33 Women Music Critics You Need to Read

Vivien Goldman

New York University hired her as an Adjunct Professor of Punk and Reggae, and it’s not hard to see why. In addition to chronicling the early punk movement for NME and Melody Maker, she was also a recording artist (working with Johnny Lydon, the Flying Lizards and Massive Attack), a biographer of Bob Marley (including 2006’s Book of Exodus), and the author of a book on Jamaican cooking. Did we mention that at a book store appearance for one of her Marley tomes, she brought some nyabinghi (ceremonial Rasta) drummers along to accompany her and told some hilarious and moving stories about Bob himself? That’s not even mentioning her on-going journalism career, with includes pieces for Village Voice (including this moving tribute to Poly Styrene) and The New York Times, and a column at BBC America, where she was rightfully known as “the punk professor.” You can find an extended version of her life and career at her website.

Leah Greenblatt

After her initial work in the post-grunge climate of the Northwest at The Stranger and Seattle Weekly (where she served as associate editor), Greenblatt made her way out east in the last decade, starting with Time Out New York and then settling into a staff writing post at Entertainment Weekly, where she has spent over three years as senior music critic and became the music editor in March. Part of her specialty there has included tributes to late musicians, including punks, singer-songwriters, and bluesmen, as well as interviews (including a recent sharp one with Jack White), overviews, reviews, and news — pretty much covering the whole scribe spectrum.

dream hampton

Noted as “your favorite rapper’s favorite writer,” hampton was the first female editor for The Source, with her byline also appearing in Vibe, Essence, Harper’s BazaarSpin, and the Village Voice, among other places. She was also good friends with one Christopher Wallace (aka Notorious B.I.G.), later producing an Emmy-Award winning documentary on him. More recently, she was the co-author/ghost writer for Jay-Z’s Decoded and director of hip-hop doc Black August. One of the articles that she’s most proud of is her recent Vibe cover story on J-Hova, and it’s easy to see why: Too few writers in any genre use the medium as effectively and wisely as she does. Also check her wonderfully designed website.