Legendary rapper MC Lyte is known for her iconic lyrics as an MC. As the first woman to release a full hip-hop album in the late 80s, she is a pioneer in the genre. She has enjoyed longevity, branching out into acting, voiceovers, entrepreneurship, and more. She adds Executive Producer to her list of credits with her new sitcom, “Partners in Rhyme” on AMC Networks’ ALLBLK streaming service.
Co-created by Bentley Kyle Evans and MC Lyte, and loosely based on her life, “Partners in Rhyme” premiered in November and starred the trailblazing rap legend who manages her niece, Lucious T, played by “Queens” actress, Precious Way. MC Lyte plays (Lana Crawford), a rap pioneer who learns she is being dropped as an artist on the label and is also in massive debt in this old school versus new school sitcom. She agrees to manage her niece, an up-and-coming Instagram rapper. Generations collide as Lana and Luscious T try to find their footing, working and living under the same roof. Lana’s feisty best friend and personal assistant, Victoria “Vicky” Sims (Cloie Wyatt Taylor); Mekhai Crawford (Ron G), her younger, freeloading brother label executive, Hazel Wilson (Rolonda Watts) and recording engineer Boston Jacobs (Wesley Jonathan), are all on hand, to help this legend raise a star!
Chicago Defender: You started in this industry so young, at the age of 16. How does it feel as an artist to have your music still relevant and respected by so many people?
MC Lyte: It feels great. It feels like I’m living a dream. I’m doing what I love. As I’ve gotten older, I realize how important it is to have a team. I have a great one that I can depend on, which means I can do even more.
Chicago Defender: The team allows the creative to do just that-Create.
MC Lyte: It does, but I also enjoy being on the other side. I like to plan and strategize.
Chicago Defender: I read an interview you did where you said you weren’t sure if you would have the same success if you came out now as a female artist. So do you think today’s female artists have it harder, or are the challenges the same?
MC Lyte: You know, what’s so funny? That interview was a tad convoluted so thank you for allowing me to clear it up and address it. We address something similar in “Partners in Rhyme.” In the episode, Taylor is approached for an MC Battle and doesn’t know what to do. You would have to battle if someone stepped to you and challenged you in my day. With everything on the internet, it changes everything. It can prove challenging when it’s time to live outside of the internet. So in the episode, I’m telling her you gotta protect your name, and she’s telling me that I don’t understand how difficult it is being an MC and growing up during this time with everything being scrutinized. That’s what I meant in that interview. This generation has to deal with everything on video; everything is documented. It wasn’t like that back in the day. The same internet that helps get artists discovered and gain notoriety could also be their downfall.
Chicago Defender: Speaking of the new show, talk to me about “Partners in Rhyme.”
MC Lyte: We pitched it to Bentley Kyle Evans, and he loved it. We sat and put a hit show together and were thrilled to have it on the AllBlk network. Brett and Nikki and the team there loved it. We sold the show without a script, which is rare, but that’s how it came to be.
Chicago Defender: You aren’t just acting in the series. You serve as executive producer. What do you love about being behind the scenes?
MC Lyte: When I was a kid, I would watch TV shows like Archie Bunker, Family Ties, The Cosby Show, and a different world. I’m a lover of TV and movie magic. I would look at set design, lighting, and all the choices made by the actors. I studied it so long; I knew I wanted to be part of that. With “Partners in Rhyme,” I was clear on what I wanted it to look and feel like. I wanted it to look and feel like home.
Chicago Defender: What did you enjoy most about your work on “Partners in Rhyme”?
MC Lyte: The most enjoyable part was writing these characters. Once the characters were cast, watching them bring them to life was enjoyable. I have to say I enjoy it all, from choosing the colors in the living room to the accents on the walls. I love how I get to add so many incredible details to this show.
“Partners in Rhyme” also allows fans who want access to the new music recorded by MC Lyte and her co-stars to do so via, Deeper.” Deeper allows users to identify the music around them or dive into an advanced search of producers, songwriters, and more. Then, utilizing in-app audio recognition, viewers can access and combine the discography of the creators they discover in seconds.
To access the Deeper technology, subscribers can head to the Partners In Rhyme page at www.ALLBLK.tv. Once there, viewers should click on the “Deeper” button available on screen – after which they will be able to see all the original songs from the episode with specific time codes of when they play, as well as learn more about the artists and associated music credits.
“Customizing the streaming experience for our subscribers is a priority at ALLBLK, and at AMC Networks overall,” says Brett Dismuke, General Manager of ALLBLK and WE tv. “Deeper is delivering a new element of enjoyment that will elevate how viewers interact with their content selections. What better way to introduce our ALLBLK audience to such a great feature than with hip-hop royalty, MC Lyte, and her new series – Partners In Rhyme.”
All six episodes of “Partners in Rhyme” are available on the AllBlk network.