MC Lyte Will Celebrate 30 Years In Hip-Hop With A Kennedy Center Concert
Thirty years ago this month, MC Lyte released her debut album, Lyte As A Rock. The MC born Lana Moorer was just 17 years old when she linked with Audio Two and First Priority Music to drop one of the earliest full-length offerings by a solo female Rap artist. The album endured. With singles such as “Paper Thin” and “10% Dis,” Lyte represented one of the hardest aesthetics of the day, not just for a female artist. Lyte became the first solo female MC to be nominated for a Grammy Award. She is also the first Rap artist to perform at Carnegie Hall and the first female MC to rock at the White House.
The 1988 Atlantic Records-backed LP would serve as a launch-pad for a career that has moved across different roles in media, including voice-over work and hosting. Thirty years later, Lyte is celebrating on the biggest of stages. This Friday (September 21), the Brooklyn, New Yorker will honor her debut with a special 30th-anniversary concert at Washington, D.C.’s Kennedy Center. Performing in the Eisenhower Theater, the event promises a full album performance with backing by a live band. Lyte will rock selections from her handfuls of other releases. In 2018, she has released several singles, including “SpotLYTE.”
The concert is the latest Hip-Hop event since Q-Tip took over the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts artistic director post in early 2016. He implemented a team including The Roots’ Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson and Tariq “Black Thought” Trotter, Common, 9th Wonder, LL Cool J, Pharoahe Monch, MC Lyte, Large Professor, Robert Glasper, Bobbito Garcia, Fab 5 Freddy, Grandmaster Caz, Grant Hill, J.Period, Jason King, Kierna Mayo, Mimi Valdés, and Xavier “X” Jernigan. Nas, DJ J. Period, Grandmaster Caz, Roxanne Shanté and others have since graced the stage.
Lyte As A Rock featured beats by Audio Two (Milk Dee and Giz). Prince Paul also worked on the album, the same year De La Soul released their first single. In addition to producer Alliance, The King Of Chill also worked on the ’88 LP. Today, he works closely with DJ Premier, and produced several cuts on Torii Wolf’s Flow Riot album.