Sometimes we forget that some of the greatest diss records in the 80s happened to have been from women. Let’s bring it back to MC Lyte’s “10% Dis.” In 1987, Audio Two (Milk Dee and Gizmo) just released “Top Billin’,” a very successful song which has been sampled 9 billion times since. A year later, Audio Two’s little sister, MC Lyte, came through with her own album – Lyte as a Rock.
Hot damn, hot damn, hot damn, hot damn
Hot damn! Hot damn ho, here we go again
Suckers steal a beat, when you know they can’t win
You stole the beat, are you havin’ fun?
Now me and the Aud’s gonna show you how it’s done
You are what I label as a, nerver plucker
You’re pluckin my nerves, you MC sucka
I thought I oughta tell you, better yet warn
“10% Dis” was a diss track towards another female rapper, Antoinette. Antoinette came out on Hurby ‘Luv Bug’ Azor’s compilation album with a track called “I Got an Attitude,” which just so happened to bite Audio Two’s “Top Billin’” beat. So, of course, Lyte stood up and address it.
That I am like a Stock, and my word is Bond
Like James, killin’ everybody in sight
The code’s three-six, the name is Lyte
After this jam, I really don’t give a damn
Cause I’mma run and tell your whole damn clan
That you’re a:
“Beat bitter! Dope style taker!”
Tell you to your face you ain’t nuttin’ but a faker!”
Lyte makes reference to herself being a stock, as in the stock market, and her words are bond in the sense that they’re profitable. At the same time, she flips ‘Bond,’ into James Bond and embraces his killing ways to ‘murder’ Antoinette lyrically. The code’s three-six, though I’m still not 100% positive, may very well refer to the Ternary Golay code, which consist of 3*power of 6, which makes it a 729 codeword matrix. Don’t quote me on this one, though.
Hit me why don’tcha, hit me why don’tcha?
Milk’s bodyguard, is my bodyguard too
You wanna get hurt, well this is what you do
You put your left foot up, and then your right foot next
Follow instructions, don’t lose the context
Thirty days a month your mood is rude
We know the cause of your bloody attitude
MC Lyte makes reference to a line in “Top Billin,” staying ‘Stop scheming, and looking hard / I got a great big bodyguard,’ ultimately establishing the family bond. The last two lines refer back to Antoinette’s song title “I Got an Attitude.” Lyte humorously states that Antoinette has an attitude because she’s on her period. (hahahha)
Your style is smooth, even for a cheatin’ mic
You should won applause as a Rakim sound-alike
Here’s a Milk-Bone, a sign of recognition
Don’t turn away; I think you should listen close
Don’t boast, you said you wasn’t braggin’
You fuckin’ liar, you’re chasin’ a chuckwagon
By all means, Antoinette did have a dope flow, and I can see where Lyte’s coming from with the Rakim audio-comparison, but not entirely. Lyte offering a Milk-Bone (a dog treat) is a more clever, less vulgar way of calling her a bitch. The following lines are, in my opinion, what started the rest of this rap battle. After this track, Antoinette responded with “Lights Out, Party Over,” spitting ‘A 10% dis? Here’s a 100% beef.’
Back to “10% Dis,” though.
The only way you learn you have to be taught
That if a beat is not for sale, then it can’t be bought
When you leave the mic, you claim it’s smokin’
Unlike Rakim, you are a Joke
And I think you oughta stop, before you gets in too deep
Cause with a sister like Lyte, yo I don’t sleep
Lyte refers back to Rakim’s track “I ain’t no Joke,” but claims that because Antoinette jacked the beat, she is a joke. At the end of the verse, she makes it known that she is Milk Dee and Gizmo’s little sister, and she’s gonna step up to protect her family.
Ultimately, Lyte squashed all beef (despite Antoinette’s attempt to come back at her) with “Shut the Eff Up! (Hoe),” where she responded with ‘In ’10% [Dis]‘ I popped your head in a microwave/ I’m into blenders now, so you better behave.’