The Bluffer's Guide is a personal musical journey through influential genres and artists with DJ and writer Aidan Kelly. This week, Aidan celebrates the great alternative female hip hop artists...

Bahamadia - One-4-Teen

Let's start with a maverick - Bahamadia, AKA Antonia D Reed from Philadelphia on the microphone around the late nineties with her distinctive delivery; it's classic in its samples and loops but timeless, which means quality. Fact: 1996 was a great year for female hip hop...

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Mary J Blige - Love No Limit (Puff Daddy mix)

Mary J Blige wears her heart on her sleeve with immense experience and streetwise tenacity. Coming from Yonkers and the Bronx makes you tough, and her heart and soul is in her vocal - she's Hall Of Fame status and those in the industry all nod to her. Here, she's working alongside the infamous Puff Daddy.

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Jorja Smith - Imperfect Circle

Comparatively new on the scene, Jorja Smith has turned heads with a sound that is multidimensional, clever and sweet. There's classic trip-hop laziness on the backing track here that lets her shine all over it.

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Amel Larrieux - Get Up

From 1999 - Larrieux is in Greenwich Village, New York, releasing Infinite Possibilities, and this single reaches 21 on the Billboard chart; from this under-the-radar artist, it's an accomplished work.

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Martine Girault - Revival

Slick production on this very laid-back jazz-influenced track. I remember Girault was heavily played on MTV, the video all the style from that 90's era. I actually loved most records that came out on FFRR, London, which was Pete Tong's label.

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Floetic - Floetry

Back to the UK - that said, this tightly-worded track sounds like it could have come from the stable of Arrested Development, Vagabond in Atlanta. But Marsha Ambrosius and Natalie Stewart hail from Liverpool and London, England, and you can hear their love of the US sound influencing their choices, including recording the album this track was taken from in Philadelphia back in 2002.

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Robert Glasper / Eyrkah Badu - Afro Blue

Strictly speaking, this is a Robert Glasper work of art, but true to her big loving personality, Eyrkah Badu makes it all her own. Badu is a hip version of an angel given powers to see into the righteous future; hip hop to her is one way of saying I bestow all my love.

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Lauryn Hill - Ex Factor

Revered by so many as an innovator and yet known for being slightly eccentric, Ms. Hill has singlehandedly changed music on a par with Missy Elliott or Badu, creating very soulful work that inspires and endures with from the legendary album The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill.

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Jill Scott - A Long Walk

Scott works her magic. It has all the elements of hip hop and yet embraces jazz and soul with enthusiasm. From her seminal first album Who Is Jill Scott? She also acts and, I believe, brings the method process into her work as a musician. Amazing live...

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Janet Jackson - Got 'Til It's Gone

Taking the Joni Mitchell sampled vocal and matching it up with a guest verse from A Tribe called Quest's Q-Tip is a track from a Sunday afternoon mixtape - Jackson away from her brother's shadow is still beautiful.

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Noname - Sunny Duet

Chicago's queen from her 2016 album Telefone. I saw her in Windy City hush a packed audience as they waited for her quiet entrance; only till you experience a sound like this in its hometown, you appreciate the nuances.

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Sampa the Great - Energy

The vocal on this is ferocious, and this could be said of all her work. Born in Zambia, based in Australia, in March 2020 Sampa became the first artist to win the Australian Music Prize twice.

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Faith Evans - Love Like This

Better known as being Notorious B.I.G.'s wife - which only strengthens her reputation as an artist in her own right - this track must have been played in every nightclub everywhere, multiple times over in 1998...

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Dinah Jane - Heard It All Before

Even though she's forgotten her lyrics onstage at X-Factor and that whole world is the opposite of what hip hop stands for, this is a great slice of pop music that encompasses the spirit of alternative hip hop - and we all deserve a second chance, right?

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Listen to more from The Bluffer's Guide on RTÉ 2XM here.