MC Lyte, 1970

  • MC-Lyte-WWP

Woman Category: MusicWoman Tags: African-American Women, NYC Women, and Singer

  • HerStory

    A pioneer female rapper who accomplished many firsts, and the co-founder of Hip Hop Sisters Foundation.

    Lana Michele Moorer was born in Brooklyn, NYC. She began to rap at age 12, and within two years, she recorded her first track. She joined Atlantic records alongside the hip hop duo “Audio Two,” whom she considered her brothers. Under the label, she released her first single “I Cram to Understand U (Sam),” which deals with drug addiction and its consequence. In that same year, she released her first album “Lyte as a Rock,” and became the first female solo rapper to release a full album. At the age of 20, after releasing another album, she performed at Carnegie Hall – the first rap artist to do so. She kept releasing one album after another, collaborating with some of the industry’s A-listers, such as Sean Combs, Queen Latifah, and Janet Jackson. For the single “Ruffneck” from her 4th album, she added another “first” to her list – the first female rapper to receive gold certification. In her songs, she examines complex and diverse topics, including social issues, gender dynamics, and womanhood. Over the years, she released eight albums, which includes numerous hits like “Cha Cha Cha,” “10% Dis,” “Kickin’ 4 Brooklyn” and “Poor Georgie”.
    In addition to her rapping career, she is also an actress. In fact, as a child, she thought she would be famous for her acting and not for her music. Her first acting role was when she was 21 years old, at an off-Broadway production named “Club Twelve,” a hip-hop version of Shakespeare’s “Twelfth Night.” Afterward, she continued to play in movies, such as Train Ride, Civil Brand, and Bad Hair, as well as in many TV shows, including Tales, In Living Color, Moesha, SWAT, and Queen of the South. She is also a successful businesswoman, the founder, and CEO of the Sunni Gyrl Inc. – a management and production firm, as well as the co-founder of the Hip Hop Sisters Foundation – a charity that promotes positive images of women of ethnic diversity which every year awards two $100,000 scholarships for high school graduates to attend university.

    “Ladies, if you want to be treated like a queen, act like one.”

    “Ladies, if you want to be treated like a queen, act like one.”


    More Interesting Anecdotes:

    • Her first stage name was Sparkle. She changed her name to Lyte when she was 15 years old.
    • She served as the President of the Los Angeles Chapter of the Recording Academy – the first African-American woman to serve in this position.
    • She donated her diary, records, and other ephemera from her early days to the Smithsonian Institution. The items are on display in the National Museum of American History.
    • As a DJ, she performed at Michael Jordan’s 50th Birthday Celebration and Jay Leno’s farewell party.
    • She got married at age 46.
    • She is the first female to perform hip hop in the White House.
    • She is the first female solo rapper to be nominated for a Grammy.
    • She recorded the song called “Fighting Temptations” with Beyoncé, Missy Elliott, and Free.
    • She is vegan, loves bowling, and meditate every morning.
  • More About Her Legacy
    Creations By and About Her:

    * Her music CDs


    * The Soul Train Lady of Soul Awards for Best R&B/Soul or Rap Music Video (1996)
    * VH1's Hip Hop Honors (2006)
    * BET I Am Hip Hop ICON Award – the first female solo hip-hop artist to receive the award (2013)
    * The Trail Blazer Award (2019)

  • Watch and Learn More

  • One of Her Landmarks

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  • MC Lyte talks marriage, kids, female MCs & rap beef!


  • MC Lyte in 2019. Photo credit - Gage Skidmore @ Wikipedia

  • Citations and Additional References:
    Official website.
    Wikipedia page.
    Hip Hop Archive website.