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Queen Latifah’s 1989 Debut Album Just Made History

Queen Latifah All Hail the Queen album cover.

Queen Latifah has always lived up to her name by showing off her multitude of talents in the music, acting, and beauty worlds, and now, thanks to the Library of Congress, another jewel has been added to her crown as she’s just become the first female rapper to have her music inducted into the National Recording Registry.

The album being archived is Latifah’s debut album, All Hail The Queen, which she recorded when she was just 19 years old. The album peaked at number six on the Billboard Top Hip Hop/R&B chart and was included in The Source’s “100 Best Albums” list. It’s truly a cornerstone of the genre of rap, as Latifah helped pave the way for the female rappers who came after her like Lil’ Kim, Missy Elliot, and Nicki Minaj.

According to NPR, the Library of Congress explained why they chose Latifah’s album for their registry, saying, “Her album showed rap could cross genres including reggae, hip-hop, house and jazz — while also opening opportunities for other female rappers.” The only other Black female artist whose album was also inducted into the registry was Lauryn Hill’s debut album The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill, but it was not chosen solely for the rap/hip hop category. When her album was chosen to be added to the registry in 2015, the Library of Congress put out an official statement in which they referred to the record as a “breakthrough recording that fuses soul, rhythm and blues, rap and reggae.”

While this is a monumental moment for Latifah that she deserves (and then some), the rest of this year’s inductees have also made history in their own right. The original 1986 theme for the game Super Mario Bros. was selected for the registry, making it the first video game track to be inducted. The Library of Congress has also fully cemented Mariah Carey as the Queen of Christmas, as her smash hit “All I Want For Christmas Is You” was chosen. And, in a huge middle finger move to every Madonna hater, the singer’s sophomore album, Like a Virgin, was also selected, which is absolutely hilarious as Madonna was told her performance of title song at the 1984 MTV Video Music Awards would “break her career.”

Also, in another history-making moment for a marginalized group in music, Daddy Yankee’s iconic banger “Gasolina” was inducted into the registry this year, making it the first reggaeton song in history to be chosen. Yankee released “Gasolina” as the lead single from his third studio album Barrio Fino and, according to NBC, it “marked the first time a reggaeton album debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard Top Latin Albums chart.” The music video for the song has over 83 million views on YouTube, but as a Puerto Rican myself, I can assure you that the song has been played over 100 billion times at parades, backyard barbecues, birthday parties, and by anyone who had those “Reggaeton Must Haves” CD collections.

Congrats to all the inductees!

(featured image: Tommy Boy)

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Kayla Harrington (she/her) is a freelance writer who has been working in digital media since 2017, starting at Mashable before moving to BuzzFeed and now here at The Mary Sue. She specializes in Marvel (Wanda Maximoff did nothing wrong!), pop culture, and politics. When she's not writing or lurking on TikTok, you can find Kayla reading the many unread books on her shelves or forcing her friends to watch some random video she found. She's also a world class chef (according to her wife) and loves to try any recipe she can find.