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5 Questions With ... MC Lyte
(A portion of the proceeds from The Recording Academy Los Angeles Chapter's GRAMMY Block Party benefitted PATH, a Los Angeles-based organization dedicated to ending homelessness for individuals, families and communities.)
GRAMMY-nominated artist and Recording Academy Los Angeles Chapter President MC Lyte was the recent guest for an installment of The Academy's 5 Questions With … series. Held during the Los Angeles Chapter's GRAMMY Block Party at The Academy's headquarters in Santa Monica, Calif., Lyte discussed sexism in hip-hop, songwriting, the first time she heard her music on the radio, and the importance of Recording Academy membership, among other topics.
"No, I don't think [things] have changed," said Lyte of the male-dominated hip-hop world. "I think it takes the male MC stepping out in front and saying it's OK publicly to appreciate a woman."
Born in Brooklyn, N.Y., Lyte is one of the pioneering female rappers who helped set the stage for artists such as GRAMMY winners Queen Latifah and Missy Elliott. She began rhyming at age 12 and subsequently recorded "I Cram To Understand U," which landed her a recording deal with First Priority Music. In 1988 Lyte released her debut full-length album, Lyte As A Rock, which peaked in the Top 50 on Billboard's Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart. Eyes On This followed in 1989, peaking at No. 6 on the Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart and spawning the No. 1 rap single "Cha Cha Cha." An R&B-focused album, 1991's Act Like You Know, but in 1993 Lyte returned to her rap roots with Ain't No Other, which earned a GRAMMY nomination for Best Rap Solo Performance for the Billboard Hot 100 Top 40 hit "Ruffneck." The single was certified gold, marking the first for a female rap artist.
Lyte released Bad As I Wanna B in 1996 featuring "Cold Rock A Party," a duet with Elliot that peaked at No. 11 on the Billboard Hot 100. Seven & Seven followed in 1998, including guest appearances by Elliot and LL Cool J, among others. In 2003 Lyte released Da Undaground Heat, Vol. 1, resulting in a second GRAMMY nomination for Best Rap Solo Performance for "Ride Wit Me." Lyte currently serves as the head of music at DuBose/Liles Entertainment and executive vice president for DuBose Music Group.
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