Label: First Priority Music/Atlantic Records

The significance MC Lyte in the era of the '80s are often overshadowed by the b-boy strides that were being made during the same decade. Yet, coming at a time when rockin' the mic was an equal opportunity profession and all women weren't automatically called "bitches and hoes," MC Lyte emerged from the depths of Brooklyn caring more about her rhyme skills than her make-up.

Spending her youth years listening to her mama's music, which was the swooning soul of Al Green and other down home R&B men, little Lyte's whole world turned upside down after she was exposed to a rap records bumping from her cousin's stereo. Bopping to cuts by the Funk 4 + 1 and the Treacherous Three, from that moment on she knew she was chosen.

Fast-forward a few years later when Lyte was a teenager working with her step-brothers Milk and Giz (Audio Two) to create her first single "I Cram to Understand U (Sam)." Over its minimalist beat, Lyte's lyrically trashed the object of her desire. Even though Sam was a scrub, Lyte loved him till she found out he was just a crack fiend trying to get her green. Although sister girl might've had a broken heart, she wasn't taking no shorts.

In the real world, luckily for Lyte, her pop's started a record company called First Priority, and months later she recorded Lyte As a Rock dropped. "Boom, she sounded rough, rugged and raw," rap expert Chuck D. said about the young girl in the Fila sweat-suit and bamboo earrings. "Kickin' it for Brooklyn," as another one of her jams declared, MC Lyte was soon the rap queen of her borough.

Holding on to her crown while eliminating all contenders, Lyte wasn't scared, because the sharp-tongued wordsmith could hold her own on the microphone. Lyte's follow-up single "Paper Thin" was the phat showstopper, using a dope Prince ("17 Days") sample combined with a with a pinch of Al Green ("I'm Glad You're Mine") that should've halted all rivals, including beat biter Antoinette, in their tracks.

Homegirl might've been Lyte as a Rock, but her debut album was heavy as a boulder. —Michael Gonzales