Tight and tense – that’s how many of us are “hold” ourselves and “show up” in the world today, even in spite of ourselves. Rapper turned role model MC Lyte (aka Lana Michelle Moorer) serves as a poignant and powerful example and a reminder that the best things in life show up when we are open and available to receive them. During a recent visit to her native Brooklyn, New York, for her touring production of “Love Jones The Musical” (for which the ever-busy musician, actor, entertainment industry mogul in the making and philanthropist serves as cast member as well as executive producer for the play’s soundtrack) MC Lyte shared how being open has paid off for her in a big way, even guiding her back to her a passion she discovered as a child. It is this fearlessness and openness that guided MC Lyte into the musical spotlight as a pioneering female hip-hop MC in 1988 with her debut album, “Lyte as a Rock.”
Lyte made history by becoming the first female hip-hop artist to perform at the White House and the first solo female rap artist to be honored on VH1 Hip Hop Honors. Almost 28 years after this Brooklyn-bred powerhouse burst onto the male-dominated rap scene, breaking down barriers and build bridges for others to achieve, MC Lyte is as trailblazing and busy as ever. The secret to success is something many have tried to pinpoint and put a finger on, but Lyte clues us into a key element – being open and receptive to what life puts in your path.
You were on tour with “Love Jones The Musical”, for which you serve as a cast member as well as EP for the musical’s soundtrack. What had that experience been like for you?
Well, to be honest, my whole love of the arts came by way of musicals. I remember my mom taking me to see musicals at six, seven, eight years old, and there is where I discovered that I wanted to be onstage. So for me, it’s sort of like full circle – I ended up where I always wanted to be.
Speaking of love, what’s the best love advice that you’ve ever received?
I probably could write a book! The most poignant at this moment I guess I would say is, sometimes love comes from the most unexpected places. Have a frame of what it is that you want, but also be willing to flow within that, meaning don’t be stringent upon what someone has to look like or sound like or how tall… you know, just throw all of that stuff out of the window. Can you really gel with what’s inside?
Your newest album is titled Legend, what can fans expect from it?
It’s a feel-good record. The first half of it was made available as an EP along with a Nissan activation from the BET experience, so there were five songs that were presented at that time, and now the record has just been completed. So we have Dave Hollister, V. Bozeman, Lil’ Mama, and a couple of newcomers that are out on the scene doing what it is that they love to do but they’re not mainstream or publicly known just yet.
Is the new album classic MC Lyte or something we’ve not heard from you before?
Yeah, it’s definitely an evolution that is taking place but I’m always the common denominator. I’m more interested in music that feels good than what feels new, or what feels now… I just want it to feel good. So it may have elements of what is customarily heard with MC Lyte music, or it may have something else that may feel new, but to me, it just feels solid.
What’s new on the acting front for you?
We are going after some great television projects in the EP sector, and I just did an indie film here earlier this year that should show up at some of the film festivals that I’m excited about, and it’s called Pattie Cakes. I just made the decision believe it or not last year that I even wanted to act again. It just takes so much to get off of the grid of being MC Lyte and actually become someone else, and whatever I do I like to do it properly, so I want to study the roles… it just takes time and energy that I’ve been putting into other places with the foundation (Hip-Hop Sisters Foundation) and with the actual for-profit enterprise (Sunny Gyrl) but as soon as I said, “Ok, I’m ready. I’m open,” this indie film fell in my lap. I just have to look for the spaces in which I can do things like that.
To find out what’s happening in MC Lyte’s world and a plethora of things MC Lyte check out the MC Lyte App or visit www.mclytenow.com.