MC Lyte

Ain't No Other

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Whenever a hardcore rapper becomes more commercial, hip-hop's hardcore is likely to cry "sellout." That's exactly what happened to MC Lyte when she increased her R&B/pop appeal with 1991's Act Like You Know. The album wasn't without grit or integrity and even had some strong sociopolitical numbers, but hip-hop purists can be every bit as rigid as jazz purists -- and they tend to be wary of any attempt to cross over. So in 1993, Lyte ditched the pop elements and emphasized hardcore rap on Ain't No Other. The song that did the most to define the album was "Ruffneck," a catchy, inspired single that found Lyte expressing her preference for ragamuffin street kids from the inner city. "Ruffneck" expressed Lyte's allegiance to hip-hop's hardcore, and she's equally rugged and hard-edged on tunes like "Fuck that Motherfucking Bullshit," "Hard Copy," and "Brooklyn." As a bonus track, First Priority includes a remix of "I Cram to Understand U," the song that had put Lyte on the map in 1987. Not earth-shattering but generally decent, Ain't No Other will appeal to those who prefer Lyte's more hardcore side.

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