Melle Mel had a lot to say about Billboard’s 50 Greatest Rappers Of All Time List during his interview with the Art Of Dialogue. In a new clip from the session, The Hip-Hop pioneer called out the top three rappers on the list and accused them of having little substance in their music
“who’s the number one guy, Jay-Z? that n-gga, he could talk shit. who’s the number two guy on that list? [Kendrick Lamar] is just another n-gga talking shit and I’m not gonna put him number two. Who’s the number three guy? [Nas] another n-gga talking shit. it’s just n-ggas that talk shit,” he said.
“That’s why the streets is f-cked up, because they listen to all these guys and it’s just a n-gga talking shit and you take what he says literally and seriously without him having to do nothing else except for saying what he said. All these guys come from a neighborhood, all of these n-ggas neighborhoods is in shambles. You can’t change your neighborhood, so where is the greatness involved?”
The 61-year old questioned the messages in hip hop, and berated rappers for constantly portraying themes of violence in their music, which he says has had a negative influence on the younger generation of Black people.
“Out of all this so-called greatness and n-ggas talking shit, our kids can’t read, our kids are failing in education, but they know every rhyme about this n-gga talking shit. Talking shit, these n-ggas talk a lot of shit and everybody is more interested in that than the fact that our kids are failing because they listen to that.
All of the shit that’s going on in that drill rap and and then you know, motherf-ckers try to go into different levels or maybe it’s the home environment, maybe some social economic shit. No, they listening to a n-gga talking shit. This shit they’ve been listening since they were in their mother’s womb about n-ggas selling dope and killing each other and then they come out the womb and they listen to the same shit and then they see the same n-ggas talking the same shit, and then they go outside and do the same shit that they heard and that’s why the streets is f-cked up and that’s why I dismiss all of that 50 great MC shit, because what did it turn into?”
He continued to reflect on the perceived dire state of hip hop, and cautioned listeners not to interpret the messages literally.
“40 years ago when we started doing this mother f-cking hip-hop, n-ggas that was gang banging got into the music because of what we was doing not necessarily what we were saying. We wasn’t out there saying ‘yeah y’all should stop gang banging, y’all shouldn’t be the black Spades,’ we wasn’t saying nothing like that. It was because of what we did. It was the movement, it was the culture, it was what was happening that drove people away from it.
“All of this is based on y’all listening to n-ggas talk shit, and you taking it literally and word for word. If they did that to the Bible and in the Quran it’s gonna come out wrong. Have you took the Bible word for word literally? it’s gonna come out wrong. The Quran if you take it literally word for word it’s gonna come out wrong. So you mean to tell me you’re going to take everything that Nas said, everything that Jay-Z said, Kendrick said, [Big Daddy] Kane said, I said, Biggie said. You’re gonna take what all Ice Cube said, you’re gonna take all that literally and seriously and didn’t expect for your people to turn out right?
“I’ve heard uh all of those songs. I don’t listen to it because it means nothing to me. If somebody Like T.I or Pusha T talks about selling dope what does that got to do with me? I’m 61 years old, all my little drug days is way past me. I’m not a Hennessy dude why would I take that song literally and seriously? why would I take anything that anybody would say literally and seriously? And that’s the problem. I mean, okay, 50 great MCS fine, but they all are talking shit and all the shit that they talk is not going to benefit you one iota unless you listen to it in this proper context other than that you get what you got going on in the street right now.”
Listen to Melle Mel chastise rappers and the current state of Hip-Hop below.