Queen Latifah made history this week by becoming the first-ever female rapper to be inducted into the Library of Congress’ National Recording Registry with her classic 1989 debut album, All Hail the Queen.
Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden announced on Wednesday (April 12) that Queen Latifah is among several music icons, including Madonna (“Like a Virgin”), Mariah Carey (“All I Want for Christmas”) and others whose musical recordings will be preserved in the Library of Congress for 2023.
“The National Recording Registry preserves our history through recorded sound and reflects our nation’s diverse culture,” Hayden said in a press release. “The national library is proud to help ensure these recordings are preserved for generations to come, and we welcome the public’s input on what songs, speeches, podcasts or recorded sounds we should preserve next. We received more than 1,100 public nominations this year for recordings to add to the registry.”
The 25 recordings selected for the National Recording Registry bring the number of titles on the registry to 625, which represents a small fraction of the national library’s nearly four million recordings.
Released on Nov. 28, 1989, on Tommy Boy Records, Queen Latifah’s All Hail the Queen was a groundbreaking album that featured the New Jersey rhymer delivering forceful lyrics of female empowerment. Although she was only 19 years old at the time, Latifah rapped about issues Black women face in their communities, including poverty, domestic violence, sexism and street harassment.
The classic song “Ladies First” was a rallying call for women to assert their independence and confidence. On the braggadocious head-nodder “Wrath of My Madness,” Latifah announces her reign on the throne of hip-hop. The album also shows Latifah‘s musical diversity with hybrid songs like “Come Into My House,” in which she raps over a house groove (arguably, a precursor to the Jersey club sound) and “Dance for Me,” which shows Latifah can rock the clubs as well.
An all-around entertainer, Queen Latifah won a Grammy Award for Best Rap Solo Performance for her girl-power anthem “U.N.I.T.Y.” in 1995. The 53-year-old rhymer also starred in several films, including 1996’s Set It Off and 2017’s Girls Trip. Currently, Latifah stars and executive produces CBS’ hit series, The Equalizer.