[Former Tommy Boy Records president Monica Lynch recently sat down with hip-hop personality and SOHH correspondent Shawn Setaro on his popular “The Cipher” podcast. Listen to the full interview and check out five gems she dropped during the Q&A.]

On moving to NYC in the late 1970s:

“I always tell people I went straight from Laguardia to Studio 54, which is an exaggeration—but not by much. I started hanging out between the Mudd Club and Studio 54 and living in the Chelsea Hotel and doing all of the late 70s-early 80s Downtown wannabe moves.”

On Afrika Bambaataa’s hit song “Planet Rock”:

“It was early 1982, and the track had been recorded. I remember very clearly that we had plates for ‘Planet Rock,’ and Tom [Silverman] and I went in his car and drove over to WHBI and delivered “Planet Rock” to Mr. Magic, who was on the air with Marley [Marl]. He played it, and it was like, bam, huge. That record hit so fast and so hard, and it was an amazing thing to witness.”

On how rap was viewed in the early 1980s:

“Rap was still considered a disgrace to the race in many bourgie black radio and black music departments at major labels. It wasn’t embraced. A lot of [the support] came from college radio stations and club DJs.”

On first meeting Queen Latifah:

“She came in as a young girl, probably 18 at the time, and she really had this otherworldly grace and intelligence. She’s sitting here with a sweatshirt and jeans, coming from New Jersey—which at the time wasn’t such a cool place to be coming from—but she had great presence.”

On first hearing De La Soul:

“[Their demo] really had a sound that no one had done. It was completely different. And it was either going to be a group that completely captured peoples’ imaginations, or they weren’t going to do anything. There was no middle ground. They weren’t already going down an established lane. They created a whole new lane.”