Grandmaster Melle Mel: “Hip-Hop Has To Grow Up”

(AllHipHop News) As Hip-Hop heads into its 4th decade the question of when the culture will expand beyond just a representation of youthful transgressions has become a point of interest for some of the genre’s veteran emcees. One rap pioneer, Grandmaster Melle Mel, feels it’s time for Hip-Hop to focus on living a healthy life and not just partying.

“At some point somebody has to realize that Hip-Hop has to learn how to grow up. It’s way too juvenile, and it’s been that way for too long,” Mel told the Washington Times.

The legendary member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inducted group Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five went on to address the heavy use of drugs and alcohol in Hip-Hop.

“It’s not really worth it to literally party yourself to death. It’s like committing suicide,” said the 51-year-old. “You have to choose between what makes you feel good and what makes you think you feel good.”

[ALSO READ: Grandmaster Melle Mel & Quadeer “MC Spice Shakur Address WorldStarHipHop Petition] 

The topic of excessive drug use in Hip-Hop came to the forefront once again recently after the tragic death of Kriss Kross member Chris Kelly on May 1st. It has been reported that Kelly died from a cocaine and heroin overdose. He was 34.

50 Cent, Snoop Lion, and RZA also spoke about their healthy lifestyle choices and Hip-Hop’s obsession with youth. 50 and Snoop admitted that neither engage in drinking alcohol. RZA revealed that he gave up eating meat fifteen years ago.

The 43-year-old founding member of Wu-Tang Clan believes that Hip-Hop’s fixation with the need to appear young is a result of the messages the culture has been feed by the greater society.

“They said we should be dead or in jail by the age of 25. And I think we live like that,” said RZA. “What I want to tell the Hip-Hop generation out there is that: There’s a chance you’re going to become a man. Be prepared for it.”

[ALSO CHECK OUT: Talib Kweli Ft. Busta Rhymes “Rocket Ships” (Prod. by RZA)]

Listen to Melle Mel’s classic 1983 anti-drug song “White Lines (Don’t Don’t Do It)” below.

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51 Responses to “Grandmaster Melle Mel: “Hip-Hop Has To Grow Up””

  1. EDOGZ818

    Melle Mel is one of my Top 5 G.O.A.T.s.

    Is he the best rapper in 2013?

    He has had the most impact, or the Top 5 biggest impacts.

    Melle Mel
    Krs One
    Public Enemy
    LL Cool J ( No Will Smith ‘chet without him )
    Eminem – For proving that white men can RAP…even if they can’t jump.(…technically speaking, they don’t need to jump…because they own the team!)

    • hoeyuno

      I think all of the ppls on your list have all matured lyrically with age. But do there fans want a ll cool j who avoids battles or a positive eminem???

      • EDOGZ818

        Nah, in 2013, the only one on the list who is still ripping shop, or ripping it even more than when they started is KRS, it’s the All Time part, that includes them.

        If I dropped Em, it would be Jay Z or Fiddy or Diddy…..not for skill though, but for changing the business aspect of the game.

        Lyrically, my top 5 is:
        1) KRS

        with many others coming in a very close 6-10.

      • Josh Sykes

        Em deserves to be there. He is positive now but he is still lyrically ahead of so many in todays game

      • hoeyuno

        He knocked down racial barriers. I mean let’s face it vanilla ice fucked up shit so bad for white rappers it took a decade for the next commercial Caucasian.

      • Live Well

        All of today’s mainstream artists avoid battles. They all scared to compete on an even playing field because they’re afraid to lose. Jay changed that rule when he got skinned alive by Nas, then immediately rebranded himself as a suit and tie nigga who is “above petty beefs”. Now every artist that’s hot hides behind that logic. I guess my point is, it’s not about positivity being unpopular, it’s about corporate alignment and compression state economics which tells the consumer what to like.

  2. eddieknucks

    What Rza said is real. I had a similar convo with my eldest daughter the other day. She overheard me and my brothers talking bout my hustling days. She asked me what changed me. I told her it was hard because I didn’t think I would see 25. Then when I made it, I was in a what now? state of shock. It took my late 20s and early 30s to get it together and learn to be a responsible adult. We need to tell these young cats that we are not pre destined to this death or jail fate. Teach them that they need to prepare for adulthood and retirement. We can’t just live for today. Dont believe the hype that these artist put out here. You have a choice. Get busy living or get busy dying.

  3. Dadon850

    It’s the same thing I have been saying for years, when you get older you begin to preach to the choir. The young cats who need to hear this could care less about what the older rappers say and guess why. Because when the older rappers were young, they could care less about what older people said to them. Hip hop was built on youth and rebellion. For it to be hip hop, it has to stay young and wreck less, anything else it will die. Imaging a 60 year old on stage rapping “bitch better have my money”. Bottom line, these young kids now watched us and learned a lesson from us. That lesson was to not give a f*ck what old heads say to you about your lifestyle. That is the sad truth. We taught them well and now we’re seeing the results.

  4. Mike Swiff

    Impeccable article; this is so on point..Notice all the so called rappers that talk gang talk and drugs are all in trouble top 2? Rick (phony ass ) Ross and Lil (ugly) Wayne..this is why I come at hip hop like I do…When the south came on board they claimed they had their own style (really?) its the same bullshit the north was rapping about it just has a southern dialect. Hip Hop is garbage, the music has no value and all..ALL of the songs are the same! The artist are talking about nothing..since when did a hook of a song become the whole damn song? lil Wayne is 30 years old and Rick Ross is 37 damn near 40 years old still rapping like hes 22…Hip Hop is garbage and so is the the radio especially in New York; Shot 97 the program director needs to be fired, Sour 105 is to busy trying to keep up with Shot then doing their own thing, so the program director at Sour 105 needs to be canned as well. NY Radio never sound so FCUKIN BAD! WE NEED A NEW SOUND AND A NEW LOOK FOR HIP HOP! Big up to the homie on here *DaManDL his post is 100% correct!

  5. Live Well

    It’s tragic that the only elements of Hip Hop that new fans are trained to like are the self destructive ones. There is no context to the messages anymore so listeners think this is all there is. There is no grasp on the past, present, or the future, just impulse and temptation. Anytime a seasoned artist or fan (yes, there are seasoned fans) brings that up, they get chastised for being out of touch a.k.a “old ass niggas” or washed up and bitter “broke ass niggas”.

      • AJP

        Agreed. Not to take all the blame off the rappers, but I wish more folks would take a stand against the industry for forcing these images out there. We beat up on young rappers far too often while the executives get off scot free.

  6. hoeyuno

    I think Mel and spice should send Worldstar $500 along with there worldstar petition. I’m sure they’ll post it for y’all..

  7. God Body

    You notice there are no cornball teenagers on here calling people haters and old bitter ass ninjas. Even the trolls gave it a miss. That shows me that even the loud mouth fools no what Melle Mel has said here is true. We should respect our elders and learn from them, we should respect our youngsters and teach them. We can emcee, beatbox, and spin on our heads if we so desire. No one told Smokey Robinson or James Brown to stop singing, and we ain’t gonna stop either. PEACE

  8. tRoy

    Music, is like fashion, any genre… It’s always evolving, and youthful. This will never change. Period.

    • bigmarz

      So the Temptations, Smokey Robinson, Marvin Gaye and them would have never made it today because they would have been too old? It might be true but its also foolish, unintelligent, and silly to think that way. Some say this is the dumbest generation and theres a book by the same name lol.

      • bigmarz

        i am talkin about your dumb azz momma produce a lil bitch

      • tRoy

        Ignorant, You must be poor. Get @ me when ur Paper up, BUM. #TMT over here.

      • bigmarz

        nobody agrees with you and yes i am poor so what. i am not some drake ass nigga living in the burbs

      • MalcolmLittle

        WHY is this always the go-to statement for every lame mufukka with no better argument? Anyone who needs money to define em ain’t shit with or without it.

  9. BobL

    I want to recommend KRS’ Gospel of Hip-Hop. It has a similar message to this article. Health, Love, Awareness, Wealth.

    • Misha

      Just bought it, the only thing is. I’m not christian, muslim, jew, etc. and i feel a bit like KRS is trying to push me into believing in god. I hope this changes a bit over time, but it really is a splinter coming back every page. The rest of the book is very good.


    Real words we do the older hip hop heads n leaders need to act their age n not the Lil cats ass

  11. Taihair Djehuty

    We need to get rid of these label heads. Nas, Kendrick Lamar, J. Cole, Pharoahe Monch, Styles P. Out of those small few, on Kendrick has really gotten any heavy press. Cole has gotten a lot of attention too, but not as much, as say someone, like Wayne who is still living the life he life he lived in 2003 in 2013. We need more variety in hip-hop rather than the same old dudes ruling the radio waves because their label paid for spins.


      You hit it right on the head. Majors pay radio stations to pump the same type of music down our ears instead of giving us variety and allowing us to decide what we want to hear…


    Well said. They’re are other artists out there delivering more than just “Pop Molly” records. They’re just not receiving the same amount of attention as those artists who choose to keep their music in the juvenile lane.

  13. OSBKE3000

    I agree .. Hip Hop should examine its course and make necessary changes for it to STAY RELEVANT .. otherwise Hip-Hop will become POP for good .. and will forever lose its soul ..

    great caption here from RZA

    “They said we should be dead or in jail by the age of 25. And I think we live like that,” said RZA. “What I want to tell the Hip-Hop generation out there is that: There’s a chance you’re going to become a man. Be prepared for it.”

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