MC Lyte shepherds the rap career of a technicolor wig sporting teenager in Partners In Rhyme. The ALLBLK sitcom features the trailblazing rapper as a hip-hop pioneer named Lana Crawford who becomes an executive to steer the career of her rapper niece, Luscious T.
The show was created and executive produced by Lyte and Bentley Kyle Evans (Dad Stop Embarrassing Me!, Millennials (I)). It dives into the tension between artists who fought their way into the industry before one could grow an audience in the palm of their hand.
The eager spitter Lyte’s character is raising is portrayed by Precious Way (Queens, Days Of Our Lives). She earned her role on the show the way many modern rappers find their way to success – through a screen. ALLBLK partnered with the American Black Film Festival (ABFF) to host the “Shoot Your Shot” competition on their opening night, seeking out self-tape submissions from young performers.
Many criticize the way the internet has infiltrated every aspect of the entertainment industry but Lyte appreciates the removal of geographical barriers to success. “I think that’s spectacular,” she said. “Literally nothing can hold you back so you can participate and submit, and I love the concept of that.”
Way stood out immediately in the search. “From the very beginning we had our eyes on different characters but the person who helped us pull it all together was like ‘she’s going to be the one watch,’” Lyte revealed.
Her performance displayed the duality that can live inside an Insta-famous teenager forced to sit through daily gym classes.
“She definitely captured the youth of the character, the sassiness of the character and the vulnerability of what it means to be a niece of someone who has made it in the business and has legendary status. But she also had the confidence of a 17 year old who has become an internet sensation,” she said. “I think she was able to cover all the, the entire gamut. I was very happy with her.”
Lyte’s support of her hip-hop peers and newcomers is well documented. She appeared in the ABC news special The Real Queens of Hip-Hop alongside the City Girls, Lakeyah, Lil Mama, Da Brat, Eve, Trina, MC Sha-Rock, Roxanne Shanté and Yo-Yo. She is pleased with the bridges that have been built in the sisterhood of hip-hop.
“I’m excited about it,” she said. “Just yesterday, literally I talked to Tierra Wack, Rhapsody, and Yo-Yo, and the day before that, of course ,we went and we celebrated Missy getting her star on the Hollywood Walk Of Fame and everybody was there to show their appreciation and adoration for her.”
“I think it’s really beautiful when we can see all of the generations of women in hip-hop come together,” she added.
The show honors the women who nurtured hip-hop’s potential without a microphone in their hand as well. Rolonda Watts plays record executive Hazel, playfully representing the contributions of sharp women like Shari Bryant and Sylvia Rhone.
“Ever since Sylvia Robinson with that Sugar Hill label and what it was that she was able to do with it – and still to this day, people really don’t know the history of the label and how all of those songs from that label came from her genius. And so there’ve been many other women of color who have been executives in executive positions in music and in film and TV. And I thought it was important for people to be able to see that,” she said.
Lyte recently made her directorial debut with a “short called Break Up In Love.” She plans on telling more stories on screen and through music through her production companies Sunni Gyrl and 3L Productions.
Lyte and her partners opted to work with ALLBLK on the series thanks to the vision of “Brett Dismuke and Nikki Love,” she shared. They, along with Farah Noel, have consistently worked to expand the reach of the storytelling platform formerly known as UMC as the streaming wars constantly compete for eyeballs.
“Sitting down with them in that meeting was the best feeling in terms of authenticity,” she said adding she was struck by “them wanting something original and flavorful and real for their network.”
“They saw the concept and they got it right away. It wasn’t any hesitancy at all. It was all green lights, let’s go forward. And you want to do business with people who are certain and sure about who it is that they’re getting into business with. And they were really excited. And so were we.”
Partners In Rhyme is now available to stream on ALLBLK.