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Celebrate four decades of the Bronx-conceived b-boy crew with this annual who’s who of classic hip-hop performers featuring Brooklyn’s Grammy-nominated female rap visionary
As the first female hip hop artist to release a solo, full-length album (and be nominated for a Grammy), Lana Michelle Moorer is truly a prolific pioneer in the music business. As a teen she performed under the name Sparkle, but really came into her own as MC Lyte, with the release of 1988’s Lyte as a Rock. The album was an instant success with critics and rap fans alike, with the top single “Paper Thin” and the rousing rap battle “10% Dis.” Lyte kept coming strong, releasing 1989’s Eyes on This, which shocked and rocked with uncensored hits “Cha Cha Cha” and “Cappucino.” Next up was 1991’s Act Like You Know, which showed a smooth shift into new jack swing territory. Dominating ‘90s rap, she then put out Ain’t No Other, which achieved Gold status, bolstered by “Ruffneck,” which garnered a Best Rap Single Grammy nod. Later would come her 2nd Gold certified album Bad As I Wanna B, with the megahit “Keep On, Keepin’ On” (featuring Missy Elliot). After that came 1998’s Seven & Seven and then The Undaground Heat (with Jamie Foxx), which contained the leading track “Ride Wit Me,” and earned Lyte her second Grammy nomination (and a BET win). Further evidence of her icon status, Lyte is first rap artist to perform at Carnegie Hall, first female rapper to perform at the White House, and the first and only female rapper to release a full length album in her forties, with 2015’s Legend. She is also a gifted actress, having graced the stage, and small and silver screens. A moving figure to say the least, Lyte currently gives inspirational speeches, and still crushes the mic.