Most fans remember what it felt like to hear music as strange as Missy Elliott's, to discover the graphic poetry of Lil' Kim, or to experience MC Lyte. Cover art for "The Motherlode: 100+ Women Who Made Hip-Hop" by Clover Hope. But along with those recognizable names were generations of more unacknowledged women conceiving, shaping, and fueling an entire culture, from its origin story in the '70s to today. A sweeping narrative of hip-hop can be told through them: of its breakthroughs and golden eras, trends, and tragedies. You (should) know about Queen Latifah, Yo-Yo, Foxy Brown, Eve. But there were acts like MC Hammer's trio of rapping dancers, Oaktown's 357, and the provocative West Coast duo Bytches With Problems. The Sequence helped put rap on the literal map by putting it on a physical record. And it was J.J. Fad and their chipper pop"Supersonic" that helped fund Eazy-E's Ruthless Records, home of N.W.A. Here are five unsung female musical acts highlighted in my book, "The Motherlode: 100+ Women Who Made Hip-Hop."

Sheri Sher, a founding member of Mercedes Ladies, appeared on HBO Max's "On The Record." Who They Are: Formed in the summer of 1979, Mercedes Ladies had the typical makeup of a young hip-hop crew: They were teens, primarily from single-parent households, with dreams of being local celebrities. It started with roughly six members, including MCs (Tracey Tee, Zina Zee, Sheri Sher, and Eve-a-Def), DJs (Baby D and RD Smiley), and dancers. Membership ballooned to up to 21 affiliates at one point, according to Sher, as what started as a tight-knit group turned into a legitimate clique. In 2008, Sher published "Mercedes Ladies," a novel about the group, based on their true story. Listen: Sheri Sher and three other Mercedes Ladies members sing background on MC Donald Dee's "Don's Groove," a chanty, old-school record, produced by DJ Grandmaster Flash

The Sequence in their music video for "Simon Says." Never Forget: That's them singing on Dr. Dre's 1995 song "Keep Their Heads Ringin Who They Are: The three members of the Sequence — Angela "Angie B" Stone, Gwendolyn "Blondy" Chisholm, and Cheryl "The Pearl" Cook — grew up in Columbia, South Carolina, where they sang in church together and were part of a high school cheer team. While signed to Sugar Hill Records, they became the first female rap act to release a physical record, along with three albums: "Sugar Hill Presents the Sequence" (1980), "The Sequence" (1982), and "The Sequence Party" (1983). Listen: "Funk You Up," the Sequence's biggest record, is a bona fide party jam with a snap-and-bounce rhythm that works best at a disco or skate rink

Sparky D attends the "Roxanne Roxanne" New York Premiere at SVA Theater on March 19, 2018 in New York City. Never Forget: Her claim to fame is a diss record released in response to Roxanne Shanté's "Roxanne's Revenge." Who She Is: Sparky D (Doreen C. Broadnax) was born and raised in Brownsville, Brooklyn, and was influenced by early MCs like MC Sha-Rock, Pebblee Poo, and Dimples D. She had dreams of starring in the Broadway musical "West Side Story" when she was younger and told her mother, "If I'm not a star by 20, I promise I'll go to school and be a doctor." She released her album "This Is Sparky D's World" in 1988, and her battle against Roxanne Shanté in the mid-80s has gone down in history as the earliest major rap beef between female MCs. Listen: Sparky D drops antagonistic rhymes to a disco beat on her 1988 single "Throwdown."

Rappers MC JB, Stacy Phillips, and Baby D from J.J. Fad poses for photos at the Mecca Arena in Milwaukee, Wisconsin in June 1989. Never Forget: J.J. Fad was among the acts nominated in the first-ever Grammys' rap category for Best Rap Performance in 1989. Who They Are: At 19 years old, Juana Sperling held auditions at her mother's house in Rialto, California, to form a girl group. The original J.J. Fad consisted of five members whose initials spelled J.J. Fad, including Juana and her best friend's cousin, Baby D. Their song "Supersonic" got them a record deal with N.W.A member Eazy-E under his label, Ruthless Records, under which they released two albums and became crossover sensations who appealed to a broad, pop audience. Listen: "Supersonic" kicks off with an acoustic rap over beatboxing, then turns into a jazzercise rhythm with verses about J.J. Fad's devastation on the mic. It ends with a tongue-twisting rap, which Eminem later paid homage to in his 2013 single "Rap God."

Rappers Tanisha Michele Morgan and Lyndah McCaskill of B.W.P. (also known as Bytches With Problems) pose for photos at George's Music Room in Chicago, Illinois in July 1991. Never Forget: Hype Williams's first-known credited music video as a director is BWP's "We Want Money." Who They Are: BWP's two members, Lyndah McCaskill (from Queens, New York) and Tanisha Michele Morgan (from Newark, New Jersey), built a reputation as controversial figures in the spirit of their counterparts N.W.A. In addition to the attention-grabbing appearances, BWP had the music to back up their positions as provocateurs. "The Bytches," their 1991 debut album, was radically unfiltered and often progressive. The duo promotedfreedom, wrote a song about their periods, and had flagrant song titles like "F a Man" and "Is the P Still Good?" They released two albums, 1991's "The Bytches" and 1993's "Life's a B before gracefully bowing out of rap. LISTEN: Their 1990 single "Two Minute Brother" could be seen as an unofficial precursor to Missy Elliott's future hit "One Minute Man."