MC Lyte To Release New Album ‘Legend,’ Avail For One Day Only (4.18)

new legend

MC LYTE to release LEGEND LP on April 18–available for 24 hours on vinyl

It has been a while since we had an album from Brooklyn’s own MC Lyte–12 years to be exact. Her new album, Legend, will be the vet’s first since 2003’s Da Underground Heat, Vol. 1, and it’s almost here.
Much ink has been spilled over the debate of the ascent of the female emcee over the years. From early frontrunners like Roxanne Shante and Sweet Tee, to Salt & Pepa’s sexy fun lyrics, to the impact of Queen Latifah, Lauryn Hill’s timeless debut album, Lil Kim’s innovative rap and performance style, down to Nicki Minaj’s international stardom, and where she ranks among the greats. Of that ink, much of it has been used to describe the prowess of one MC Lyte. Her new album, the obscurely self-titled Legend LP–details on which you can check out here–will only enforce what we all already knew (at least those who study the game).

The comeback in itself is an art. Many have tried, but few have succeeded. Growing up and maturing–both personally and artistically–in one era, and attempting to flourish in a subsequent one isn’t a challenge that should be taken lightly. On Legend, however, MC Lyte doesn’t appear to have any jet lag. Her buzzing singles are shining examples. Paired with Lil Mama and young R&B talent AV on “Ball,” MC Lyte shows off an updated flow, bending and twisting rhymes over an uptempo beat most of today’s artists shy away from, every word of every bar both audible and crisply delivered. “Dear John”–which doubles as the anthem for Lyte’s #EducateOurMen scholarship program–is a stark contrast in tempo but not in execution. Lyte raps–alongside Common–over a brooding instrumental from Dominique Cohill, and pleads with young men troubled with life obstacles to stay the course. Already, her versatility is on display.

The true jewels, however, are hidden in the depths of Legend’s tracklist. “Last Time” is an automatic standout, somewhat of a woman’s counterpart to “Dear John.” The well-timed record offers sympathy for women emotionally chained down by dysfunctional relationships, and a lyrical light at the end of the tunnel. Similarly, records like “Cravin” and “Wanted” are feel good, summer BBQ records that help illustrate Lyte’s songwriting ability, which has evolved over time, as has her ability to keep her content fresh, unique and impactful.

Still, her lyrics are what grounds her. “Check,” which we’ve just world premiered just below, is a menacing piece of songwriting from MC Lyte, who took the weight of her words so seriously she plastered every tidy bar on the tour footage that anchors the music video to ensure her message gets across, which is a sentiment that’s been echoed throughout her career. Though Lyte, born Lana Michele Moore, has experienced mainstream success–let’s not forget the string of 5 Top 20 hits she had from 1994-1997–her ability to speak not only to her peers, but subsequent generations, through her lyrics and message has always been her strong point, and that still rings true in 2015. On International Record Store Day, make sure you grab your copy of Legend, the 8th and defining album by Ms. MC Lyte.