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MC Lyte not lyte on charisma, talent

By: Jerry Anderson III

Date Posted: 1999-05-22

From its beginning's Hip-Hop and Rap music has always expressed a raw and sometime politically incorrect honesty, mirroring society's triumphs and social-ills. Usually spoken from a male perspective, Rap music has embraced few female emcees. Not that there aren't any good female lyricists - just not many that can make the hip-hop masses appreciate and genuinely relate to their experiences and topics. After all, to be considered a great emcee requires an artist to lyrically bring the listener as close as possible to their particular environment. Kind of like a lyrical Kodak moment. One of the best to ever hold a microphone is MC Lyte. Performing live this past Saturday at Kadena's Banyan Tree Club, MC Lyte wasted little time sending the crowd into pandemonium. Dressed in a green jumpsuit and boots and accompanied by a DJ, two male dancers and two female back-up singers to include Tichina Arnold formerly of the Fox TV show "Martin," Lyte opened the show with the hit-single "Ruffneck." Then after performing a few additional songs, Lyte offered an education in Hip-Hop: "How many of y'all really know your Hip-Hop?" asked Lyte, evoking a call and response, as she lead the crowd through classic Rap singles by Run-DMC and Doug E. Fresh & Slick Rick.

One of the show's highlights was MC Lyte's call for any emcee willing to show their lyrical and singing talents. True to form two members of the audience answered the challenge. Rhyming over an instrumental version of "One More Chance" by the late Notorious B.I.G., a young man proceeded to bless the microphone with clever word play and smart metaphors. Representing the females was local R&B group Abstrak's lead singer Kerra, crooning the crowd with "Tell Me," a selection from their debut CD, Reflections. Finally after baiting the audience and numerous requests, Lyte launched into the set closer, the 1996 party anthem inspired "Cold Rock a Party." As the crowd joined in and sang the chorus, Lyte offered her appreciation for the military personnel proudly serving the U.S. abroad. After nearly an hour and an arsenal of hit songs including "Paper Thin," "Cha, Cha Cha," "Lyte As A Rock," "I Go On" and "Georgy Porgy," Lyte had taken us through a much appreciated stroll down memory lane. Throughout, Lyte's on stage demeanor was personable. Shaking hands and giving hi-fives all through her concert. Even with the addition of the two female back-up singers, Lyte exemplified the epitome of true hip-hop showmanship - two turntables, a microphone and two dancers.

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