MC Lyte Lyte As A Rock First Priority Music, 1988
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MC Lyte Lyte As A Rock First Priority Music, 1988

There is no question that Hip Hop has always been a culture dominated by male energy. From the dee-jaying to the emceeing, the female mystic was often times overshadowed by the strong presence of the b-boys. We witnessed some female force with the emergence of Lady B, Sha-Rock and Salt-N-Pepa amid others but 1988 marked the year the b-girls cemented their stake in the Hip Hop world.

Track Listing:

  1. Lyte vs. Vanna Whyte
  2. Lyte as a Rock
  3. I Am Woman
  4. MC Lyte Likes Swingin’
  5. 10% Dis
  6. Paper Thin
  7. Lyte Thee MC
  8. I Cram to Understand U
  9. Kickin’ 4 Brooklyn
  10. Don’t Cry Big Girls

MC Lyte dropped a lyrical bombshell during Hip Hop’s prime with her debut album, Lyte As A Rock. With a lyrical prowess that destroyed any beat in her path, Lyte was by far the most sassy, boisterous, confrontational femcee that could annihilate her competition with one line.

Immediately when you stepped into the ring with Lyte, she hit you with lyrical jabs straight to the dome. On her track “I Cram To Understand You,” which led to her recording contract, Lyte put an interesting spin on a tale of a boyfriend whom she discovered was addicted to drugs. Everyone’s favorite b-girl put a face to an epidemic that was heavy on the country’s mind making it an eye opening five minutes of America’s reality.

MC Lyte continued on her path of emcee domination by tearing into her cheating boyfriend like Redman at a big girl conference on the infectious, “Paper Thin.” From beginning to end, she made any man think twice with lyrical jabs reminiscent of Mike Tyson’s glorious days while setting parameters as a woman that demanded respect. To add insult to injury, the Earth Wind and Fire sample that echoed in the backdrop was almost an antagonist to a track that resonated as an anthem for powerful women.

Although Lyte represented for the ladies to the fullest, she had no problem with getting at a fellow b-girl when they got out of line. On “10% Dis,” Lyte took battling to another level by pouncing on Antoinette with lyrics of vehemence. The title alone showed her confidence and proved she felt no need to reach one-hundred percent to be victorious. Lyte unequivocally denounced her rival’s credibility with accusations of thievery and in the same breath encouraged her to meet in the Hip Hop arena and be defeated. Even though the rivalry continued to her next album, MC Lyte weakened Antoinette’s reign and when Lyte told her to “Shut The Eff Up! (Hoe) on her second album Eyes On This, she clearly got the message.

Another standout song on the album was the title track. Her brother Milk Dee and producer King of Chill introduced the genius of MC Lyte followed by her attacking the track with pure vengeance. “Lyte As A Rock truly displayed MC Lyte’s knack for talking trash but more importantly backing it up with the skill to dominate. Lyte rode the simplistic beat like a pro making her a “lyrical scholar and leader of the Hip Hop followers.” 

Other songs like, “Kickin’ 4 Brooklyn” and “MC Lyte Likes Swingin” were also notable tracks that made for a good debut but there were some dull moments that brought down the intensity. “Lyte vs. Vanna Whyte” was a feeble introduction while “Don’t Cry Big Girl’s” showcased her amazing flow but had a mediocre beat that got lost over Lyte’s distinctive voice and confrontational lyrics. 

Hip Hop has always had its share of shit talkers but MC Lyte was one of the best to do it. She ushered in a new class of female emcee and did not compromise production or lyrical savvy to deliver. She matched her male competitors and often times exceeded their skill. Lyte shut the industry down by abolishing the mantra that she had to be labeled as a great female rapper when she was simply a dope emcee who happened to wear a bra. 

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