During an interview with The Art Of Dialogue, the Hip Hop pioneer made it clear he doesn’t think Lil Wayne should regard himself among the best. According to him, Weezy can’t take the top spot for one specific reason— autotune.
The conversation came about while Melle Mel discussed Billboard and VIBE‘s 50 Greatest Rappers of All Time List. The OG rapper said Lil Wayne’s rap skills are questionable because people “don’t even know his real voice.”
“How could you know. How?” he said of Wayne, who bagged the No.7 spot on the list.
He continued: “If his voice is on autotune, was something wrong with his voice for them to put the autotune on his voice? Or is it just something that they did in the studio to give it that rawness? But how could you know?”
Melle Mel says Lil Wayne is not the greatest rapper ever because he uses autotune. pic.twitter.com/NsV5jPYuTl
— The Art Of Dialogue (@ArtOfDialogue_) March 4, 2023
The comments come on the heels of Wanye’s own statements regarding the list during an interview with Apple Music’s Zane Lowe.
“Man, who the hell is before me?” Weezy said after Lowe asked his thoughts. “Was the list including ALL Hip Hop, like before and after as well? I can deal with that.”
He added: “I will tell you that I am a muthafuckin’ one. Everybody whose names you named, they also know I’m number one. Go ask ’em. They know what it is.”
Mel, who landed at No.48 on the list, said that if his legendary group, Grandmaster Flash and Furious Five, had used autotune, their iconic track, “The Message,” wouldn’t have had the same impact.
“It would’ve made the record sound a little bit more cheesier,” he said.
While Melle Mel said that Wayne is “entitled to his own opinion,” he doubts if any other rap greats would agree with his sentiments.
“If you have five capable ‘so-called great rappers’ on a panel, I guarantee you, Lil Wayne would not be No.1,” he said.
This isn’t the first time the seasoned rapper has brought up his thoughts on Billboard and VIBE‘s list. In another clip, Melle Mel claimed that while Eminem and Kendrick Lamar have talent, “nobody wants to rap like them.”
Specifically, regarding Kendrick, who landed at No.2 on the list, Mel said his music doesn’t “translate into the street part of Hip Hop.”
“I don’t know what records he made like that,” he said. “I might know one or two of them, but I don’t think you even hear Kendrick in the club like that.”
When it came time to his thoughts on Em, who ranked No.5, Mel didn’t hold back. The rapper said he believed the Detroit rapper was only considered a top MC because of the color of his skin.
“Obviously he’s a capable rapper,” he said. “If you was talking about sales, he’s sold more than everybody. If you were talking about rhyme style, okay he got a rhyme style. But he’s white. He’s white!”
50 Cent later came Eminem’s defense, saying that Melle Mel doesn’t understand the culture has “grown so much” from its first iterations.
“There was more money selling dope than being in Hip Hop when Melly Mel [sic] was popping, the culture has grown so much.” 50 Cent said. “I am not sure if it would be what it is today with out artist like Eminem. Shit I am not sure I would be who I am with out him but you know it is competitive so n-ggas gonna hate. LOL fuck outta here ! We sucker free.”
However, Chuck D disagreed with the G-Unit rapper, stating that Melle Mel knew what it took to be the best because the Furious Five MC was a dominant force in Hip Hop’s early years. He also compared the rapper to NBA Hall of Famer Wilt Chamberlain.
“Understand Melle Mel was so dominant over the rest of the pack in the first 5 years of records its hard to comprehend for born after MC folk,” he wrote. “Its why i call him Wilt Chamberlain and Wilt had a crate of critiques for the rappers after him including ME. Just Let Mel be Wilt lol.”