Melle Mel Confronts Backlash Over Eminem “White Rapper” Comments

Melle Mel

The Furious Five MC has been a trending topic for days after his controversial interview with The Art of Dialogue in which he said Eminem is only a Top 5 rapper on Billboard’s recent list because of his skin tone.

Melle Mel has been a trending Twitter topic for days after his controversial interview with The Art of Dialogue. During the conversation, the Hip-Hop legend weighed in on Eminem, Kendrick Lamar and Lil Wayne as well as the divisive list Billboard published on its “50 Greatest Rappers of All Time” earlier this month.

The interview sparked a cascade of reactions from Hip-Hop fans and peers alike. 50 Cent, in particular, defended his longtime friend and collaborator Eminem, writing, “There was more money selling dope than being in Hip Hop when Melle Mel was popping, the culture has grown so much. I am not sure if it would be what it is today with out artist like Eminem. S### I am not sure I would be who I am with out him but you know it is competitive so n##### gonna hate. LOL f### outta here ! We sucker free.”

Papoose and Fat Joe also joined in to defend Slim Shady, while applauding his skillset in the process. Now, Melle Mel is finally addressing all of the backlash. In an exclusive clip obtained by AllHipHop, Melle Mel not only announces his new podcast, Melle Mel’s Hip Hop Corner, but also uses the inaugural episode to confront his detractors.

“Melle Mel has nothing against nobody in Hip-Hop,” he begins from the gym, curling a significant amount of weight. “I’ve been in Hip-Hop for 40 years, very competitive. I really have nothing against nobody. I’m not jealous by 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, I say what I say.

“I have nothing against nobody, no MCs. I have nothing against anybody. The first thing we’re going to touch on is based on a list that Billboard magazine put out about the 50 greatest artists in Hip-Hop. Now what gives Billboard magazine or anybody the credentials put that out is beyond me. And whoever wrote the list, I think he should step forward to try to clarify his rational and his justification of putting out such a list. Everything that I said, that I commented on, it was a comment on what he wrote and who he put on this said list. 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 toward guys like myself who put in all the time in Hip-Hop.”

Mell Mel continues by explaining his history as the lead MC in Grandmaster Flash & The Furious Five, saying the group wasn’t necessarily known for its hit records but for its impact.

“What we’re known for is when a person first called themself an MC, it was me,” he explains. “When the first person said ‘Hip-Hop’ and ‘Yes, yes y’all,’ that was my brother and that was Cowboy. That’s what we’re known for. We’re responsible for the genre. We’re the biggest influences in the genre […] The word Hip-Hop came from my crew. Cowboy invented the word Hip-Hop. Melle Mel invented the term MC. I was the first one to say it and we were the greatest group to do it […] I’m never going to be irrelevant. I started a whole music genre.”

Finally, Melle Mel gets to the “white elephant” in the room, as he put it, and specifically talks about Eminem who he said was only rated No. 5 on the Billboard list because he’s white.

“I guess that started the uproar,” he says. “Everybody is so angry that I’d say that, that I’ve been branded a racist, which is neither here nor there ’cause that’s almost impossible. I’ve been playing for all different kinds of people my entire life. That’s so far off-kilter that I don’t understand. But Eminem made a record called ‘White America,’ where he said that he wouldn’t be as popular if he wasn’t white. We basically said the same thing.”

Melle Mel went on to reference the song “Til I Collapse” in which Eminem puts himself behind eight other rappers (André 3000, Nas, Redman, 2Pac, JAY-Z, Jadakiss, Kurupt and Biggie) and questioned how he could be labeled a “racist” for essentially agreeing with Eminem. Melle Mel vowed to stand behind his comments though, taking full responsibility for the “earthquake” (as Chuck D called it) he caused. But, at the same time, he wants the “true amount of respect” and dignity the Hip-Hop pioneers deserve. Expect more podcast episodes from Melle Mel soon. In the meantime, subscribe to his YouTube channel here.