In 1989, 19-year-old Queen Latifah found herself in a position of power, so to speak. The Newark, N.J., native dropped her debut album, 'All Hail the Queen,' on Tommy Boy Records right at the cusp of rap taking off on the commercial scene.

Her single, 'Ladies First,' featuring Monie Love was an instant hit -- especially among young girls in awe of the Queen's strong presence in an industry full of guys. Although MC Lyte had dropped her debut album just the year before, it was Latifah who took hip-hop even further for years after.

Her third album, 1993's 'Black Reign,' proved to be the most successful of her four hip-hop LPs, producing chart-toppers such as 'U.N.I.T.Y.' and 'Just Another Day.' Queen Latifah's legendary status can be credited to her willingness to diversify and move beyond what's expected. Since her humble beginnings, she's starred in sitcoms ('Living Single') and movies ('Chicago,' 'Set It Off'), signed endorsement deals with mainstream brands and released jazz albums. All hail the queen indeed.

Watch Queen Latifah's 'U.N.I.T.Y.' Video

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