MC Lyte…As a Rock!

What has happened to female MCs?   It really is a sad commentary on hip hop that we don’t see sisters front and center as we did back in the day.   In that heyday when women were making  inroads from every direction into  Hip Hop’s hallowed, sacred and misogynistic halls, we were blessed with some ruff, rugged and raw sisters!  And MC Lyte was the president! 


 This young girl with the hype pageboy hairdo (I really loved her hair) had a wicked, smooth, spare flow!   The Lyte was a laser, focused, spiting only the words that were necessary to get her point across!  Her style was agressive but not too aggressive–just enough.  Check her again on Cha Cha Cha doing her thing with an 89 swing!  The Lyte was shining bright amongst all MCs– male and female! 

One wonders how such a tiny lil bit of a girl could bring it so strong in this hyper aggressive, male dominated genre?  Well she told you, she’s Lyte….As a Rock!


12 Comments Add yours

  1. Val says:

    I love Lana. I wish she would make another album.

    There’s quite a few femcees out there but they never get a chance to sign with major labels. So no one ever hears their music. Which is sad.

    But hip hop is so misogynistic now that it’s really no wonder so few femcees make it.

    1. Anna Renee says:

      I think the female emcees should try to develop a collective outside of the context of the male-rap!

      I wish this kind of organizing could happen. We would need a Berry Gordon type of personality focused solely on the best female rappers–creating venues and shows and contests somehow or another.

  2. lin says:

    Lyte ( “MC Lyte’Skin” as I used to call her back duh day.. I was a lil crazy then) definitely made a significant impact on hip-hop. Her style was tuff, but not masculine, & very NYC at the time she reigned. Dug her madly. She stood strong & tall in the (almost all) Male Hip-Hop arena, & left some memorable hits to her credit. It’s difficult to say why she is no longer in vogue, other than it follows the same ole routine for women over 30 in the entertainment game. Pure, Raw, Undisputed Talent should be the only barometer for succcess & longevity… but sadly that’s rarely the case, with a few noted exceptions, like Sade.

    For a minute it seemed as if Lyte would follow her girl Latifah & branch out into the acting world. She has appeared in a few black films & episodics that I recall.

    Although she’s no longer has a record deal thankfully she is still getting work. Lyte does LOTS of voice-over, narration roles, commercials (for KFC) etc, & as a fan, you can usually detect her distinctive voice & patented verbal swagger almost immediately.

    Nice to see YOU giving her some rightful shine, my Sista!

    BTW: That’s a BEAUTIFIUL, subtle-yet-seductive photo of her!


    1. Anna Renee says:

      Yeah it’s sad how hip hop eats its young and discards its old.
      MC Lyte was so good! She’s only about 39 years old and that ought not be old!!!
      I remember seeing her in a couple of shows too and I wish that would have expanded for her because I remember thinking she had the IT factor!

      I’m glad that she is doing voice overs at least and Im sure she’s got other irons in the fire as well.

      Yes girlfriend was working it in that photo!! She’s gorgeous!

  3. Mark says:

    I like all of the songs you put up… but I was sorta hoping for my fave song of hers, ‘Stop, Look, Listen’.

    What happened to her brothers, the Audio Two? I wonder how they may have felt being far outshone by their sister? Ther prolly got over it.

    The picture of the female emcee. Now rap has been reduced to its lowest form, which is why there are no longer female MC’s doing things. The genre is so anti-positive, that nothing that represents growth and life can make inroads without eventually becoming blackend.

    The few female MC’s I have heard, like the girl from England, Lady Sovereign, are ruff seemingly for the sake of being rough. Not saying that they aren’t good, but trying to compete with the boys on the boys turf is a losing battle.

    Finally, perhaps it is a mark of women having too much pride to identify with such negativity from one of their own. That is why I fell off the rap bandwagon in the mid-90’s. I grew up in Detroit and had to duck and dodge all the crap folks were rapping about. Why do I need to shell out $15 bucks to buy a cd and listen to that mess for? Not to mention the artists like Soulja Boy who has the most inane lyrics ever…

    … where is a Tribe Called Quest when you need them..? Monie Love done got educated and a family… where are the real MC’s??

    1. Anna Renee says:

      Check again, I put it on for you!

      It is a shame how Hip Hop has been hijacked!!! The 90s was the time of hip hop becoming sophisticated and too visible to those who wanted to cannibalize it. And that’s exactly what happened.
      But there is a small pulse that’s detectable. If one wants to put in the work, some real hip hop can be found on Youtube by those true new soldiers putting in work to keep it alive.

      I think women would need to create a collective of female emcees to generate some power and bring it to someone like Queen Latifah to bring light to it.
      I wish the Queen was doing something like this to nurture female MCs in a proper environment to develop their talents. It takes some innovation.

  4. Jason says:

    These songs transport me back to Brooklyn in the late eighties. I remember my man Olu telling me about this female emcee ( (they were both from East Flatbush) and how dope she was and that turned out to be MC lyte.

    My first taste of Lyte was I Cram to Understand U (Sam), but the song that sold me was Paper Thin. I remember thinking her voice and that guitar riff in the song was dope. She definitely set the bar high for for female emcees. I even remember seeing Lyte, Milk and Giz in the burgandy Jettas on Myrtle Ave. back in the day LOL.

    Hip Hop is a male dominated game and nowadays, it seems if a female emcee is not creating music that exploits her sexuality then she doesn’t last long. A dope emcee is a dope emcee. Period. Lyte did a song with Masta Ace not to long ago and she is still dope, the flow is still intact and everytime.

    Anna do you remember the beef between Lyte and Antoinette? Yeah, this post made me nostalgic. LOL.

    She has my vote for female GOAT!

  5. Villager says:

    I truly appreciate you and your blog for sharing this post about MC Lyte. I agree that she is one of the powerful voices who helped to shape hip-hop music when it was first being formed back in the day.

    I hope that she is doing well in whatever venture she is currently engaged in!

    peace, Villager

  6. Ann says:

    Anna I listen to an interview MC Lyte did on NPR tell me more back in the summer….she talked about how the game have change from postive to this image of sex…..gone are the days of the likes of what I grew up on MC Lyte sad to say.

  7. Anna Renee says:

    @Villager. Thanks for the mad props and the links on your Krush Groove! MC Lyte was the jam! What more can I say?

    @Ann. That sounds interesting. I gonna try to find that interview on NPR, Im very interested.
    It is sad that it’s comes to this, but don’t feel completely sad because there are some youth far, far underground who are trying to bring life once again to hip hop! They are on Youtube and many of them are very very positive without all the image of sex and violence! I posted on one young woman named Georgia Ann Muldrow. She’s very positive and is a producer and have actually worked with Erykah Badu! She’s multi-talented and she’s an entrepreneur–keeping control of the entire thing along with her husband/boyfriend (I don’t know which).

    There are some youngster coming up!

  8. Reggie says:

    She had a really nice sound. I hate to beat a dead horse, but it’s really hard to listen to this kind of music and think about today’s music…….it’s just not even close.

    1. Anna Renee says:

      You’re not alone in making comparisons Reggie! Everytime I go on Youtube and find these artists, invariably commenters make the same comparisons!
      It’s interesting when they are youngsters, as they feel duped by what passes for hiphop these days compared to what their parents had! Can’t say that I blame them.

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