As I look back on this career of mine there are probably many things I could find that I would change. Decisions that were made by me, or for me, that I wouldn’t necessarily agree with now. There used to be a time I wouldn’t even want to discuss those areas, but now I have a certain amount of freedom that I’ve given myself to talk about past mistakes and stoooopid choices (lol). So ride with me down memory “I might have effed up lane.”
Growing up within the First Priority Music family afforded me the opportunity to see how a label operated. I stuffed envelopes with records and put stickers, buttons and pins in the mail for my own fan clubs. If there was anything I learned, it was there is nothing more gratifying then participating with the ground work that ultimately will shape a career; be it mine or anyone else’s. Before long the independent FPM was signed to Atlantic Records, with the ability to use a larger staff on deck at the major. The success came quick to outsiders who were truly unaware of all the YMCA performances and the dive clubs we visited up and down the eastern shore.
We knew every DJ and as a matter of fact, we thanked them all on the back of every release. Every DJ that helped in our FPM mission. We even knew their government names and their families. We’d meet at all the conventions and music seminars. We had a tie and a desire to make history together in this new genre of music. As artists we wanted to make new innovative music and as DJs they wanted to be the first to play it. They wanted to break that record and show their listeners they knew a hit when they heard it. They prided themselves on educating their listeners with music they had never heard.
There are many DJs today who knew me when I was 16 and wet behind the ears. From Red Alert to Greg Street to Chuck Chill Out to Tony Touch to Konan and a bunch of others. I remember calling Chuck Chill Out at 3 a.m. asking him to play my record “I Cram to Understand.” He didn’t even know how I got his number, but what he did know was little Lyte was on the grind and wasn’t stopping until she made some history. We laugh about me stalking him whenever we see one another!!
The problem came to be when I, as an artist, lost communication with each and every DJ who repped for MC Lyte. The schedule got busy and the road became my home not allowing me to be at my spot for months at a time, not to mention Thanksgiving was supplied by a die hard member of the fan club. They would bring home-cooked turkey, dressing and mac & cheese to the hotel for the entire crew of 12 that traveled with me; talk about happy to see REAL food! Waffle house is alright, but not 7 days a week (lol).
Anyhow, with all that movement I was content with this newfound section major labels had created now known as the “mix show department.” This mix show person knew all the DJs and could get a message, records as well as pictures to all of them at once. The pressure was gone. However, with that relief, I let go of the friendships I had built along the line with all those DJs. It was to hard to try too keep up.
How did I mess up? I gave too much power to the middle man in allowing him to be my mouthpiece. There used to be a time most DJs would talk to artists and tell them what could help a record or increase radio play. They would share their views on the mix and who they thought you should feature on it. Some still do, while others hate on the sideline not understanding a movement that was here before them and will be here long after.
Matter of fact I got a call from Hot 97′s own Greg Street the other night telling me how hot he thought “Rocking With the Best” was. He said, “Lyte this record is really big, but not unless you put a new cat on it, it’s not going to go the distance it could.” That’s his opinion and I respect it and him. I appreciate that call and Greg knows me well enough to know that I’m going to take his advice. : )
Sincerely yours, MC Lyte