MC Lyte – Ain’t No Other (June 22, 1993)

The next two are new additions to my collection, which also happen to be released on the same day. It would have been perfect if I could have got these done last week for International Women’s Day, but a brother was busy. Place this one right before Professor X’s Puss ‘N Boots.

I’ve always appreciated and respected MC Lyte as an emcee. Yes, she had some help writing her material (especially early on in her career), but through the years she’s given us quality rhymes and one of the dopest female rapping voices in hip-hop history. On the flipside, none of her first three albums were consistent. They may have had a handful of decent songs, but none of the albums were good enough to be considered classics, in my humble opinion. Regardless of a classic album or even a commercially successful one, she would return in 1993 to release her fourth, and final album on First Priority/Atlantic, Ain’t No Other.

On her last effort Act Like You Know, Lyte slightly curved the hard edge she established on her first two releases, for a more feminine feel, and incorporated a little r&b vibe, thanks to the production duo of Wolf & Epic, who produced a third of that album. Wolf & Epic’s footprint is nowhere to be found on Ain’t No Other, as Lyte would recruit producers she’s worked with in the past (Audio Two) and some new heads (Backspin, K-Cut & Sir Scratch (from Main Source) and Markell Riley & team), hoping to bring back the raw sound that Lyte fans were accustom to.

Ain’t No Other didn’t do huge numbers, but it did give Lyte her first gold selling single. You’ll have to read the full post to find out which song it was. Or you can just Google it. The choice is yours.

Intro – The first voice you hear on Ain’t No Other is no other, than the Blastmaster KRS-One introducing the listener to the album.

Brooklyn  – Lyte uses the first song of the evening to represent her borough. The Markell Riley/Tyron Fyffe/Franklin Grant (who from here on out I will only refer to as Funk Mama Production) concocted instrumental is solid, but Lyte’s overly aggressive rhyme style sounds forced.

Ruffneck – This was the first single from Ain’t No Other, and the first gold selling single of Lyte’s career. I didn’t like this song back in the day for a few different reasons. First off, the Funk Mama produced instrumental sounds corny, and I’m not buying Lyte’s new-found gangster bitch image. This is pretty much the female answer to Apache’s (RIP) “Gangsta Bitch”, only with a trash instrumental.

What’s My Name Yo – K-Cut & Sir Scratch get credit for the jazzy backdrop (the sample at the end of the song could have been used as its own instrumental for a different song…it’s pretty dope), as Lyte demands that anybody within earshot put respec’ on her name.

Lil Paul – Apparently Lyte was a victim of a “hit it and quit it”, and now that the culprit won’t call her back, her salt and hurt feelings have her dissin’ his skills in the bed and bangin’ out his boy, Lil Paul (who according to Lyte has the wrong adjective before his name). Someone going by Funk provides a very nice instrumental that compliments Lyte’s rhymes, well. This was pretty dope.

Ain’t No Other – For the title track, Backspin samples the hardest organ loop I’ve heard in a while and turns it into a sick instrumental for Lyte to talk her shit over. This one goes extra hard, folks.

Hard Copy – Lyte invites Lin Que (who gets credit for writing the lyrics on this one) and Kink Ez to join her on this one, as each of the ladies does their best Onyx impersonation while reciting the same rhymes on three different verses, hence the song title. Backspin’s instrumental (with a co-production credit going to Master Tee) is kind of dope, but conceptually this was pretty weak.

Fuck That Motherfucking Bullshit – Yes, that is really the song title. Lyte revisits her “I’m Not Having It” with Positive K days, as her guest Big Vaughn (who get the writing credit for this one) gets brutally honest and explicit with his intentions, and Lyte shoots him down with each attempt (wait..did she just tell him to get his friends to suck is own dick? Unless the “friends” she referring to are his lips, that line doesn’t make sense) The back and forth is mildly entertainment, but the hook is embarrassingly bad and Milk’s backdrop is trash.

Intro – KRS-One returns to introduce the listener to side two of the album, which really only applies if you’re listening to Ain’t No Other on vinyl or a cassette player that doesn’t have auto-reverse.

I Go On – This was the second single from Ain’t No Other and probably my favorite song on the album. The Funky Mama Production team hooks up a super mellow instrumental that Lyte blesses beautifully with her dope vocal and solid rhymes.

One Nine Nine Three – Backspin hooks up another dope backdrop that our host rocks over, very well.

Never Heard Nothin’ Like This – Audio Two lays down a decent instrumental and Lyte brags and boasts her way through it. She even manages to mix a little Spanish, pig-Latin and French into her rhymes. I’m not mad at this one.

Can I Get Some Dap – This one reeks of filler material.

Let Me Adem – The first few times I listened to this one it was a yawner, but after a few more listens Backspin’s instrumental starts to grow on you. Lyte’s rhymes aren’t great on this one, but still serviceable.

Steady Fucking – After KRS-One warns all within earshot not to test MC Lyte on the mic(the exact same way he did about himself before Sex And Violence‘s “Like A Throttle”), Audio Two drops the worst instrumental imaginable for a dis record, and guess what our host does with it? She goes at her arch nemesis, Roxanne Shante. Lyte does land some decent blows, but never delivers that knock out punch. Maybe the dryness of the instrumental zapped her motivation.

The following songs are listed as bonus tracks on the CD version of Ain’t No Other:

Who’s House – While feuding with the Fugees, Jeru Da Damaja once said “I heard some emcees wanna bring it but a female is one of their strongest men”. That line can be applied to this song. Lyte bows out of this one and lets her all male crew jump on the mic (including Big Vaughn, for the second time tonight) and they all fail, miserably. I’m still trying to figure out which was worse: the malnourished rhyming or Audio Two’s feeble instrumental.

I Cram To Understand U – Lyte gives one of the singles from her debut album Lyte As A Rock, a remake, as D.J. Doc breathes new life into Audio Two’s empty drumbeat, with a new drum pattern and a well-welcomed Barry White loop. Lyte even re-raps the lyrics and you can hear the maturation of her voice from 1990 to ’93.

Lyte sounds strong on the mic (although at times, a little too strong (i.e. “Brooklyn” and “Ruffneck” )) throughout Ain’t No Other, but like her past projects, the inconsistency on the production side brings down the overall quality of the album. There are some good moments on Ain’t No Other (all of the Backspin produced joints shine), it’s just the mediocre ones outweigh the good ones. Maybe she got it right her fifth go round. Stay tuned.








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