Formed at Evergreen College, Kathleen Hanna, Kathi Wilcox and Tobi Vail began working together on a fanzine (see also zine) called Bikini Kill, and, with the addition of Billy Karren on guitar, formed a band of the same name. Hanna, a former stripper, wrote most of the band's songs and encouraged a female-centered environment at their shows.
After an independent demo cassette, Revolution Girl Style Now, Bikini Kill released The Bikini Kill EP on the indie label Kill Rock Stars. Produced by Ian MacKaye of Fugazi, the album began to establish the band's audience. In 1992 (see 1992 in music), Bikini Kill began working with Huggy Bear, releasing several joint recordings together (the most well-known of which is Yeah Yeah Yeah Yeah/Our Troubled Youth) and touring the UK. By the following year, riot grrl's limited mainstream success was peaking and Bikini Kill were seen as leaders of the movement. They soon began working with Joan Jett, an 80s metal musician whom Hanna described as an early example of riot grrl's aesthetics. Vail and Wilcox began songwriting on 1994 (see 1994 in music), with the release of Pussy Whipped. Their last album was Reject All American (1996, 1996 in music), and the band broke up in 1998 (see 1998 in music). Shortly before the breakup, a collection of singles released between 1996-1998, aptly titled The Singles was released.