Saturday, December 14, 2013

Hip Hop Nostalgia 101, Session 21: MC Lyte - Lyte As A Rock (1988)

After Salt N Pepa made hip hop history in 1987 with their classic debut "Hot, Cool & Vicious", MC Lyte made history herself, by becoming the first female MC to release a solo album. Like SNP before her, Ms. Lyte wanted to make a name for herself in an already male dominated industry, and respectively she was different from SNP, focusing more on her lyrical skills on the mic and then some. So without further delay, class is in session for the 21st edition of Hip Hop Nostalgia with the one and only MC Lyte!


Release date- September 17, 1988





1. Lyte vs. Vanna White
Produced By: Alliance

This was a rather interesting opener to start things, Wheel Of Fortune style to introduce the L-Y-T-E.
Grade- B


2. Lyte As A Rock
Produced By: Audio Two


This is the first of 5 songs produced by Audio Two (Lyte's two older brothers), who also released their debut album in 88, "What More Can I Say", which featured the CLASSIC song "Top Billin". Regarding this song, she may have been "lyte as a rock" on the surface, but on the mic, she was never to be taken lightly.
Grade- B


3. I am Woman
Produced By: King of Chill

  Ms. Lyte had no problem professing womanly ways (without overdoing it) all the while still remaining in top hip hop form with her words and style.
Grade- B


4. MC Lyte Likes Swingin
Produced By: Prince Paul

Stetsasonic's Prince Paul provided a dope beat for Ms. Lyte to rock on, very good all around.
Grade- B+


5. 10% Dis
Produced By: Audio Two

"Hot damn hoe, here we go again!"

"Beat biter, dope style taker/Tell you to ya face you ain't nothin but a faker"

Man, those were fighting words right there, lol. Lyte definitely went in on MC Antoinette, who did blatantly jack Audio Two's "Top Billin" instrumental for her single "I Got An Attitude". Lyte pulled no punches here and basically you can say Antoinette became a footnote in hip hop history after this song, the first diss record by a solo female MC.
Grade- A+


6. Paper Thin
Produced By: King of Chill

  Straight classic right here featuring some of Lyte's best rhymes, along with "10% Dis". I also liked the "Ooohhhs" coming from the guys in the background after she says something mind blowin. Nice.
Grade- A+


7. Lyte Thee MC
Produced By: Alliance

 Lyte is in full command on this apply titled song.
Grade- B


8. I Cram To Understand U (Sam)
Produced By: Audio Two

  In a hilariously dope way, Lyte talks about her dealings with the man named Sam. There were quite a few songs like this in the 80s and Lyte's own twist is a very good one.
Grade- A+


9. Kickin 4 Brooklyn
Produced By: Audio Two

"Kick this one here for me and my DJ!"

There's nothing like a song putting your hometown on the map and this was a dope one for Brooklyn!
Grade- B+


10. Don't Cry Big Girls
Produced By: Audio Two

 Certainly an apply titled closer to Lyte's debut album.
Grade- B



For a debut album, this was very good. You could definitely tell MC Lyte was at the beginning stages of her career, she sounded very natural and inspired on the mic, and trust me things would get better from here. Although the album is largely very good, it's best known for "10% Dis", "Paper Thin" and "I Cram To Understand U (Sam)". Mad props and respect to MC Lyte for setting the standard for all female MCs to follow.


Final Grade- B+        

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