Female rap history has long been rich and diverse. From Queen Latifah to Monie Love to Salt-N-Pepa, female rap artists have long been holding it down for the culture.
As one of the pioneering hip hop artists, the Brooklyn-born MC Lyte also has the honour of being the first female solo rapper to drop an album, when she released her classic 1988 debut, Lyte as a Rock. In subsequent interviews, Lyte revealed that she was 12 years old when she started writing the lyrics for the album.
“The lyrics were in a rhyme book for several years prior to getting to the studio,” she told Okayplayer. “I started writing in that book probably about when I was 12 or 13. So to see lyrics that I had written prior be appreciated in such a way, you know, there’s nothing like it. I guess it just goes to show that when you’re speaking truth, or when truth resonates with others then I guess it could be considered a classic because it never goes old.”
The album, which features timeless joints like “Lyte as a Rock”, “10% Dis” and “Paper Thin”, was released via First Priority and Atlantic Records and peaked at number 50 on the Billboard Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums.
MC Lyte: When I look at all the albums that were released that year alone, it was just like a birthing of a new type of hip-hop. We had all listened so everyone before us, and it was just our turn, and we came and came so differently, so unique in our own space. So it feels good to be a part of that. And as far as where hip-hop has come, it’s exciting to just see how long it’s lasted and all of the subgenres that exist now. I mean, it’s all hip-hop, but it’s hard to define it all as just hip-hop because there’s so many different versions of what’s happening right now.MC Lyte Speaks on the Legacy of Her Iconic Debut ‘Lyte as a Rock’ [INTERVIEW] | Okayplayer