Anyone who loves hip-hop, especially the early years of the genre, has to pay homage to one of our most prominent pioneering lady lyricists, MC Lyte. We originally met several years ago at a philanthropic function, and caught up (<–from the photo) this year as she was presenting at the Atlanta stop of the AT&T 28 Days campaign. I had not yet had the pleasure of enJOYing her as a speaker, but just as with her music, she completely moved the crowd with knowledge, stories from her journey and uplifting wisdom.
Born Lana Michelle, legendary icon, DJ, voice over talent, actress, entertainer, inspirational speaker and entrepreneur, MC Lyte is still making the crowds move across the globe. She first appeared on the scene in 1988 with her debut album Lyte As A Rock. At the tender age of 17, she began schooling other MC’s in the art of rhyme, and since that time she has proven that greatness always prevails with a total of ten albums (9 plus a “GREATEST HITS”) to her credit. Lyte is the FIRST rap artist ever to perform at New York’s historic Carnegie Hall and the FIRST female rapper to ever receive a gold single. MC LYTE’s inspiring 1993 classic anthem, “Ruffneck,” was nominated for a Grammy for Best Rap Single. In fact, she was the FIRST female solo rapper ever nominated for a Grammy! Ten years later, her 2003 album “Undaground Heat vol.1”, hosted by Jamie Foxx, garnered this rap legend her second career Grammy nomination. It was released on her own label SGI/CMM. The single “Ride Wit Me” also received a BET Award nomination for Best Female Rap Performance. In 2006, MC Lyte became the first solo female rapper to be honored/inducted on VH-1’s HIPHOP HONORS.
Lyte serves as a beautiful example that females can rock the mic just as good, and oftentimes, even better than men. Lyte’s lyrical skills have also been tapped into by Hollywood. She co-wrote and performed the television theme songs for Fox’s “Dark Angel” and BET’s “Holla.”
A pioneer in the industry, MC Lyte opened the door for future female Hip Hop artists by daring to do what had never been done while doing something she loved. A role model to women and respected by men everywhere, Lyte never compromises who she is and consistently displays that a woman can turn heads fully clothed! Whenever possible, she enjoys traveling across the nation to use her expertise and story of success to motivate others to take ownership of the world around them while striving to be the best they can possibly be.
MC Lyte founded Hip Hop Sisters Network, which includes Hip Hop Sisters Artistry, providing a platform for female artists to showcase their talents in an environment of encouragement and respect, as well as Hip Hop Sisters Foundation, which is a non-profit charity that promotes positive images of women of ethnic diversity by bringing together leaders from the world of Hip Hop, the entertainment industry, and the corporate world. HHS provides national and international support to women and youth around the globe on the topics of: Cultural Issues; Financial Empowerment; Health and Wellness; Mentorship; and Educational Opportunities. Advisory board members include Faith Evans, Ledisi, Jada Pinkett Smith, Chilli, Russell Simmons, Cheryl “Salt” James, Malinda Williams, Kelly Price, Malcolm Jamal Warner, Kenny Lattimore, Melanie Fiona and Dr. Benjamin Chavis.
Author of “Unstoppable: Igniting the Power Within to Achieve Your Greatest Potential,” Lyte is also very active in many social projects, including anti-violence campaigns and Rock the Vote. MC Lyte is the presiding President of the Los Angeles Chapter of the Recording Academy, co-host of the nationally syndicated Café Mocha radio show, and she is also a proud honorary member of Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, Inc.
MC Lyte, your mic still sounds nice…cheers!
Follow MC Lyte on Twitter @MCLyte
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