ueen of Hip hop, MC Lyte! You know, despite the fact that I felt MC Lyte was too ruff as a rapper, and the fact that she used a lot of profanity in her music, she was one of the very few rap artists I liked growing up. She had some hot beats that rivaled many rappers in the game back then. But, I couldn’t understand the “hardness” that many of the female rappers were projecting to the public. It wasn’t until much later that a I realized that there was so much stigma regarding female rappers, that I now believe that that “hardness” served as a representation of being just as good as a male rapper, in a male dominated rap culture. When I’ve watched “hip hop documentaries,” I’ve never saw one that mentioned the contributions to women in hip hop. Despite the success of people like Niki Minaj, it’s quite obvious that even today, there’s still a lot of sexism, misogyny, and homophobia (I may add) within hip hop.
Out of the blue, I happened to find a YouTube video of the Rev. Al Sharpton interviewing MC Lyte. It was aired on MSNBC, and the segment was called “Rap Legend MC Lyte Talks Rap Artists’ Importance In Time Of Donald Trump.” It was an interesting conversation about the vast contrast between hip hop then, and hip hop now. Lyte talked about how rap was extremely political when it first started out; how rap told the story of what was going on in the poor Black communities; and the videos for those songs helped to paint a picture of reality in the streets. It’s only a short 9+ minute interview, I highly recommend watching it.
Here’s my take on this tho. We’re not dealing with the same set of young people now as we did then. Back in the day, rap wasn’t just political, fun, and indirectly educational. Educational from the standpoint of forcing kids who wanted to be rappers to eventually move away from Ebonics, and actually pick up a dictionary.
I Still Say, Most Of Today’s Hip Hop Is All About Tits & Ass!
In the interview, Lyte talked about how rappers like KRS1 and Public Enemy are still doing their thing, helping the young to be more socially conscious. She also noted some newer artists are helping to carry that same torch, such as J Cole. However, I still say that the vast majority of hip hop’s young audience today is only interested tits and ass, because that’s the era they grew up in. Keep in mind, I’m not the only one saying this; people that’s been in the game forever is saying the same thing I am! The music industry help to glorify sex and violence in order to make money for so long; you can’t just undo all of that so easy after being exposed to that everyday, and every hour on the hour. I’d also like my readers to consider the real fact that the faces of hop hop has changed. Hip hop is no longer about “Black street music;” or telling the story of what goes on in the poor Black communities. Having said that, I’m really not sure if what people like MC Lyte are doing can really make an impact in the same way they once did today; ’cause of the cultural differences, and the fact that a lot of young kids only care about the beat (or can they twerk to it).
A last thought I have to share. Again, as a blogger, I’ve paid very close attention to the new hip hop artists coming up in the new streaming era. A lot of these guys are putting out a lot of garbage; and I’m not calling it garbage because hip hop isn’t my preferred genre; I’m saying this because many of the people putting this music out really don’t have any talent and or possess anything of value to contribute. All I see being talked about is “how you can make money on Spotify or Youtube.” That’s it! Nothing about the art of creating music, just buy a bunch of beats and spit of bunch of crazy shit into the mic, and watch all the billions of plays you’re supposed to get. These are not the kinds of artists that are interested in social consciousness and or being political.