What can MC Lyte not do? She raps, acts, DJs, and even does voiceovers for some of the most popular and prestigious award shows in the music industry. Her résumé is as impressive as it is expansive. Now, the Brooklyn-born MC can add “show creator” to her work experience.
As the co-creator and leading cast member of the ALLBLK rap sitcom Partners In Rhyme, Lyte is able to combine the elements of comedy and hip-hop into one entertaining project. Coming off of a successful debut, Lyte and the team at ALLBLK are ready to entertain fans with another comedic season of television that includes a plethora of special guests in the music and comedy world including E-40, Big Daddy Kane, Estelle and Russell Peters.
Partners In Rhyme also brings back all of the actors from the first season including Richard Lawson, Precious Way, Tammi Mac, Ron G, Wesley Johnson, Rolanda Watts and of course, MC Lyte.
But, how did such a talented and successful artist start working behind the camera?
“Screenwriter Wayne Conley (White Famous, Greenleaf) and I had a bunch of different ideas and this was one of them, “ said Lyte. “ It was all about trying to create something that could be a vehicle, where I would excel as an actress, but also on a topic that I know a lot about. People have used my knowledge and experience to write other things, so why not use it for myself?”
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So with the help of Bentley Kyle Evans (Martin, The Jamie Foxx Show), Lyte was all the way back in the television game as a showrunner and actress.
Despite her lack of experience behind the camera, Lyte has had plenty of experience in front of it. She has appeared in countless movies and TV shows and has been a recurring character in two sitcoms from the late 90s to the mid-2000s, For Your Love and Half & Half. But, despite the new challenges of having more to do on set, Lyte has embraced the experience.
“I’m used to being in front of the camera, I’ve done it my whole life. But to actually be a part of casting, music, and set design and just every little nook and cranny of what makes this show go was special,” said Lyte. “Everyone on set will tell you, ‘Lyte has her hands in everything. Oh, that’s not gonna fly because that’s not the direction Lyte wants to take it. Oh, Lyte is gonna love that.’ They have to keep me happy, which is beautiful because they know I want the best outcome for the show.”
As a show that deals with the music industry and family dynamics, Partners In Rhyme is also a representation of the music industry today, which is constantly shifting, changing and evolving. While different from when Lyte broke onto the scene with her debut album, Lyte As a Rock, she still embraces the shift in hip-hop and how it’s benefited everyone who loves the genre.
“I think it’s done what most things do that are good, or even great. It’s great that a genre that started out so small and simple but so heavy and poignant gets a chance to grow and flourish,” said Lyte. “Now, you’ve got subgenres on subgenres within hip hop. To me, that’s an incentive for those who want to be a part of it, to actually see where it is that they can go. There are rappers and there are DJs, but there’s a bunch of journalists who don’t do either one, but they get to become a part of hip-hop culture simply because they can tell a story.”
She continued, “Hip-hop not only begins to trust journalists, but now they can be the ear for the masses to tune in. They’re spitting in their own dialect, which is writing a story, but for hip-hop. It’s amazing to me all of what has been created simply because of our forefathers in hip-hop.”
And despite Lyte being a veteran in the music industry, she has nothing but love for the newer generation of artists doing their thing in today’s music climate where so much music drops every single day.
Although she doesn’t listen to albums like she used to, because she’s a DJ, there are artists and songs that the Brooklyn-born MC particularly enjoys.
“I’m really taken by Tems. Her voice is so spiritual to me. When I hear it It just feels like kinship. she takes me back to a home that I’m not even aware of and I feel safe there,” said Lyte. “ I’m also feeling the space that Lil Baby is coming from. It just feels like he’s growing right before us and I love the human as well as the music.”
As hip-hop as a genre continues to grow and change worldwide, more opportunities are given to those who have found success as artists and entertainers, and MC Lyte is a direct beneficiary. She’s able to incorporate two of her passions into one thing to share with the world, and she couldn’t be enjoying it more.
Season 2 of Partners In Rhyme is available now on ALLBLK, which is available everywhere streaming services are found.