Happy Birthday, MC Lyte!

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Pioneering female rapper Lana “MC Lyte” Moorer has led the charge as a fresh and distinctive voice in the male-dominated genre of Hip Hop in the 80s while also remaining a living inspiration to newer icons such as Nicki Minaj and fellow Brooklyn native Lil’ Kim. Today (October 11), the longtime rap veteran celebrates her 40th birthday, reaching yet another milestone in the midst her storied and ongoing career.

A pre-teen Lyte began writing raps at age 12, eventually releasing her first single in the old school classic “I Cram To Understand U (Sam)” on her father’s Nat Robinson’s First Priority label. The younger sister of Brooklyn duo Milk Dee and Gizmo of the Audio Two got plenty of assistance from her brothers on her 1988 debut album Lyte As A Rock. Although the album hit a peak of 50 on the Top R&B/Hip Hop charts, the record is largely considered a classic by many.

Lyte’s follow up LP in 1989 Eyes On This enjoyed more success and cemented the pint-sized but gruff-voiced rapper as a fixture in the highly competitive rap game. Her third LP Act Like You Know was a mild success with two singles “When In Love” and “Poor Georgie” blazing the charts for its time. Lyte’s fourth LP Ain’t No Other landed the rapper the achievement of her single “Ruffneck” being the first gold-selling single from a female rapper. Lyte continued to strike audio gold with her fifth album Bad As I Wanna B in 1996, yielding two hit singles in “Cold Rock A Party” and “Keep On Keepin’ On.”

Following albums Seven & Seven and her independent release Da Undaground Heat Vol. 1 kept Lyte’s name buzzing along with several one-off singles recorded sparingly over the years. The stylish MC Lyte has also kept herself busy as an actress and voiceover talent for nationally television and radio ad campaigns. Lyte is also the current President of the Los Angeles chapter of the Grammy Organization, the first African-American female to hold the post after landing the position this summer.

Lyte also co-hosts the Café Mocha radio show and started the hip-hop Sisters organization along with holding an executive post with the DuBose Music Group and currently a fixture on the national lecture circuit as well.

Happy Birthday to the legendary MC Lyte!