American rapper and songwriter, Melle Mel, has sparked a heated debate on race and hip-hop with his recent comments about Eminem. In an interview with Art Of Dialogue, Melle Mel candidly expressed his thoughts on the ranking of the 50 greatest rappers of all time, recently published by Billboard, where Eminem came in at fifth place.
Is Eminem's Success Due to His Race?
When asked about Eminem's place on the list, Melle Mel stated, “Obviously, he’s a capable rapper. If you were talking about sales, he sold more than everybody. If you’re talking about rhyme style – OK, he’s got a rhyme style.
But he’s white! If Eminem was just another n**** like all the rest of us, would he be Top 5 on that list when a n**** that can rhyme just as good as him is 35?" He continued, “If he was a Black rapper, he wouldn’t even make the list probably." This statement has caused a stir on social media, with many people jumping in to defend or criticize Eminem and the role of race in hip-hop.
Melle Mel's Personal Favorite: Busta Rhymes
Melle Mel also shared his personal preference for the greatest rapper of all time, citing Busta Rhymes.
He said, “Busta [Rhymes] … see this is the difference between who writes what list. Busta, I would say, is the No. 1 rapper overall. Nobody’s gonna take Busta. Busta could rap just as good as Eminem. He’s got a nice little tricky, gimmicky style … But to say that he would be [able to] sell as many records if he was just another brother, that’s not true.
It’s just not”.
The Debate Rages On
Art Of Dialogue posted a clip of the interview on Twitter, and it quickly sparked a heated debate about Eminem's skills as a rapper and the role of race in the industry. One Twitter user commented, “The truth is every rapper black or white is scared to verbally go after Em.
That alone says Mel is wrong. To say he would be 35 if he was black is just being a hater”. Another wrote, “Mad respect to Melle Mel, but he’s wrong. Look at Em’s lyrics and what he’s done. He’s got bars that go above so many people’s heads it’s crazy.
Em is still top 10 no matter what color he is”. A third person chimed in, “I say Eminem is top 5 because he overcame things in hip Hop that most white rappers did not. We haven't really seen another white rapper come close.
Yes, there is some white privilege, but that privilege didn't work for them all. And no I don't count Vanilla Ice”. A fourth added, “People don’t even take into account you can listen front to back all of Em’s albums, and they all go together.
Being white played a major role during the era, but people forget Em mostly hung around people not his color, and he also came from a city predominantly black”. Eminem's ranking as the only white rapper on the list of the 50 greatest rappers of all time has been met with criticism, with many believing that he should have been ranked first as the best rapper of all time.
Regardless of one's personal opinions on Eminem and his place on the list, it's clear that the issue of race in hip-hop continues to be a hot-button topic that elicits strong reactions from the public.