In the latest segment from his conversation with The Art of Dialogue, the Hip Hop pioneer has given his thoughts on Nicki Minaj coming in at No. 10 on Billboard and VIBE’s 50 Greatest Rappers of All Time list ahead of Rakim (No.13) and LL Cool J (No. 14). According to Mel, there’s no way Nicki should come before the Hip Hop legends.
“You know that’s some bullshit, come on now,” Melle Mel said when asked about Nicki coming in the Top 10. “[Big Daddy Kane] and them and Rakim and them they done put up 40, come on now, and I actually like Nicki Minaj but that’s some bullshit. You gotta understand what Hip Hop really is, whoever made what record.”
He added: “Rakim should never be [No. 14] because his style changed the game. The average rapper, from a certain point to a certain point, you had to rap like Rakim. The only time cats from my era that we had to alter our style to be more up-to-date with what he was doing and what was going on when he started rhyming within the rhymes and all that.”
Melle Mel further explained that it’s a disservice to Hip Hop to have someone like Rakim not receive their flowers for everything they contributed to Hip Hop. To Mel, it’s just flat-out disrespect.
“How could you disrespect the game like that,” he asked. “You just talking about the pure rappers like Rakim and somebody like Kool G Rap. Those are basically the top rappers of the game, pure rappers, records aside and all, like just a pure rapper, Rakim, he should never be 14. I mean, if you’re talking records and all that, he would be closer to No.1 because of what he did for the game and the culture.
“See that’s the angle where I’m coming from. I’m coming from how the game changed and how the culture change. I’m not coming from who I like rapping because I don’t like the way nobody rap. I’m not listening to it. I don’t got no nobody in my head like that except for the most high, but to say LL and Rakim is 14 and 15 or somebody 17, but then Nicki Minaj is No. 10. Based on what? That’s where it don’t make sense, you know what I mean? That’s blasphemy.”
He continued: “I don’t got nothing wrong with Nicki Minaj. I like Nicki Minaj. She could write she, you know, decent looking chick, but you know, even if she was better than Rakim you don’t put over no goddamn Rakim, what kind of shit is that?”
Melle Mel’s latest comments arrive after he claimed Eminem is only a Top 5 rapper in the game because of the color of his skin.
During his interview with The Art of Dialogue, Mel argued that race played a role in the Detroit rap icon claiming the No. 5 spot on the 50 Greatest Rappers of All Time List — ahead of the likes of Biggie, Lil Wayne, Ice Cube, Rakim and LL COOL J.
“Obviously he’s a capable rapper,” Mel 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!”
Mel also questioned the impact and influence of Kendrick Lamar, who was crowned the second greatest rapper of all time by Billboard, behind JAY-Z. According to Melle Mel, the Pulitzer Prize-winner is a good lyricist and has made some good songs, but he “[doesn’t] translate into the street part of Hip Hop.”