Friday, September 12, 2014

Hip Hop Nostalgia 101, Session 39: A 25 Year Retrospective, MC Lyte's "Eyes On This" (1989)

After blessing us with her 1987 debut "Lyte As A Rock", MC Lyte returned in 89 to bless us once again with her sophomore album, "Eyes On This".


Release date: September 12, 1989




1. Cha Cha Cha
Produced By King Of Chill

Sample check


"Kickin cha cha cha, to this Mardi Gras/I'm the dopest female that you heard thus far"


Man, Ms. Lyte definitely "did her thing wit an 89 swing", and that opening line is one of the most memorable lines ever in my opinion. Simply put, this has always been and always will be a classic, my favorite song from Lyte, and a clear testament as to why I still refer to her as the greatest femcee of all time. Timeless.
Grade- A+



2. Slave 2 The Rhythm
Produced By Pee MD and DJ Doc

Lyrically, Lyte was aggressive yet confident throughout this one, throwing out punchlines left and right to any and all of her competition.
Grade- B+


3. Cappucino
Produced By Marley Marl

Sample check


Another classic right here which finds Lyte showcasing her storytelling skills. She decides to take a trip to the West side of town (Midtown) for "some of the best cappucino out there", but unfortunately she gets caught up in the midst of a shoot out and is shot in the process. And for the most creative part of the song, in the "after/past life", she questions all of this ("why oh why did I need cappucino?"), all the while shedding light on the dangers of being involved with drugs and drunk driving. Furthermore, in the middle of the song, she states it was a dream all along, confirmed by the way she screamed when she woke up, lol. Simple yet incredibly effective.
*Grade- A+



4. Stop, Look, Listen
Produced By King Of Chill

"Wanna battle me? Now that's strange behavior/Drink and drive, yeah, you're probably safer"


A very good, apply titled song here and when Lyte was on the mic or TV, that's all you had to do: stop, look, and listen.
*Grade- B+


5. Throwin' Words At U
Produced By Audio Two

Lyte is aggressive again here, but still calm and nice with it. Can't do nothing but enjoy this one.
Grade- A



6. Not Wit' A Dealer
Produced By Audio Two

Lyte has another story to tell, complete with a message. She tries to talk her friend Cecilla out of being involved with a drug dealer, but to no avail. Cecilla is naive and trusting, thinking this man named Born would give her the world, but the message is clear: being with someone living the drug dealing lifestyle can have grave repercussions, which is what unfortunately happens. Right when Cecilla is about to apparently call it quits, she heads out only run into a sea of gunfire, along with Born. Lyte ends this song by saying "see why it pays to be choosy"? So powerful and it's something that today's generation needs to hear.
Grade- A+



7. Survival Of The Fittest (Remix)
Produced By King Of Chill
 
Good song, nothing more or less. It almost comes off like a freestyle, a dope one too.
*Grade- B


8. Shut The Eff Up! (Hoe)
Produced By Audio Two

"And being that you are not wise enough to do it on your own/The ones that write your rhymes might as well hold your microphone!"


Wow, and just like that, this was the final nail in the hip hop career of one Antoinette after this classic diss song. Lyte lyrically held nothing back, which is a complete understatement. She even said "do not take shit till you write your own rhymes". Wow. As far as something from a female MC/femcee goes, this is the best diss song ever.
*Grade- A+



9. I Am The Lyte
Produced By Grand Puba Mazwell

To this day, I bet most people didn't/don't know that it was Brand Nubian's own Grand Puba who was behind the boards on this banger. Make no mistake about it, this was Lyte in all her lyrical glory.
*Grade- A+



10. Rhyme Hangover
Produced By King Of Chill

The dopeness of this album continues with this somewhat brief, but VERY good song.
*Grade- B+


11. Funky Song
Produced By Grand Puba Maxwell

Mr. Puba did it again but providing Ms. Lyte with another banger. A "funky song" indeed.
*Grade- A+



12. Please Understand
Produced By Audio Two

I like this one right here, lol. Lyte talks about her adventures, if you will, with Tommy, Dave, and Corey. All 3 of these men seemingly try to take advantage of Lyte, but not only is she clearly many steps ahead, she proves she's not the average woman. These dudes find out the hard way, lol.
Grade- A


13. K-Rocks Housin'
Produced By Audio Two

"Eyes On This" closes with an instrumental showcasing the skills of Audio Two.



Well there you have it, the second straight classic album from MC Lyte, definitely her best album ever. Lyrically, she fired on all cylinders (over very good production) and got better in the process. Again she proved that a female MC could rock the mic as well as their male counterparts and she did it SO well at the time. An outstanding album, definitely in the top 5 best albums made by a female MC (or "femcee" as I call it). Thanks for this classic Ms. Lyte!!!


Final Grade- A+

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