In 1993, gangsta rap was big, with Ice Cube and Dr. Dre among the many rappers scoring hits with graphic songs containing lots of boasting and posturing. The lyrics were often very derogatory toward women, who were commonly referred to as "bitch" or "ho." Queen Latifah takes a stand in this song and encourages black women to respect themselves and not accept the abuse from men who try to put them down.
This samples "Message From The Inner City," which was released by The Crusaders on their 1973 album The 2nd Crusade. Joe Sample of The Crusaders wrote "Message From The Inner City" and received a songwriter credit on "U.N.I.T.Y." along with Queen Latifah.
The lyrics, "Call yourself a Gangsta Bitch now that you saw Apache's video" refers to the underground hit "Gansta Bitch" by former Flavor Unit rapper Apache, which encouraged women to behave in the same manner as the Gangsta rappers. The term caught some traction as a some girls found it fashionable to act this way, but Latifah felt that women should not be considered a bitch or behave like a Gangsta. Apache was never able to follow up the success of his hit. Latifah had a far more memorable career.
The song won a Grammy for Best Solo Rap Performance.