Billboard’s selection of the top 50 Rappers has caused quite a stir. Given Melle Mel’s current stream of public statements, he agrees on little regarding the ranking. Mel Melle is now headlining for his sentiments on Lil Wayne’s Billboard rankings.
Melle Mel’s Previous Argument
March 7 FM Hip Hop provided coverage of Fat Joe’s and Papoose’s response to Melle Mel’s feelings about Eminem being in the top five of Billboard’s top 50 rappers. Eminem was not the only one with whom Melle Mel had a problem. He seems also to take issue with Lil Wayne.
The Art of Dialogue Hosts Melle Mel
The Hip Hop forerunner(Melle Mel) appeared on a March 3 episode of the Art of Dialogue. During his interview, talks steered back towards the Billboard list. During the convo, Mel spoke on recent comments made by Lil Wayne, who took the number seven spot on the list.
Melle Mel says Lil Wayne is not the greatest rapper ever because he uses autotune. pic.twitter.com/NsV5jPYuTl
— The Art Of Dialogue (@ArtOfDialogue_) March 4, 2023
Wayne also addressed the ranking recently. According to Wayne, he deserves the #1 spot. In the words of Lil Wayne,
“I will tell you that I am a mutha f***** one. Everybody whose names you named also knows I’m number one. Go ask ’em.”
That is a pretty bold statement. However, it was all in good humor. According to Wayne’s earlier statement, this is about creativity and artistry, not competition.
Mel’s Response to Wayne
While those listed before Wayne have yet to issue a response, more specifically, a reaction to Wayne’s placement, Melle Mel has. Melle Mel has clearly indicated he doesn’t think Wayne should even be on the list, let alone number one. Mel told Art of Dialogue listeners.
“If you have five capable so-called great rappers on a panel, I guarantee you Lil Wayne would not be no.1.” That’s a cold statement.
Lil Wayne, the Record Breaker
Wayne is a clear success. Just like Eminem has proved this. And the fans love him, and they see greatness in him. According to Hip Hop Scriptures, Wayne showed greatness straight out of the gate. Hip Hop Scriptures notes, even Wayne’s Debut Album “The Block is Hot” went double platinum after its release.
In 2011, Wayne started making a name for himself as the record breaker. According to Billboard,
“On September 17, 2011, Wayne did something no solo artist had done before. That week, he notched 12 concurrent singles on the Billboard Hot 100 — the single-most songs on the chart simultaneously by a solo act. Only the Beatles have had more singles on the chart simultaneously.”
In 2012, Wayne broke a record that the King of Rock and roll, Elvis Presley, set. And that is only a tiny snippet of Lil Wayne’s achievement.
What is Mel’s Argument
Mel’s big point of contention was that Wayne couldn’t be at the top because he uses auto tune. In Mel’s words,
“Lil Wayne’s rap skills are questionable because people don’t even know his real voice.”
Without a doubt, that is an interesting point to make. Does using auto tune exclude someone from being a rapper or even being seen as one of the best? That is the question.
Not a Good Look for Melle Mel
For many, these sentiments are coming off as mad rants. Mel came in at number 48, which makes it appear that his perspective is shadowed by a bit of jealousy. Is this the case? Well, that, too, is arguable. Mel’s sense of distaste stems more from the source of the list. He outright discredits Billboard’s credibility. In his sentiments, the idea that there are even 50 great emcees is ludicrous. And there is no denying he does have some valid points. But one can’t help but wonder, If Mel had made it in the top five, would this conversation be headlining news? Would this conversation even exist?
The Facts Please
There is plenty of support to prove that these artists have earned their spots as Billboard determines it. Of course, not everyone will agree with the ranking, but Billboard has specific criteria they used for their selection. Other than containing the set to a particular geographical location, the other factors of selection included:
body of work/achievements (charted singles/albums, gold/platinum certifications), cultural impact/influence (how the artist’s work fostered the genre’s evolution), longevity (years at the mic), lyrics (storytelling skills) and flow (vocal prowess).
This information was collected from existing data and more tangible factors the organization has accrued.
Everyone has their own preferences. And everyone may disagree based on their proscribed determinants.
The Bigger Question
Eminem and Lil Wayne haven’t been the only targets. Mel had a little something to say about Kendrick Lamar as well. While the focus has mostly been on who Mel believes shouldn’t be on the list, we do have an idea of who he thinks should be, and Busta Rhymes got a mention. For now, one simply has to look at Mel’s perspectives as that. He has a history in the industry, he’s an icon, and he’s got a right to his opinion.
Written By: Renae Richardson