxy Brown, who got onstage with Nicki this past summer in New York but would otherwise be completely irrelevant, making headlines not for her music but for assaulting manicurists and what not. (Lil Kim on the other hand, still hasn't learned her lesson and is still picking fights with Nicki every chance she gets.)

"I believe in giving props where props are due," Nicki said before bringing Foxy onstage to perform "B.K. Anthem" and "Oh Yeah." "And sometimes it happens to be one person that has influenced me more than any other woman. I wanna bring the baddest bitch out that ever did this sh*t."

From fly girls to street spitters, we rounded up some of our favorite female rappers from the past to see what life has been for them after hip-hop's spotlight.

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EVE

The First Lady of the Ruff Ryders crew, Eve proved to be one of the most versatile female rappers of her time, balancing poignant, serious tracks like 1999's "Love Is Blind", about domestic abuse, with more commercial fare like 2001's "Let Me Blow Ya Mind" featuring Gwen Stefani.

Eve then took over Hollywood with appearances all over the big and small screens ranging from Barbershop, Whip It and Glee to having her very own sitcom Eve that ran from 2003 to 2006 on the UPN network. Since then, the original "pitbull in a skirt" has kept recording (when she's not globetrotting with her multi-millionaire Brit beau Maximillion Cooper) and is slated to release her much-delayed fourth album Lip Lock in 2013. Last year, Eve dubbed Lip Lock a "fun record" and although little has been confirmed, rumored guests include Chiddy Bang, Flo-Rida and Adam Levine.

CHARLI BALTIMORE

By dating the late Notorious B.I.G. and spitting bars alongside Ja Rule (most notably on "Down Ass Chick"), Charli Baltimore was hip-hop's feistiest redhead in the 90s. Her debut The Diary (You Think You Know) in 2003 spawned several lukewarm buzz tracks and actually never came out.

Since then, Charli has left Murder Inc. and, aside from occasional run-ins with Biggie's other ex, Lil' Kim, has been largely quiet. Just recently, she tweeted that her new album True Lies has been pushed back. It seems talent runs in the family - Charli's gorgeous daughter India Christin Lane is all grown up and pursuing a modeling and singing career of her own. Check her out in Avery Storm's music video.

VITA

Murder Inc's other female rapper was Vita. The spunky younger sister of Kima from R&B group Total, Vita appeared on several songs with Ja Rule, Ashanti and crew, but our hands down favorite was "Put It On Me," a Romeo & Juliet-esque track about forbidden young love.

Since leaving Murder Inc, Vita took a break from music due to family issues. XXL mag revealed last year that Vita was actually recording with Rick Ross and besides music, has been working on film projects and designing a lingerie line. She recently dropped the (regrettably-titled) Pre-Cumm mixtape earlier this year.

REMY MA

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