According to rapper Melle Mel, Eminem’s race is the only reason he is considered one of the top five rappers of all time.
Eminem landed in fifth place on Billboard & Vibe’s Top 50 greatest rappers list, beating out other beloved artists and following Tupac, Nas, Kendrick Lamar, and Jay-Z in fourth, third, second, and first places, respectively.
Melle Mel, the Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five icon, expressed his opinion about Eminem’s ranking in an appearance on The Art of Dialogue podcast, saying that Em’s success as a rapper was not only due to his music skills.
“If you were 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 Mel stated.
Melle Mel went on to argue that if Eminem was Black, he wouldn’t have made it into the top five. He suggested that a Black rapper who can “rhyme just as good as him is [number] 35,” using Future, who placed at number 35 on the list, as an example. “And anybody could be mad… They could feel how they wanna feel,” Melle Mel added.
Melle Mel continued by saying that Eminem’s race plays a significant part in why he is regarded as one of the best rappers of all time.
He compared Em to Royce Da 5’9″, another rapper, who Melle Mel believes is just as talented as Eminem, but not as successful. “Why he ain’t as big as Eminem? Because he’s Black. Ain’t none of that sh*t hard to figure out. Eminem gets a top spot because he’s white,” Melle Mel concluded.
Melle Mel himself placed 48 on the list, and Billboard praised him for his “game-changing run with Grandmaster Flash & The Furious Five” and his 1984 appearance on the Grammy-winning track “I Feel for You,” which was described as a “pivotal early crossover moment between the hip-hop and R&B worlds.”
While Melle Mel’s comments have sparked some controversy, Eminem’s fans have come to his defense, pointing out that Em’s skills as a rapper are what have earned him his success.
Many fans have praised Em’s ability to tell his story through his music, and his honesty and vulnerability have resonated with audiences worldwide.
Regardless of the controversy, it’s clear that Eminem has had an impressive career as a rapper.
He has won 15 Grammy Awards, sold more than 150 million records worldwide, and has been named one of the greatest rappers of all time by numerous publications.