Iconic ’80s rapper MC Lyte has a thought or two about female emcees and why more of them aren’t thriving in the hip hop game today, especially considering the success and cultural impact of rappers such as herself, Lauryn Hill, Lil Kim, and Missy Elliott. Acknowledging 2017’s most prominent female rapper, Nicki Minaj, Lyte said in a recent interview, Nicki’s “great at what it is that she does. She has cornered the market,” but goes on to point out, “there are a whole lot of people that are still underserved, and it would be great for more female emcees to have that opportunity.” She explains, “There are countless occasions where we, as women, have had ideas of how we want to come together, but really, it takes energy, it takes effort — but most of all, it takes money.”
She went on to big up Lauryn Hill, who she feels should have had a larger impact on how female rappers position themselves in hip hop. “I certainly think that what [Lauryn Hill] did offer up in the emcee category should have prompted those to want to be better, especially content wise. I think she came at a point where we were all longing for something deeper, and she was certainly able to satiate that … longing for that,” she explains.
Ultimately, Lyte believes there is a lot of great talent out there deserving of a chance to shine. “For the most part, I think there are so many female emcees, and so many more have never got their opportunity to have that real, major spotlight on them, but they exist all over the planet,” she said. “I love Rapsody. I like May Day. There’s a young lady out of Chicago named Iman who I can really appreciate. I like Remy Ma. You know, I come from the school of cockiness, so [I’m here for] all of what Remy Ma and Missy say. Like, if you can’t say you’re the best, then you might as well just sit down. So all of that braggadocio, I love.”
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