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Comebacks from artists are big, but comebacks from female MCs are iconic. The history of female rappers taking shots at each other lyrically is astonishing.

A comeback is “an attempt to become famous, powerful, or important again after a period of being much less famous.” Musicians usually make a comeback after not releasing music for an extended period following a controversy or low ratings. By releasing a new project, artists can often make a comeback to popular culture
and notoriety.

The notability of a comeback varies across genres and cultures. Comebacks in music is heavily influenced by the different endeavors the artist is involved in outside of music. Media presence and the release of any project, it’s solo or in collaboration with another artist, could determine how notable a comeback is. The power of a comeback is determined by the length of a hiatus, the events surrounding it and other factors.

Musical comebacks are significant for artists. They can be caused by a change in sound, a new production or management team, and a whole genre shift. It signifies a change in branding that completely contradicts the image an artist has built for themselves.

Comeback projects could also be a response to another rapper, a situation or a group of people who have wronged the artist. These projects are often called diss tracks, making them all the more iconic.

Comebacks of both forms are nothing new in music and definitely nothing new to female MCs. Roxanne Shanté, an iconic rapper from Queens, New York, known for the song, “Big Mama,” is believed to have started the first official rap feud. At 15, Shanté released the diss track “Roxanne’s Revenege,” inspired by the song “Roxanne, Roxanne” by hip-hop trio U.T.F.O.

U.T.F.O shot back with an answer record, kicking off the infamous ‘Roxanne Wars,’ with diss tracks flying in all directions. Shanté went on to blast everyone, including Run DMC, LL Cool J and KRS-One. And the track “Big Mama” proved she wasn’t about to let fellow female rappers MC Lyte, Latifah, Monie Love and Salt-N-Pepa off the hook. Roxanne, the first recorded female hip-hop artist is also the first woman to initiate rap beef. When it comes to female MCs and conflict, it’s only right that they resolve it over the mic.

Over three decades later, female MCs are still resolving issues over the mic. Over the past few years, we’ve had some iconic comebacks. From Nicki Minaj and Remy Ma’s rap beef over who deserved the title of “Queen of Rap,” to Azealia Banks and Iggy Azalea’s feud over artistic integrity and musical recognition. However, there have been two in particular that have caught my attention and need more recognition.

First, let’s start with the City Girls, a rap duo out of Miami, Florida. The duo, Yung Miami and JT, are known for rapping about explicit sexual topics, being baddies or getting to a money bag through a man; however, for JT, getting to the bag came with its own obstacles instead. BET states “In 2018, the ‘Act Bad ’rapper, born Jatavia Johnson, turned herself in on identity theft and credit card fraud charges. She completed a nearly two-year stint in a Florida federal prison.”

While in jail, JT wasn’t releasing music unfortunately leaving Yung Miami to fend for herself. However, Yung Miami did what needed to be done by tending to the City Girls’ name. She made numerous appearances during those two years, including being featured on Drake’s “In My Feelings” and released City Girls’ debut studio album “Girl Code.” They even had their single, “Twerk,” on the top 100s, making that their first song to chart.

The day JT was released from prison in 2019, she released the song “First Day Out Freestyle” making her solo debut under the City Girls’ name. The song took shots at rappers, planting JT as a respectable female MC, and warning opps to not mess with Yung Miami. The freestyle was her first project after her two-year prison stint, making it a notable comeback. However, the song that really set it off for JT wasn’t released until four years after she was released.

“No Bars” by JT was the comeback of all comebacks. Currently said “No Bars” put an end to that era of silence. In a new Instagram post, JT explained the backstory behind the track’s inspiration. “No Bars’ is a freestyle I made in the studio when I was having one of those days. At the time, like most of the time, [people] were doubting me and questioning why I wasn’t as visual and vocal as others [without] knowing me personally,” she wrote.

Since its release, “No Bars” has received lots of love on social media, going viral on TikTok. “No Bars” solidified JT as a force in the rap game, giving her the exposure, recognition and fame she so undeniably deserved.

We are currently witnessing what I believe to be one of the most notable female MC comebacks in history.

Megan Thee Stallion is a rapper out of Houston, Texas, known for her songs “Hot Girl Summer” and “Savage.” In July 2020, Megan got into an altercation with another artist that left her hospitalized. Originally hesitant to say names, later, she revealed that the artist Tory Lanez shot her during the alteration. Megan was hesitant to tell the LAPD at the time because she described them as “aggressive.”

An article from Vulture reports that she stated, “the police came because the neighbors called the police … the police come — I’m scared. All this sh*t going on with the police … I didn’t want to die. I didn’t want the police to shoot me cause there’s a n- – – – with a gun in the car
with me.”

Following this, Megan went on a two-year hiatus and only appeared at the Houston show for Beyonce’s ‘Renaissance World Tour.’

Megan came back and released “Cobra” completely revealing her mental health struggles and grief after losing both of her parents. She later released “Hiss,” a diss track targeting the industry, past relationships, social media and any other entity that did her wrong. Both tracks are rumored to appear in Megan’s third
studio album.

Megan’s return into the industry is big, especially because of the Tory Lanez controversy, making her comeback one for the books. There’s no telling what Thee Stallion has in store, but we’re sure it’s gotta be a banger.

From “Roxanne’s Revenge” to “No Bars,” comebacks are a central part of hip-hop history, especially for female MCs. They are a true testament to artist’s creativity, talent and intelligence. Comebacks are easily one of the most anticipated types of musical projects, so when there’s a woman behind the mic giving it her all and telling someone to go screw themselves, it’s almost hard not to tap in.