The legendary Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five rapper caused a stir with his recent Art of Dialogue interview, during which he claimed Em isn’t a top five rapper because he’s white, Weezy couldn’t be the best rapper because he uses Auto-Tune and nobody wants to rap like Em or Kendrick.
His comments about Eminem were slammed by 50 Cent, who told Melle Mel to get the “fuck outta here,” while Fat Joe and Papoose also came to Slim Shady’s defence, albeit in more respectful fashion.
Now, Melle Mel has reacted to all the chatter over his response to Billboard‘s Top 50 Rappers of All Time list in a video for his Hip Hop Corner podcast.
“Melle Mel has nothing against nobody in Hop Hop,” he began while lifting weights in the gym. “I’ve been in Hip Hop for 40 years. Very competitive, really have nothing against nobody. I’m not jealous of nobody, I’m not intimidated by anybody or anything, and I’m not bitter. I just come across as I come across ’cause I’m a man and I say what I say, and when I say what I say, basically, I mean what I say.”
He continued: “Everything that I said, that I commented on, it was to comment on what he wrote and who he put on this said list. And I think Billboard is not known for Hip Hop, of course, they’re known for records. So obviously, Billboard is more leaning toward guys that made records, compared to guys like myself that put in all the time in Hip Hop.
“We’re responsible for the genre. We’re the biggest influences in the genre, and if you ask anybody that knows anything about true Hip Hop, they will tell you that. If you ask anybody that calls themselves an MC, they will be the first to tell you that there is no modern day rap or Hip Hop of that nature if it wasn’t for Grandmaster Flash, if it wasn’t for the Furious Five, if it wasn’t for Melle Mel, if it wasn’t for [Keef] Cowboy.”
He added: “Like I said, the word ‘Hip Hop’ came from my crew.”
Melle Mel addresses backlash over his comments about Eminem, Kendrick Lamar and Lil Wayne. pic.twitter.com/OQjnJ0sjOY
— The Art Of Dialogue (@ArtOfDialogue_) March 8, 2023
Melle Mel specifically addressed his comments about Eminem’s skin color, denying allegations that he’s “racist” while referencing Slim Shady’s own lyrics on 2002’s “White America.”
“Onto the white elephant in the room, ‘Melle Mel said that Eminem is only number five on the list because he was white,'” he said. “And I guess that started the uproar. Everybody’s just so angry that I would say that. I’ve even been branded a racist, which is neither here nor there because that’s almost impossible.
“I’ve been playing for all different kinds of people all my life. That is so far off-kilt that I don’t understand. But Eminem made a record, I guess the album was ‘White America’ or the record was ‘White in America,’ where he said he wouldn’t be as popular if he wasn’t white.”
“Moving on from that fact, he also in another record, ‘Till I Collapse,’ named maybe five or six individuals and he put himself behind these five or six individuals. And I had said that he wouldn’t be in the top five other than the fact that he was white, but then he said that.
“So now my point, and it’s very simple, if he basically said what I said, we said very similar things, how could what he say not be racist but then what I said was racist? In other words, if he’s right for saying what he’s saying, then the only reason that I could be wrong is that I’m Black and I said it.”
Melle Mel went on to clarify he has no issues with Kendrick Lamar or Lil Wayne while reminding fans of his own contributions to Hip Hop.
“I have nothing against nobody, I have nothing against Kendrick Lamar, I have nothing against Lil Wayne,” he said. “I have nothing against any rapper that ever lived because I know what I did for the culture, what my crew and era did for the culture, it eclipses what anybody could ever say they have done for the culture.”