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MC Lyte Grammy Committee: Jimmy Jam Encouraged Position

Amy Graves, Getty Images

In the late ’80s and early 90’s, MC Lyte became one of the first female MCs to find lyrical respect and authority within the male dominated artform of hip-hop. To say that the raper, born Lana Moorer, could match two-fisted rhymes, sneering braggadocio and cool wit with the best of them would be an understatement.

The Brooklyn born rapper went on to drop such classic albums as ‘Lyte As A Rock’ (1988); ‘Eyes On This’ (1989); and ‘Act Like You Know’ (1991), paved the way for popular female spitters like Foxy Brown, Lil’ Kim, Lauryn Hill and Nicki Minaj. And while MC Lyte has since went on to release several projects — most noteworthy her 2006 critically acclaimed collaboration, ‘Wonder Years,’ with iconic producer DJ Premier — and become an in-demand voice-over personality for television commercials and award shows, it’s her latest gig that is most intriguing.

In June of 2011, the pioneering hip-hop legend became the president of the L.A. Chapter of the Grammys Recording Academy. With the 54th Annual Grammy Awards coming up on Feb. 12, Lyte says that so far, the gig has been rewarding, yet daunting. “This week I had rounds of meetings that happen twice a year with presidents and trustees,” Lyte tells The BoomBox of her duties. “But what I found out was it’s not just about addressing some of the issues with the Grammy Award show. It’s about all the other entities that exist outside with branding, partnerships and the philanthropic side of the Grammy Museum.”

Lyte, who is also executive vice president at DuBose Music, says it was former L.A. Grammy chapter head and influential hit-making producer Jimmy Jam who persuaded her to take on the position. “Not too many years ago, Jimmy invited me down to a board meeting,” she recalls. “That was the first taste that I got for that type of forum. It’s a huge responsibility. I’m the first African-American woman to do it. I am elated. I look forward to the upcoming Grammy Awards.”


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