The female rap icon’s lifetime achievement is to be recognized at this year’s Hip Hop Awards.
MC Lyte has devoted much of her life to hip hop culture, and will finally be honored with the I Am Hip Hop Award presented by Sprite at this year’s BET Hip Hop Awards. The rapper was thrilled, “I love how that sounds,” she said. “Let’s make it happen.”
The Brooklyn born artist was the first rapper to receive a certified gold single for Ruffneck (1993), the first female MC to release a solo LP (‘Lyte as a Rock’ in 1988), and the first female solo rapper nominated for a Grammy.
Lyte has secured longevity in the music business for over 20 years, expanding her contribution to the culture as a DJ, radio show co-host, actress and voice-over artist. She is the founder of the Hip Hop Sisters Foundation, which offers $100,000 academic scholarship to the University of Wisconsin-Madison, a top-ranking school. As the first African-American female president of the L.A chapter of the Recording Academy, Lyte promises there’s more to come.
“There’s an ever-growing list of things… I’ve accomplished a bit, but I’m still dead smack in the middle of wanting to do so much more,” she said. For example, “With that scholarship, more money needs to be raised for books, for food, for travel… We have the docu-drama with BET [Hip Hop Sisters featuring Lyte, Lady of Rage, Yo Yo, Smooth, Monie Love and Lil Mama]… so now I’m looking for the next deal, what’s the next T.V. show that I can executive produce with my company Sunni Girl? So, you know, I’m looking at it like a chess board, how can I take what it is that I have and make it flourish?”
In total, Lyte has released eight studio albums, four compilation albums, and has contributed as a guest feature for a number of artists. Currently, Lyte is working on her next independently released album led by the instrument-driven summer single “Cravin'” featuring Cali collective Loudbox Entertainment.
“Eighty percent of them come from a church background, so they play all instruments,” she said of Loudbox. “They really have a sense of music, which I really enjoy.”
The honoree had plenty to say about hip hop as a whole and believes everyone can put in on enhancing it. “I say as hip hop lovers we reclaim it and we start to support that hip hop that really satiates us… we really call radio stations and say we want to hear more of our local artists…. We just need to get out there and represent for the music that we love.”
With the award, Lyte will join an elite list of other active legends who have received the lifetime achievement recognition, including Grandmaster Flash (2006), KRS-One (2007) Russell Simmons (2008), Ice Cube (2009), Salt N’ Pepa (2010), LL Cool J (2011) and Rakim (2012).
The 2013 BET Hip Hop Awards ceremony will be held Sept. 28 at the Boisfeuillet Jones Atlanta Civic Center.