Melle Mel Flexes His OG Status On An Eminem Diss
Last week (August 4), Eminem unleashed some diss bars at Grandmaster Melle Mel. Marshall Mathers, who thanked Melle in his Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame induction speech less than a year ago, clearly took umbrage with some of the comments his fellow Hall of Famer has made in the media.
In early 2023, Melle Mel criticized Eminem’s #5 spot on Billboard and VIBE‘s ranked “Best Rappers Of All-Time” list.” Melle, who was ranked #48, attributed race to Em’s success and recognition. “Obviously [Eminem is] a capable rapper. 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!” Melle asserted in a video interview with The Art Of Dialogue. “So now if Eminem was another n___a like all the rest of us, would he be Top 5 on that list when a n___a that could rhyme just as good as him is 35? That had records and all that? He’s 35. He’s white.” It was Future ranked at #35, and it is unclear if Melle was connecting the two artists. In that same interview taping, the Bronx, New York legend asserted why Busta Rhymes is a better MC than JAY-Z—who was crowned #1.
During that same 2023 interview, Melle Mel doubled down on criticizing Eminem. “Nobody wants to rap like Kendrick Lamar. Nobody wants to rap like Eminem,” the member of Grandmaster Flash & The Furious Five said. “A lot of people wanted to rap, like [Tupac Shakur] and Biggie.” Previously, Melle had told VladTV that he believes he could beat Eminem in a battle.
Eminem responded, clearly aware of the comments. On a song, “Realest,” by new Shady/Aftermath artist Ez-Mil, Eminem delivered the headline-grabbing verse. “Hip-Hop has been good to me, huh / But when they say that I’m only Top 5 ’cause I’m white, why would I be stunned?” Eminem rapped. “My skin color’s still working against me / ‘Cause second—I should be—to none / Bein’ white being why they put me at 5, nope, that’s why they can’t put me at 1.” In a song believed to also be dissing former collaborator The Game (who released a scathing Em attack in 2022), Em continued, “Shout out to Furious Five and Grandmaster Flash, but boy / There’s someone who really is furious / Stay out his path, his wrath avoid / I’ll be the last to toy with a juice-head whose brain is half destroyed, like a meteor hit it / Now with Melle Mel, he lost his ass to ‘roids.” The Detroit, Michigan superstar was poking fun at the longtime body-building MC, who frequently displays his muscles when performing.
Now, Melle Mel, who battled KRS-One and future Main Source MC Mikey D during the 1980s, responds to Eminem. “No apologies, this ain’t a disclaimer / I’m the king of legends, the first Hall of Famer / Making diss tracks, I know you’re with that / Now everybody get ready for the kickback.” A snippet of the song premiered at AllHipHop Monday (August 7), before the full release moments ago. Melle uploaded a 72-second response, recorded to a beat featuring an arsenal of sound effects.
In the song, Melvin Glover spits lyrics including, “The Top 5 is cap / You the piss that’s on the floor in the elevator of Rap.” He then compares Em to “Pee Wee Herman,” whose creator, Paul Reubens, died last week. He raps, “I would give you a pound but I’d break your hand / I got a lawyer so white he would take your land.” The veteran follows with other jabs, referring to Slim Shady as “Pill Clinton” and “Pill Gates,” making light of his opponent’s previous addictions—suggesting a recent relapse. The song ends with Melle claiming, “Another little kid, don’t hate the great / More white chalk, more yellow tape,” before delivering his signature roar.
In recent years, Melle partnered with former band-mates and label-mates The Sugarhill Gang and Scorpio for “Someone Like You.” The artist who won a Grammy Award alongside Quincy Jones also appeared on Macklemore & Ryan Lewis’ 2015 video single “Downtown” alongside Kool Moe Dee and Grandmaster Caz.
#BonusBeat: In early 2018 AFH captured video of Melle Mel explaining why he originally felt his group’s “The Message” was not going to be successful: