Five transformative female vocalists born between 1950 and 1970

These amazing female vocalists helped transform music and each was born between 1950 and 1970 (OK, one was 1971).
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LaTasha Rogers, AKA MC Trouble, released just one full album during her lifetime. Gotta Get a Grip came out just before she turned 20. She was the first female rapper signed by Motown and her first hit “(I Wanna) Make You Mine” was one of the early hip-hop songs to blend an infectious pop chorus with tough, edgy rapping.

Even at 20, Rogers was already recognized as a top-flight songwriter who took to rapping naturally. Her Motown label-mates The Good Girls said she was an outstanding performer despite her youth. When she died at age 20 while working on her second album, A Tribe Called Quest, Nefertiti, and Boyz 2 Men were among the artists who wrote tribute songs for her.

Her earliest regional singles – “High Roller’s Girl” and “Can’t Get Enough” – showed a very assured rapper with a strong voice and a powerful flow. But, truth be told, they weren’t particularly special. She sounds like a competent female MC Ren. Not bad for a 19-year-old, but no more than that. Then Get a Grip appeared.

In addition to its lead single, MC Trouble was now bursting out with political tracks like “Black Line” and the title track. “Get a Grip” is an across-the-board tour de force – writing, rapping, and production. It was a political rap on par with Public Enemy before she was old enough to drink in most of the country.

MC Trouble was not the only female rapper expanding the space for women in hip-hop in the late 1980s. But she was arguably doing it to a greater degree than anyone else at the time, both musically and lyrically. Her voice, before she turned 21, was more potent than male and female singers who had been around far longer. There’s no telling where she would have traveled had an epileptic seizure not cut her life short eight weeks before her 21st birthday.

Must listens: "GOTTA GET A GRIP" and "(I WANNA) MAKE YOU MINE"