MC Lyte The Very Best Of

While related to Audio Two, the authors of the erstwhile classic "Top Billin'," and having a dad as a record label head, MC Lyte's path to becoming a respected artist in the male-dominated world of hip-hop was anything but predetermined. Lyte was the original "around the way" girl whose self-assuredness, sense of humour and steely battle rhymes won over the entire hip-hop nation. Her natural B-girl flavour got her attention a decade ahead of the flesh-peddling tactics of Lil' Kim and Foxy Brown. Bonafide classics like "Paper Thin," "I Cram To Understand U" and "10% Dis" are all included here. However, the much-maligned change in her direction, perhaps influenced by Queen Latifah, where Lyte started to wear more make-up and incorporate R&B into her tracks, is well documented here as well. Sure, some of the tracks don't stand up well to the test of time, but what keeps them relevant is Lyte's ever-present storytelling proficiency, which she'd already demonstrated on entries like "Cappucino." Tracks like "Poor Georgie" and "Eyes Are The Soul" reveal Lyte's talent for conveying concern for social issues through compelling narratives. Showing Lyte's multi-dimensional appeal, this retrospective becomes more significant in perspective, given the one-note appeal of today's most popular female MCs. (Rhino)