MC Lyte Biography

Lana Moorer, 11 October 1970, Queens, New York City, New York, USA, but raised in Brooklyn. The daughter of First Priority boss Nat Robinson, and sister to the Audio Two brothers, Lyte began her career in fine style with the 45 ‘I Cram To Understand U (Sam)’, released when she was still a teenager. The story told of personal deceit in a relationship, the narrator unable to compete for her boyfriend’s attentions with his new mistress - crack. It was delivered with such force that it still has few peers in terms of adult, hardcore female rap. Lyte has gone on to underscore her patent scouring wit, often referring to the out of control egos of her male counterparts, with synthesizer and funk beats coalescing beneath. Her 1988 debut album additionally sampled Ray Charles, Helen Reddy and the Four Seasons. Her songs are populated by fully realised characters, though its an unfortunate truism that they often wind up dead (via AIDS, lung cancer, violence or drugs). Despite the contributions of Grand Puba to Eyes On This, there was a lack of lyrical progression which limited its appeal. Ain’t No Other included attacks on fellow rappers Roxanne Shanté (‘Steady F. King’) and an answer record to Apache’s ‘Gangsta Bitch’ (‘Ruffneck’, which would go gold when released on single). Rap legend KRS-One introduced the tracks in a pseudo ragga-style. Like Queen Latifah and others before her, Lyte founded her own management company, Dupe The Moon Productions, which also handles Isis and Brooklyn rappers Born In Hell. After an extended hiatus, Lyte returned in 1996 with the US Top 10 hit single ‘Keep On, Keepin’ On’, a collaboration with Xscape taken from the soundtrack of Sunset Park. The Diana Ross -sampling hit single ‘Cold Rock A Party’ was fairly unreflective of the more mature style evident on Bad As I Wanna Be and its attendant remix album, Badder Than B-Fore. In 1998, Lyte celebrated a remarkable 10 years on the rap scene with Seven & Seven. It proved to be her final release for EastWest, with subsequent albums appearing on independent labels.

Source: The Encyclopedia of Popular Music by Colin Larkin. Licensed from Muze.