BLOG: Where Did She Go?

I am often asked where did the female MC go, as if there is only one and somehow she’s hiding and I might have some type of top secret info as to where she took off to. LOL, well, if I’m going to speak of the female emcee as if there is only one, I will look at her as the true culmination of many young women who have rocked the mic from the beginning of this mighty culture called hip-hop. I will take it from the perspective of the first known emcee and I use that word respectively, because there may be others who remain tucked in the under belly of the sub-culture and have yet to be identified. The first I am familiar with was young lady who was part of a crew called The Funk Four Plus One More and her name was and still is— Sha-Rock!

But of course I have to pay homage to every female emcee who came after and that would be Sequence, Salt-N-Pepa, Shante, The Real Roxanne, Sparky D, Sweet T, Finesse & Sinquess, Queen Latifah, Ms. Melody, Harmony, Lin Que, Yo Yo, Rage, The Champ MC, Tara B, Nefertiti, JJ Fad, Lil Kim, Foxy, Eve, Missy, Heather B, Bahamadia, Ice Cream T, Non Chalant, Cha Cha, Da Brat, Remy Ma, Babs, Shawnta, Mia X, Trina, Lil Mama and the list goes on and on. This list represents a wall of the hip-hop structure, not to mention many of the women and young girls who bless the mic using the internet as their platform to be heard. However, the names mentioned here are the women who are responsible for laying the foundation from which all female hip hop was born and too shall grow. Although the wall remains, in these times, it is much more difficult for a new female emcee to make her mark by implementing another brick; and so she settles for simply tagging her name in yet another art form of hip-hop.

Today the female emcee as we see marketed and promoted looks very different from the emcees of yesterday. They sound different as well, they don’t particularly flow, however they do rhyme words together and carry a melody. I’m speaking of the Fergie, Nelly Furtado, Lady GaGa and a host of others who have managed to entice super hip-hop producers and audiences all over the globe. They play with melodies, sing hooks, but most importantly they move units and really that’s the bottom line! Major labels have found a niche and it appears to me that upon further investigation (of my own that is lol), many have duplicated the innovative work of Missy Elliott. Yet, not only have the majors reaped the benefits, but so have the likes of many producers such as will.i,am, Timbaland, The Neptunes and a few others. By all means please don’t misunderstand my choice to confront this issue. I love all the music that has come from all the above mentioned names, I sing them all and I completely understand the business of having to sell records to remain in business. So it’s quite clear when someone asks, “Where did the female MC go?” exactly where they went and why.

In order for the female MC to surge and not just drop the occasional hot record, there first must be a demand. People say they want to see more women rock in hip-hop, but they actually now must take a stand and support them, by either purchasing their new product, or showing up to a performance. Then and only then will you see the female emcee emerge from the darkness and soar to new heights.—MC Lyte

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  • Pierzy

    Give it up to the greatest female emcee of all time!

    Wasn’t there a shift when Kim & Foxy came into the game? It turned from skills (Lyte, Latifah) to sex (Trina). Even Da Brat flipped her image…

    However, Ms. Lyte, I believe there actually is a demand for the female emcee. Lauryn Hill was more than just a rapper, but she was what the game needed…unfortunately, she didn’t need the game apparently.

    While I appreciate the likes of MIA and Lady Gaga, they’re not the same type of artists that people like you were. Maybe we’ll never see that again…

    • Jamal7Mile

      What’s up Pierzy?

      I still have hopes that we will see more and more female emcees of Lyte’s caliber. 2009 has been a year of many changes and bright lights, thus far. Crap rap is starting to get rejected and Emcees are calling “entertainers” out on their bullshit.

      With so much change in the air, now is a good time for female EMCEES to assert themselves and make their presence known.

    • Bobo D

      Wasn’t there a shift when Kim & Foxy came into the game?
      Co-sign to the fullest. And not to go pointing fingers at them, they did something different then the whole game had to do it. I just hated it because this was around the time Lady of Rage released her album that including the Death Row drama, I just felt she got looked over.

      • General

        Fox and Kim definetely took that shit in another direction, but the funny thing is neither of them wrote shit, so it was Big and Jay that created those images and personas for them…

        I agree that until people actually step up and commercially support a real female MC then that void is going to remain unfilled…

        Lady of Rage was a beast on the mic, but she couldn’t break through all the bullshit…

        • Detroit P

          She wrote her verse for Reasonable Doubt…that has to count for something

      • Pierzy

        Gen, don’t forget that NaS also wrote a ton of Foxy’s lyrics. 95% of her first album was written by either Jay or NaS…

    • RiZob

      The two greates female emcees are Gangsta Boo and La Chat! i kno most of the people on here havent heard of them, or because of the east coast bias on here u probaly hate them…but if you take the time to listen to them, you would be a believer….real talk…

      • El Tico Loco

        Don’t forget Chyna Whyte and watch out for Empress Sharrh.

  • Silly Willy

    “Although the wall remains, in these times, it is much more difficult for a new female emcee to make her mark by implementing another brick; and so she settles for simply tagging her name in yet another art form of Hip Hop.”

    I understand, Ms Lyte, but I respectfully disagree with the female emcee thinking that way. Because at this point, the wall made by male emcees is thousand times bigger than what was made by females. And yet we ask them to step their game up every now and then. So there’s no excuse for female emcees not to contribute. Thing is, we won’t settle for any female emcee, we need to support THAT female emcee! Jean Grae comes to mind.

    XXL, the previous comments won’t show, what’s up with that ?

  • Detroit P

    Great Post

    I think the general demand for a female emcee is less than the general demand for lets say..Slaughterhouse….and we’ll see how big that is, even tho I kno it’ll be low…I really think the only way for the female emcee to comeback is to have a female rapper make music good/commercially acceptable enough for her to blow-up in a “Drake-like” form and be real successful and then that will create a demand for a few female emcee’s so the labels will try to copy that and find their own female emcee, hopefully those female emcee’s won’t turn out to be duds and the female rap niche/genre/whateveryouwannacallit will grow.

    • Jamal7Mile

      Hey Detroit P?

      I always thought that EVE fit the category of the kind of female emcee you’re describing. She’s got it all, if you ask me. Yet… where is she????

      DP, what’s up with our own hometown female emcees?? Mz Corona, Acapella,etc? I’m still out here and I don’t hear much from them, which is disappointing.

      • Devi Gargon

        Shout out to Mz. Corona…

        Cop that Mission Accomplished on itunes if u wanna hear her on her dean!!!

        • Jamal7Mile

          Will do, Devi. Thanks!

          By the way… HAPPY BIRTHDAY, HIP-HOP!!! 8/11/1973, Kool Herc’s lil sis’ party!!

  • Silly Willy

    I would’ve put Lauryn close second to you, Ms Lyte. I find it amusing you didn’t mention her. But it’s all good.

    We know where she’s at, though. Hitting the bong with the Marley brothers will have you look like an afrocentric scary clown.

  • EmCDL

    Damn Lyte that last paragraph was deep! Keep it going with the knowledge!

  • P. Harris

    I guess you’d have to say that the Femcee has evolved to whatever it is today??? I agree moving units has a huge influence on this. I still bump my Rah Digga CD and everyone who wants to hear a real good female MC should pick up the Jean Grae “Jeanius” album…

    XXL Jean Grae would make a good female blogger too…

  • Seattle Slim

    What about Lauryn?

    Anyway, I loved this post. It was spot on. Quite frankly, I’m not sure if it’s possible for femcees to be what they once were with the likes of Fergie, and Gwen Stefani, and others in the music market. Add to that negative stereotypes vs the perceived ideal, and you’ve got our present climate.

    Fact of the matter is, good femcees are out there. We just have to look for them, and support them. If we keep waiting for some chick to blow up like back in the days when Kim and Foxy did, we’ll be waiting well into our forties if you ask me, and even then it’s not for certain. The musical landscape has changed. For a price, we changed things and let certain elements in, and we’re paying for it now, even if we didn’t realize it then. It is what it is. Support your good, local, underground femcee.

  • BeerGangsta

    Have you watch Bet Awards show. Lyte is the one that call the names. We all know that. When she made that Song Poor George. That’s was the shit. I think I was George at the time. I used to act like that. Song Paper thin put her on the map. Song Ruff Neck was hardcore. Like some NWA type of shit.

  • Tony Grands

    If ever there were such a thing as “almost as legendary” as Lyte, I’d have to go with Lauryn Hill. &, @ the rate she was going, she could have quite possibly surpassed Lyte, on a scale of worldwide popularity.

    She took what Lyte had done, & sprinkled a little extra spice on it. Real music, no gimmicks. But alas, most women are psychopathic, & it’s just a matter of time before they let people in on their psychosis. Last time a saw footage of Ms. Hill, she looked like a Raggedy Ann doll. Life-size.

  • Avenger XL

    First off let me say LYTE can still get IT.

    Secondly, hip-hop is a male dominated art form like rock was but Lyte was a jona Jet or Jannet Joplin of this rap ish. She came in rocking with the boys and avoided the toy rhymes and such. If there are true female hip-hop heads they need to organize better and become more active. This would give us a larger selection of female artists. If that doesn’t happen female artists have to depend on horny males going through puberty for their career. So they are forced to sale one of their other commodities(note: good Power U pays the bills even in a recession don’t sleep). Besides I would like to see morefemale fans at hip-hop shows. Those sausage party back pack fests are LAAAAAAMMMMMMEEEEEEEE!

    • Hanch

      Please tell me you know her name isnt Jannet Joplin? But anyway Lyte your the greatest and thanks for actually dropping knowledge, It was a fantastic read!!!!!

  • Kai, a.k.a. GOLDEN

    Lyte, I love you ma! I know you don’t remember, but I chilled with you in L.A. about 8 or 9 years ago, when you were the ref at a celebrity B-ball game my homie Ifeanyi put together. I performed at half-time. I still have your autograph, and I still remember your hug! I consider myself lucky to have not only met, but have had conversations with 3 of my favorite emcees. Not female emcees, but emcees period. You, Queen Latifah, and The Lady of Rage. Keep doin’ your thing, and I’ll support whatever you do.

    …also, “I Can’t Make A Mistake”. One the first artists on a Neptune track.

  • Silly Willy

    I think it also has to do with the definition the showbiz and pop culture today tend to give to womanhood as a whole.

    Being a hard-working, skilled, strong-willed female artist don’t do it no more. Ask Jean Grae. Sure, few of those women still manage to make it (Norah Jones, Alicia Keys, Lily Allen…), but in a culture as testosterone-driven as hip hop, they can’t survive.

    On the flipside, you have someone who happen to be famous for showing her kitten to the mass every week who’s deemed celebrity and whose opinions many people consider relevant…..Then the so-called upcoming artist claim to have their money on their mind and don’t even try to make us believe that they’re in it for the love of the art no more…..

  • El Tico Loco

    What? Antoinette didn’t get a shoutout? jk

    It never occurred to me how difficult a balance would take to be a female emcees, Lauryn had that, Jean Grae got but nobody in the matrix is checkin for her, so ya’ll stuck as either being the superlyrical dykish lookin type, to the mediocre to no skill havin “pop” entertainer. I’m sure I’m not the only cat that wishes there was a female emcee that you would really support cuz she can spit, but you also fantasize about her swallowing (sorry to easy to pass up), you know like Fight Klub meets strip club type rapper.

    • $ykotic/Don McCaine

      That was funny Tico!

      You know Lyte took her out years ago…

  • capcobra

    can’t forget about the girl uneek from the bounce squad..she was tuff as hell too..anyhow i think the problem is the girls nowadays ain’t trying to be b-girls..they wanna be rappers/singers/dancers/strippers/actresses/models etc all in one…and that’s cool..but if i was a female rapper i’d play the lil sister/big sister/soul sister role..that way men respect you and your opinion…and then you wouldn’t have to worry about selling sex..cause nobody wanna hit they sister and most men kill over they

    • Devi Gargon

      Co Sign Capcobra

      I’ve been out performing a lot lately and always on the internet. The females I see are mostly “models” who someone told them they could sing, sometimes writes some bars, and is trying to be Ms Universe at the same time!!!

      I like Lyte because She looked like a woman, she rocked like a man, and she cared about her craft.

      With that said memorable MC Lyte Moments:
      (sorry I gotta do it…)
      - I first heard you on the Cha Cha Cha Video my cousin video taped in 89 (damn that’s a banger)

      - “Paper Thin” is my fav. I just chopped up the drums last week for a kit I built in my keyboard.

      -My sis had every girl artist all the time, so Martha’s Vineyard 1990 it was Act Like You Know and All Hail the Queen

      -I rememeber watching Aresenio when you told him he could be a ROUGHNEAK. I was cracking up!!!!

      - For some crazy reason, everytime Rock the Party is played, all the grown folks can’t stay in their seats.

      - Finally, in 2009 you music get’s play by me 3 to 4 times a month, I just put shorty onto “I’m Not Havin It”, that shits the story of her life!!!

      Back to the topic, right now, its as hard for ANY female emcee to get on, as it is for any Male MC that chooses SUBSTANCE over STYLE

      Bless You Lyte, if you ever get down, just read these comments!!!

  • Enlightened


    Anybody who knows me closely knows that you’re my favorite MC of all time – not favorite female MC – favorite MC period.

    But EL TICO LOCO commented on it first…

    you still won’t say Antoinette’s name because it might give her fame huh?
    I can’t lie, back in the day when she hit, we was feelin her and thought she was tight as hell – at least the singles, never heard an album and then…

    you wrapped her up. For all the credit that “10% Dis” gets, I always thought “Shut The Fuck Up” was waaaaaayyyy better. I liked the flow better, the rhymes and especially the beat!

    That’s how you end a battle.

  • $ykotic/Don McCaine

    Damn I totally forgot about Non Chalant!

    “5 o’clock in the morning…”

    The last femcee I saw doing her thing was Jean Grae. She would tear up all the performances in Brooklyn.

    And I agree with her on why she fell back. She’s not showing the poom poom to get on. I would like to see more female’s with that mindset.

    Just like Silly Willy said, I’m tired of going to see an emcee sausage fest. I wanna see some women rock the mic!

    • Silly Willy

      What’s good $yk ? Appreciate the shout!

      More women on the mic = more women in the crowd at a rap concert

      Now who doesn’t want that ? I know I do!!!

      • $ykotic/Don McCaine

        No doubt SW.

        Lyte got me on a femcee binge right now…

        “True Honey Buns”-Bahamadia(another sick Preemo track)

        “Paper Thin”-MC Lyte(love that video lady!)

        “All Glocks Down”-Heather B(remember her?)

        “5 O’clock”-Non Chalant(fire)

        Thank you!!!

  • Brown Suga

    I love rap hell I love music period, but most the rap I listen to is men. I want to bump some female rappers. Eve was cool but then she went to pop. Lil kim and Foxy was cool to but I want to hear something other than sex, etc.

    If yall can put me on to some female rappers please let me know

  • bigone

    Does it make me sexist to say that the only female MC’s album I’ve ever heard that I enjoyed was the Miseducation of Lauryn Hill?

    All other female MCs seem to just talk about how they’re total hoes or how ignorant everything else is for acting like they’re total hoes. Fuckin boring.

  • http://-- gaddic

    A legend but honestly if Lauryn hill hadn’t retired Would she praised as the best female mc?
    HELL NO!!!
    “Lauryn said her heart was in Zion”
    “I wish her heart was in rhyming!”
    Word Kanye


    Someone PLEASE take this dumb chic Shakur’s pic off of MC Lyte’s posts!! It’s an insult!

  • El Tico Loco

    Yo I just played Cappuccino since Lyte week has had me in me in a Lyte mood and I forgot how deep the storyline was on that joint.


    i know what happened to the female emcee so many years they were sex symbols along with being rappers. it is hard to seperate that image guys loves so much. like i remember when lady luck was trying to come back with babs and i think it was amil. now she said she was slimming down for health reason but all of sudden she was doing the sex symbol thing. it’s like carry yourself with some respect and you will get some trina has even changed her image some what. plus i think for women rappers to many fall back on the sex rhymes to get attention. go out here and steal the show on your guest spots show us you going be the best rapper period not just female rapper.

  • Pana

    I know Lauryn let a lot of us down but as a mother I respect her decision to let her heart be in Zion (her son!) over rhyming. That line from Kanye IMO was very ignorant and selfish. I would love to hear her rip the mic again but if she chooses to be a mom first and that has made her have to abandon what she loves (hip hop) then my hats off to her. Respect is due people!

  • LYTE



    • chillin mayne

      RAHHHHHHHHHH digga!!…and lauryn hill… pretty much da only females i get down with.. mc lyte, no disrespect, but you were before my time, so i know NOTHING at ALL bout ur music(plus i was brought up in houston..i aint ever these screwheads bang anything other than screw)…i like how u think tho..ima have to check out sum of ur music see wat you was about

  • WreckAB

    Lauryn Hill made it known worldwide that female emcees & male emcees could be recognized for MUSIC, pure unadulterated creativity. And this was well into the hey day of the “sex sells” generation. She raised a bar that still hasn’t been vaulted by any sex in hip hop. For that reason alone she will remain in my personal hall of fame. Lyte ur there(chk “Cappuchino 2009″), Latifah, Boss, Monie, Lady Luck, Shawnna etc. These days, I dnt care who u are, just bring the music back

  • John Cauner

    Respect to MC Lyte. I love the joint she did with Premier back in ’06-Wonder Years.

  • joe castro

    kinda off topic…

    but is it me or is having lyte guest blog, the perfect way to apologize for last week’s guest blogger?

    i mean we wanted insight and perspective from a woman in the game, and we got that plus more with lyte.

    all is forgiven.