Melle Mel of Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five recently sat down with The Art of Dialogue, and his thoughts on some modern-day rappers have sparked much reaction — especially from members of the hip-hop community.

In particular, his belief that Eminem‘s skin color helped mint his status in the genre caught some flak.

“Obviously he’s a capable rapper. If you was talking about sales, he’s sold more than everybody. If you were talking about rhyme style, OK he got a rhyme style. But he’s white. He’s white!” Melle said when discussing Em’s place as #5 on Billboard/Vibe‘s Top 50 rappers list. “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.”

The likes of Fat JoeKevin Gates and 50 Cent disagreed with Mel, with 50 saying he’s not sure that hip-hop culture “would be what it is today without artist[s] like Eminem.”

“I am not sure I would be who I am with out him but you know it is competitive so n***as gonna hate,” he added. “LOL f*** outta here! We sucker free.”

While on the show, Melle Mel also maintained “nobody wants to rap like Eminem” or Kendrick Lamar. He also said Lil Wayne can’t be a top rapper because he used auto-tune and “people don’t even know his real voice.”

Public Enemy‘s Chuck D chimed in on the backlash, noting rappers “Gotta have tougher skin,” “MAN up and keep it moving.”

For context, Melle landed at #48 on the list, while Kendrick, Eminem and Wayne secured the second, fifth and seven spots, respectively.

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