Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Snowed In With Lyte Week, Day 3: The Voice Gets Wetter

Any other rapper would've jumped head first into a rapid descent after peaking with such an amazing debut, but MC Lyte managed to come just as correct her second time out. I can remember "Cha Cha Cha" playing every single day on Yo! and Rap City during my high school days and being excited every single time it came on. I don't even need to play this record to revisit it; I can recall the King of Chill's ill samples that still manage to get eclipsed by the ultra-funky bassline, Lyte's voice ("The hip-hop maniac, uptown brainiac/ In full effect, MC Lyte is back" as she later quoted for her aforementioned joint "God Said Lyte"), the horn stabs that introduce K Rock's scratches on the hook.

Lyrically, she's not really saying anything amazing, but how she says it is just perfect: "And better than before, as if that was possible/ My competition: you'll find them in the hospital/ Visiting time? I think it's on a Sunday/ But notice: they only get one day... to shine/ The rest of the week is all mine/ And I'll blind you with the science that the others have yet to find/ So come along, and I'll lead you the right way/ Just clap your hands to the words I say." I don't know, it might be a generational thing, but to me this is one of the few absolute, must-have 12" records out there - great song, instrumental included, and a sweet picture cover (her first).

I just wish I could say the B-side was at all up to what we heard on the A. It's nice to get any exclusive, 12"-only cut on your singles, I guess; but they really phoned it in here. "House Power" is a twelve minute(!) long house song. It features a few vocal snippets from Lyte, but she never raps on this song. Production-wise, it's fine as far as vocal-less house tracks go; but there's just nothing here musically to sustain twelve minutes, so it becomes a real endurance test. You're supposed to leave them always wanting more, right? Now asking the DJ, "for fuck's sake, don't you have any other records you can play?" But I guess they figured with an A-side this strong, they could really throw whatever the hell they wanted on the other side and we'd be happy with this single. ...And they were right.

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