MC Lyte

Being | 07/24/2014 | 03:09 PM EDT

MC Lyte paved the way for other female emcee's to find their way and have success in the often-sexist, male-dominated world of hip hop.

Holding the title of hip-hop's pioneer feminist, MC Lyte laid the foundation for female rappers in the male dominated industry. She became the first solo female emcee to release a full album with 1988's Lyte as a Rock and boldly addressed sexism in hip hop, paving the way for future feminist rappers such as Queen Latifah and Missy Elliott.

As a native of Brooklyn, NY, MC Lyte began rapping when she was only 12 years old. She released her first single, "I Cram to Understand U," as a teenager under First Priority Label. The success of the project led to a distribution deal with Atlantic Records and with that, MC Lyte's music career was officially born. 

By the time she was 17 years old, MC Lyte was already an established emcee and began mentoring other up and coming rappers on the art of rhyme. She released four albums between 1988 and 1993 and her fourth album, Ain't No Other, became the first to reach gold status. She also received a Grammy nomination for the album's single, "Ruffneck", making her the first female rapper to receive a nomination ever. This single was also her first top 40 pop hit. 

By the mid-90s, Lyte was a veteran in the game and highly respected by both males and female entertainers. Aside from rapping and performing, she caught the acting bug and appeared on several television shows including “Moesha” and “New York Undercover”. She also began what is now considered a successful voice over career and has voiced campaigns for several brands including the Starz Network, Tide, AT&T, the National Urban League and the BET Awards for the past six years.

MC Lyte is also heavily involved in social projects and participates in anti-violence campaigns as well as Rock the Vote and AIDS benefits. She is the first African American to serve as the President of the LA Chapter of the Grammy organization (from 2011-2013), is the CEO of Sunny Gyrl, Inc. and an honorary member of Sigma Gamma Rho sorority. 

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Categories: MC Lyte, BEING, Being, CentricTV

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