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Soon after the release of her brothers' debut, "What More Can I Say?", the sister to the Gizmo and Milk D (better known Audio Two), MC Lyte, came out with her first offering. in 1988. The short album is known to be a classic due to the groundbreaking nature of a female MC coming through with a successful Hip Hop recoridng.
1. "Lyte vs. Vanna White" (Intro)
2. "Lyte As A Rock"
The artist explains the meaning behind her name to be "MC Lyte As A Rock", and justifies this with some heav, hardcore rhymes to display exactly how she puts this into action. You have to enjoy the way in which the DJ takes control of the production, and cuts her voice for effective hooks. When going back, you notice how Golden Age yechniques are being brought back through things like Houston's Chopped & Screwed scene.
3. "I Am Woman"
At first, I coudn't say that I thought much to this one, to me it was all about the funky beat, however after a while, and listening through it again had me uncover some amazing flows by the artist, showing that she isn't just a hype artists; she has some quality within her to actually come up with an original, and high standard work.
4. "MC Lyte Likes Swingin'"
You come into a similar situation in this one as you did in the one before it as initally, its not all that clear how strong things are. However, in this oneI felt that the standard of thing was a lot higher as she worked very well to make the jazzy backing work with the style which she had developed. Despite sunding to be like part rap at times, Lyte keps things in check by reverting to hardcore rhymes as quickly as when she stopped them.
5. "10% Dis"
To listeners who are more in tune with a time closer to today, you may recognise the hook as one which is used in 2Pac's "Hit 'Em up", by E.D.I. Mean, showing how well-respected this artists work was to even Gangsta Rappers of the peak period for the genre (the mid-nineties). She lends from her brothers' massiver hit, "Top Billin'" for the beats, and it seems to work very well for her, without soudning like a struggled effort.
6. "Paper Thin"
Here is a classic cut from the artist, and probably her most well-known one from her. It had been adapted by Missy Elliot in some work by Timbabland a while back. Although I wouldn't say it is the best one for me, it definately stands out as one with a high standard of lyricism put forth. All of these big lines are acknowledged by "Oooohhs" as backing, in order to create a street atmosphere as she does the thing.
7. "Lyte Thee MC"
For me, this is the best material in the whole album.It has the MC show off exactly why she got such a high rep in the business as she comes up with a raw Hip Hop cut to display how the underground East coast scene was going to develop from this point to around the middle of the nineties. This one gives no room for caual fans, it is hardcore stuff from her, and a straight head-bopper.
8. "I Cram To Understand U"
I woudln't have expected a track about a woman's quest to understand what a potential lover is thingking, to be a great track, but it makes for just this as she comes up with inventive lines regarding the matter. It is one of very few tracks which have a clear focus, and she seems to work well with this single aim, rather than the freedom of taking the rhymes wherever her head is.
9. "Kickin' 4 Brooklyn"
On some very minimalistic production, where Lyte herself simply creates the bass with a little "boom" of bass, you get her goign for somehardcore BK stuff to represnt her ends of New York, and the raw sound which has emmerged in the location. She is highly effective at doing what she does, and bigs up the place to the max.
10. "Don't Cry Big Girls"
To end things off, you get an off-beat tune, in which MC Lyte takes on some typical beats to match the time when it came out. It is a jumpy one, and isn't as good as a lot of the others you get on here, which is a shame for the end of it.
I can see why this groundbreaking work is so respected in the Hip hop world. Dspite the fact there are few female now, this one's significance can't really be seen as well when coming from someone who has grown with a few around Whereas at the time only Monie Love and Queen Latifah were aroudn (but even then they hadn't got to a wide audience yet, without debut albums). I have to say that I saw past her gender throughout, and recognised a Audio two-esque style which I can't help but love. If you liked what was going on in the late eighties for Hip Hop (on the East Coast), this is for you.
Disc #1 Tracklisting
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