With the recent deficit of women in hip-hop who can rock the mic right, there couldn't be a better time for Rah Digga to stage a comeback with her highly anticipated sophomore album, 'Classic,' her first studio album in over a decade. But in heading back to the booth, Digga isn't the only emcee representing for the ladies in 2010. In fact, female rappers have begun building momentum this year. The most recent milestone came with Nicki Minaj charting at No. 1 on the Billboard Rap Songs list in June with her single 'Your Love,' making her the first female solo artist to hold the coveted position since Missy Elliott's 'Work It' topped the charts in 2002.

Like so many other female emcees, Digga's radio silence wasn't intended. But according to the rapper, now is as good a time as ever to pick the mic back up. "For a minute, we were almost becoming extinct," she tells The BoomBox of the lack of estrogen in hip-hop. "As far as the other females, I think it's just the year. I think it has everything to do with the energy and everybody just tired of everybody saying 'Where did all the females go?'"

For Digga, her ability to come back a decade later with a sophomore album, speaks to her rhyme-ripping abilities as well as the demand for better emcees, regardless of gender. While 'Classic,' slated for release in mid-September, sees her rapping over beats from producer Nottz for 10 tracks of bristling boom bap heat, Digga can always bank on the fact that she appeals to the real hip-hop heads, a factor that's played to her benefit and distinguished her from more superficial emcees since she came into the game in the '90s.

"I think a lot of female artists are just - I hate to say it - real image-driven," she explains. "It's not even so much the artist themselves. I think a lot of times, they just have people and elements around them that don't really push them in the direction to focus on making unprecedented music. It's always about a look and then the talent can always come along after the fact. The ghostwriters can get hired. To me, that seems to be the least worry where a lot of female artists are concerned and everything is more image-driven first."

Digga's focus on her craft is evident on 'Classic,' putting her back into the game when it needs her most. But she isn't alone. Her return to the spotlight coincides with the recent resurgence of other top female emcees including Lil' Kim and Lauryn Hill, with whom Digga collaborated back when they were just getting their start in the music industry. And while she's currently focusing on promoting 'Classic,' she wouldn't rule out linking back up with L. Boogie for old time's sake.

"Nothing's impossible," she says of her old friend. "[Lauryn]'s just really getting her feet wet again. I hope this is a sign of more to come, but I would definitely [collaborate]. If there's anybody in the world I would want to work with, definitely Lauryn. Before record deals, before fame and all of that, she was the girl who lived around the corner from me, rocking the mic."

But as far as collaborations go, Digga is keeping them to a minimum with her new music, holding it down without a single guest appearance on 'Classic.' Fans can look out for an upcoming full-length collaboration with an unnamed female emcee, something that Digga claims purists will love. Before 'Classic' drops, listeners can also feed their hard drives with a free mixtape from 2DopeBoyz.com, which will serve as a taste of what to expect on her long-awaited sophomore joint. "Everybody I've played it for, before I leave their presence, it gets repeated about three, four times," she says. "Because it goes so fast. You've just got to hear it again. I guarantee it's not like any other album you're going to hear at all this year."

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