AllHipHop.com: Where are you getting your inspiration from for your new music?
Mele Mel: Crowds. My whole thing is that if you watch and see what motivates a crowd thats your motivation. As far as Im concerned, if you dont have nothing that you can add to the game for the people, then its not a whole lot that youre out there doing even if youre making money. Its plain to see it dont take a talented person to get out there, get a hit record, and make money. My whole thing is what can you add to the game or what can you continue to do that nobody can do better than you? Thats the main thing thats missing from Hip-Hop right now.
AllHipHop.com: When you first came in the game you made a lot of choices that made Hip-Hop what is today. You were the first to be on an R&B track with Chaka Khan. You were the first with a reality rap record. What are you planning to come out with now?
Mele Mel: Im gonna do it Muscle style. Im going to set a certain standard for myself, for all the cats of my era, and the cats of this era. The misconception is that what the average young cat can do on stage is so good, and so tough, and so hood; and that has nothing to do with MCing. Its like when 50 Cent first came out: This cat 50 Cent, hes hot. He got shot nine times. He sells crack. His mother died. And? That has nothing to do with music. I understand what he does musically and its acceptable but to put the whole thing in perspective, the bottom line is: you n***as sell dope. Being that this is what it is, do that and aint nobody mad at you for that. Now, let us have the freedom to do what it is that we do. Im Mele Mel. I dont got a criminal record. I dont carry around guns. I dont sell dope. I write rhymes, I do music, and I should be free to do that. If Bishop Magic Don Juan can get a record deal and if some murderer can get a record deal and Im not mad at them then I should be able to get a record deal and there shouldnt be any animosity involved. People seem almost upset that I would be still rapping like I dont want that n***a putting out an album. What? I cant eat?! Youd rather see me and go that n***a Mele Mel sweeping up the gym! They much rather say that than say Mel got his s**t out, and its hot. And thats what the game is coming to. But, you have to make a stand and be who you are to make the game be everything that it could be. Its like these East Coast cats who are mad at the Southern cats and think they are justified feeling that way. When I felt that way about all these gangster cats 15 years ago, I was a hater. Come on. Stop. If Im a hater, youre a hater stop hating and get in the game.
AllHipHop.com: When was the first moment when it hit you: Im Mele Mel?
Mele Mel: The first moment when I felt I was really something was when I played the Audubon Ballroom. For those who dont know what that is, the Audubon Ballroom is the place where Malcolm X was shot. It could seat 14,000 people comfortably and we were the first people to pack it. Youd go in the middle of the dance floor and the whole floor was shaking up and down. That was the first night [DJ Grandmaster] Flash did the backspin. We were onstage doing our routines and that was the epitome of our era, the Block Party Era, and the Sound System Era. We packed it with no radio play we just passed out flyers, had Blackdoor Productions for guys just doing parties in the streets, it couldnt get much better than that.
AllHipHop.com: Why did you got the no-sample route on the album?
Mele Mel: I dont want any excuses. If the album wins, it won because of Mele Mel. Thats why I didnt get any features. People will look at an album nowadays and turn it over. If anybody is doing an album Who you got on it? Thats not your album and thats not even you doing your album. The type of albums people do today, Michael Jackson or Prince never did an album like that. Quincy Jones did it twice. Frank Sinatra did it once. If you going to establish as an artist and got 19 songs with nine features, where is the point in your career where you can define yourself as an artist and be creative? If you really look at it, all these features have stopped sales because everyone is over exposed. Everybody is on everybodys album thats too much exposure. In a year, you should be seen when youre seen and then just ride that little wave. Thats why with my album its only Mele Mel commanding these 16 songs. I dont even think Im going to want nobody in the video. If theres anybody with a nice ass in the video its gonna be my ass [Laughs] because thats how we gonna do it. You got to see got to see Mele Mel first, and then we can get some ass in the video. Im trying to reestablish me and Im gonna put the guns on em.
AllHipHop.com: Let the people know about the gun show.
Mele Mel: The gun show is something that we put together. For people who dont know anything about body building, your guns are your arms so this is my double bicep shot. Its the gun show. It branched off to Tango, Rodney Saint Cloud, and Lance; and we put our thing together and it ends up being female entertainment. Everybody got a clique, and the name of ours is the Gun Show. We are for the females; there are no men allowed.
AllHipHop.com: What made you start doing that?
Mele Mel: My whole thing is this here women need entertainment too. If a brother can go in the club and look at women, women can go in the club and look at dudes and look at women. You got to give em that and Im all man. If my broad wants to go look at another dude Listen, baby, you can do what you want to do. Just dont have nothing in your mouth, or Just dont get real nasty, but, go on and do what you gotta do. If you want to go dance with a girl: Im not mad at you. You got to give women what they want. You dont do all this working out and training just to keep your shirt on. Cats are like Why Mel taking his shirt off? Because I got muscles I got a nice body. Im not gonna cover my s**t up with a 4X T-Shirt like Im hiding a gun. Im not hiding nothing. Everything is right here. Im gonna be who I am. Im not gonna come into the game and out-thug 50 Cent. Even if I wanted to do that, thats not me. I know I can get bigger guns than 50 Cent. I know I can get bigger guns than LL. They got another six years before they catch up to me.
AllHipHop.com: What was one of your favorite battles?
Mele Mel: If you had to pick one instance, it would be the KRS battle. In reality, it really wasnt much of a battle. He called me up [onstage] and I got up there during his show. After the battle we made friends and Scott La Rock was a good brother Rest In Peace. It was a legendary moment. And the results change after time being a legend. If I told the story then and you hear story now; its like KRS might have shot me or I might have gotten kicked in the ass or something. [Laughs] But, thats all a part of being a legend. Its a good reference point and moment in history because me and KRS went through that, and right now, we have the utmost respect for each other. That goes to show you the caliber of people that it was back then compared to right now.