With her new series Partners In Rhyme, veteran Hip-Hop artist MC Lyte aims to resolve some generational gaps in the music industry. Executive produced and co-created by Lyte and Bentley Kyle Evans, the comedic drama follows Luscious T (Precious Way), a rising rapper with an Instagram-fueled career. Lyte plays Luscious T’s aunt, rap legend Lana Crawford, who offers the aspirant star much-needed mentorship and management.
The show’s core cast is rounded out by Lana’s best friend and assistant Victoria “Vicky” Sims (Cloie Wyatt Taylor), her freeloading younger brother Mekhai Crawford (Ron G.), high-powered label executive Hazel Wilson (Rolanda Watts), and trusted recording engineer Boston Jacobs (Wesley Jonathan).
“I love the first episode because you really get to see how it all goes down,” MC Lyte shares with VIBE. “It’s a perfect setup for what the story is all about and what the characters will feel like throughout the season. Another favorite of mine is the Richard Lawson episode where he’s playing our dad. To have a legendary actor on our set is phenomenal.”
Although she’s new to the silver screen, MC Lyte played a pivotal role in developing the idea for Partners In Rhyme. “The show came to be because Wayne Conley and I came up with [the] concept many years ago,” she says. “It was just sitting; we hadn’t done anything with it. I went and had a meeting with Bentley Kyle Evans, who has been the executive producer of Martin and [The Jamie Foxx Show] and many more shows. We sat and he loved the idea, and we built it out a little bit more. Then we sat in a room and co-wrote the first episode. We sat with a roomful of writers that he had on staff and told them what we wanted to see throughout the season, and it was really just cookie-cutter, in terms of him doing this all the time. All we had to do was inject this particular idea, and then let the system work around him to bring it to fruition.”
As MC Lyte’s character attempts to create a superstar out of her niece, the series explores the music industry from all angles, which she hopes can give audiences a new perspective. As a veteran rapper in real life and on the show, her expertise in Hip-Hop surfaces in certain lessons learned throughout Luscious T’s journey to fame.
“I think it definitely can be used as a learning tool because we go through the motions of what it means for an executive at a record label,” Lyte explains. So, [viewers] get a chance to see what happens behind the scenes, but they also get a chance to see how a label works, and they get to see what it means to be a young artist coming into the business and some of the things that they have to face. Because, as an artist, you can really love what it is that you do, but you can never lose sight that this is an actual business. If it weren’t, it wouldn’t have gotten as far as it’s gotten, in terms of music and books, and fashion and magazines, and radio shows and radio stations, based on just Hip-Hop music.”
In addition to shedding light on the business of Hip-Hop, Lyte also intends for Partners In Rhyme to explore what it’s like for a teenager to grow up within that machine. In doing so, she drew from her own childhood experience as an adolescent entertainer.
“We wanted to see someone young, coming out of high school, and what it means to try to balance all of that,” Lyte says. “I got my first deal in my senior year of high school. I’m literally walking through the halls, and they heard my songs on the radio. So, I wanted [Luscious T] to experience that and what it means. The pressures of social media, the pressures of high school, and students wanting to challenge her and being jealous, quite frankly, of what it is that she was bringing to the table in the world of music.”
Partners In Rhyme debuted on the AMC Network streamer ALLBLK on November 18, 2021. Watch the official trailer for MC Lyte’s Partners In Rhyme above.