MC Lyte is a true rap legend, and now she puts her talents to use in the world of cinema.
At a time when female rappers are more recognized and respected than ever, it’s important to recognize the greats who came before us. A native of Brooklyn, New York, Lyte carries endless accomplishments and accolades, including being the first solo rapper to release a full album (Lyte like a rock in 1988).
Fast forward to 2021, MC Lyte is more than ever excited to release their own sitcom titled Partners In Rhyme, a 7-episode original series that premiered on AMC Network’s streamer ALLBLK.
Teaming up with Bentley director Kyle Evans, who has worked on legendary TV shows such as âMartinâ and âThe Jamie Foxx Show,â the light show stars rapper Lana Crawford and is loosely based on personal career. and professional MC Lyte. .
After Lana quits her label and faces significant debt, she focuses on managing her niece, Lucious T, a future Instagram rapper. Of course, the large generation gap causes ripples in all situations as the two try to navigate working and living under one roof.
All hip-hop: How are you? How is it going ?
MC Lyte: Oh my God, I am so excited! This is new ground that I have waited for all my life. This TV show many years ago, when I was with William Morris, we were working on a TV show. Because of that, it was very disappointing when I left to take my performance to another agency. William Morris said, âNo, no, you have to have it all here if you want to have anything here. I said, “I made the decision to go with the other company.” And it was great.
I turned my butt all through the 90s and 2000s. It was really great but because I was in a show business they weren’t really doing the theater. So I didn’t really have the opportunity to work this muscle. Here we are with a TV show in which I am an executive producer, co-creator and actor. It all comes together in one.
All hip-hop: You are known to be one of the pioneers of female hip hop. How did you feel about bringing your talents to the world of cinema?
MC Lyte: Oh man, that was fantastic. Really, I have been acting professionally since ’91. I did an off-Broadway play with Wyclef Jean, Lauryn Hill, Darrin Henson, it was a bunch of us in a big off-Broadway play here in town. I made another movie, I can’t even remember the name, but it was good enough. But then I went to take some lessons.
I went to school in LA for two years. After that, I was on a train. [snaps] I continued until I quit in 2008, then came back in 2017 or 2018. It was great. That’s why I really only do projects that I produce. [laughs] Unless you invite me!
I have a Christmas movie coming out where EPs Jamie Foxx and Datari Turner said, “We want you to play that part.” I said “Okay, I’ll be there.” But most of the time, I try to put energy into the projects that my company is creating.
All hip-hop: How did you get the name Partners in Rhyme? So smart.
MC Lyte: Well, I’d like to say I made it up, I didn’t. I just got the idea. Once you start talking to the people writing, they start to come up with a bunch of headlines. Partners in Rhyme was actually the first title. I said, “Hey, that sounds too much like partners in crime.” They said, “Yeah, that’s the point.” I said “Oh, okay!” It grew on me.
All hip-hop: How did you prepare for this role?
MC Lyte: Life. All my life I have been preparing for this role, as the role is loosely based on a woman rapping with legendary status. However, the record company is no longer interested in releasing her music, but much prefers to see her move towards teaching someone younger about everything she knows.
Someone they can date without having to work hard to sell, and I know this game. It was really my life that prepared me for it. While that led to the actual dialogue, we had a trainer on set running lines with me. I’ve been on a lot of sitcoms, but never mine.
I’ve never had to learn so many dialogues as with this role. He had come and read with me and that made it a lot easier for a schedule we had. It was a really routine program.
All hip-hop: What was the program? Because I know the hours of filming can be very demanding. You are there all day on the set.
MC Lyte: I’d give Bentley Kyle’s secret recipe if you knew how we actually shot this, but we shot several episodes congruently. It was always, “What’s the feeling? What just happened? “Okay, because we were still down. I had to be on my P’s and Q’s.
All hip-hop: What’s behind executive production and your own sitcom?
MC Lyte: Job! [laughs] Be involved in every little part of it. Bentley and I are the writers: we sat down, we created it, we wrote the first episode. We created all of the scripts and then had to meet with all of the writers continuously throughout the process. I didn’t want any blasphemy.
With SVOD, they told us âyou can do whatever you want. You can curse, dah dah dah. Every time one of the writers tried to curse I would say ‘nuh uh, that’s not what we’re doing here’. âBut they said we could! It is not because they said that we could, that we should do it. He kept a watchful eye on it all.
One day it was getting out of hand. I said, âOkay, listen, let’s talk about it. Let’s have the conversation. First of all, I’ve been into this stuff for 30 years. There is a reason ALLBLK bought this show without a script because they trust me!
They believe what I bring is what they want. They trust and value my opinion and perspective, and the women who listen to this SVOD are MC Lyte fans.
They are part of my range of listeners, viewers, so I wanted to take care of them. I also told them, âYou might never have gotten an Image Award, but I sure want this show to be up for whatever it takes. We don’t want to be counted before we even start. So it takes work. As my CEO says: inspect what you expect.