On his Dr. Greenthumb Show, B-Real of Cypress Hill discussed Melle Mel’s recent dismissive comments about Eminem to respectfully disagree with his opinion and to remind that regardless of what opinion an artist has, they have to be able to see the bigger picture.
His co-hosts Psycho Les of The Beatnuts, Steftone of The Deftones, and hip hop DJ Julio G joined the conversation, trying to figure out what might be behind such attitude towards Marshall. To the suggestion that other rappers might be jealous of Marshall because Dr. Dre picked him over others, B-Real says that is unlikely, also because of different eras in which legacy rappers were coming up and Eminem started climbing up the ranks:
[Eminem] was handpicked by Dre, yes, but Dre did not necessarily make him. He had to make himself. Much like Kendrick Lamar got recognized by Dre, but if you look at what Kendrick has done, he built himself through the opportunity. That’s what Eminem did. And here is a thing I wanna say as an MC. There is no way you can not give him his props. Because it does not matter what colour this dude is, he spits out some of the hardest bars and verses and style flips and conceptual songs that anybody has ever heard. So for me, in my opinion, he’s one of the GOATs and he has earned all that respect. To me, colour is not an issue. We have real colourists in this game, unfortunately.
This sparked the conversation that a lot of white rappers were already in the game when Marshall came up but nobody could get on his level. And that people who slander Em now wouldn’t risk doing it back in the Slim Shady days because they would have been obliterated. As he was a battle rapper. And a very good one, B-Real reminds his co-hosts:
He was one of the best to ever do it. Was he the best? Again, that’s subjective. Other folks think Jay-Z, other folks think Lil Wayne, other folks think Biggie, other folks think Pac, other folks think KRS-1. It’s subjective, everybody will have their own list. But to say Eminem doesn’t deserve these props, well, that’s your opinion. It may not be a good one but it’s yours, and he owns it, that’s fine. I’m not gonna say he’s wrong, but in my list, Eminem is one of the best and he deserves all those props.
Of course, says Julio G, Eminem is white, so he brings a unique perspective of a white kid from a trailer park to hip hop and does it in his own unique style and technic. But hip hop has no colour, insists Steftone. B-Real brings the conversation back to ranking rappers:
When they ask me who’s your top 5 MC, it’s top 3. The top three meaningful to me as MCs are Em, KRS, and Jay-Z. This is my top 3. I have the top 10 if anybody is interested, but it’s just my opinion and you might not agree. But regardless of all lists, you gotta give a person his due. And Em earned it. Eminem came from the battle rap world. So his bars gotta be that! He gotta be on fire. And he was. He was known for eating people up in a battle rap world. He also was multifaceted: he knew how to write a song, a catchy song, an anthem song. So, he’s not necessarily mastered the best of both worlds, but he is tapped into both worlds in a way no one else is. And that is something that’s very hard to do. It’s very rare when MCs do this, not everybody has that talent. And he locked it in in a way that noone else has. How do you not give this dude his due? And on top of that, he sold millions. I think, as a solo artist he’s a number one selling artist in hip-hop. How can you not give him his dues, from his battle rap days to getting in and writing some significant stuff, and to becoming the success story he has become? You cannot not give him props.
It is true and it is not the first time B-Real publicly puts Eminem in his Top 3. B-Real has not changed his mind. Just as well as Melle Mel has not changed his.
What was undeniable in Melle Mel’s statement that was his confidence, all three rappers agree. When Melle Mel said that he would take Eminem he believed his own words. B-Real, again, does not want to disrespect the legend, but he also cannot misjudge Mel’s current capability:
I believe that Melle Mel believes that he could [take Eminem out], I believe his confidence. But no. I believe that Eminem would take him down. In this day and time, for sure. Because he’s been doing that this whole time. On the songs that are not necessarily released out there into the world, maybe he just freestyles. And when he does features, he’s going after the head of whoever he’s doing features with. And if you don’t hear that, my dude, there’s more than that. I don’t doubt that [Melle Mel] will still get busy. Guys like him stay sharp. But I’m saying that Eminem is a different beast.
Then there was a time for a story of how Melle Mel was fighting a rap battle against Mike D back in his days. Only instead of showing his bars he showed off his physical strength and was doing pushups while Mike D was absolutely crushing the mic with his verses. Maybe, this is a type of challenge Melle Mel has in mind now? Anyway, B-Real was back on track after this digression talking about Marshall’s features again:
If I was to get a call and Eminem says, “Hey, I wanna do a song with you”, I already know he’s going to try to take my head off. Friendly style, you know, ‘cause we are competitive, and we are friends, and we got love for each other, but I know he’s gonna flex a verse to make me work. And when I go on a track I’m gonna cut your goddamn body in half. You challenge each other. You can only make each other better. That song with him and Busta, that shit was crazy.
The Busta Rhymes reference brought another story, this time about Busta being into Em’s music way before Sgady blew up. B-Real remembers hearing Em’s name from Busta in 1998 when Cypress Hill appeared on the third Smokin’ Grooves tour with Public Enemy, Wyclef Jean, Busta Rhymes, and Gang Starr:
You know, the first guy to put me on to Eminem was Busta Rhymes. We were on tour and he was like, “Hey man, you heard this kid Slim Shady? He’s got crazy bars!” And he starts repeating the first four bars of “My Name Is”. When Busta got excited about something it’s gonna pop. I didn’t realise my man was an indicator like that. But everywhere I saw him he was spitting these Shady bars because it resonated with him. And before you know it, Eminem comes out and this song hits. Because he told me about the song before it actually got out there. And when it got out I realised, oh man, this is who he was talking about.
It looks like Melle Mel’s comments resulted not in questioning Eminem’s legacy but in more and more respected artists joining the conversation to pay their respect to Em and to show how much he is actually important to the culture. An unexpected but appreciated turn of events.
Watch the video below: