As hip-hop turns 50, it's nice to see people like Melle Mel continue to have a say in the culture, even if his takes are polarizing. Most recently, Melle Mel chimed in on the official anthem of New York. Melle Mel reflected on the impact of Ja Rule's "New York" and Jay-Z's "Empire State Of Mind." The latter undoubtedly became synonymous with the Big Apple, and Ja's anthem is undeniable. However, Melle Mel said the only reason it can't compete with Jay's record is that he was "trying to sound hard" like 50 Cent.
"If he woulda just made that record a pure New York record, it would have been a way bigger record," Melle Mel said on The Art Of Dialogue. "But he went the route of trying to sound hard because 50 Cent sound hard. And it was still a good record, but I'm just saying. If he woulda just made it a pure New York record like how Jay-Z did with his New York record. See what I'm saying? If he woulda went along the same lines as that."
Ja Rule Reacts To Melle Mel's Comments
During a recent interview with TMZ, Ja Rule shared a laugh at Melle Mel's comments. Though he respects Mel's take, he said that he got it all twisted. "Mel's earned the right to say whatever he wants but me copying 50 is like the funniest shit ever," he said. It might seem cocky but there's no doubt that Ja was on the rap-sing tip before Fif adopted that style on songs like "21 Questions." With that in mind, Ja Rule thinks that 50 Cent owes him more credit for his success. "50 copied me. I was his blueprint," he said.
Regardless of how Mel views Jay-Z's record vs. Ja Rue's, the Murder Inc star explained that both records catered to different audiences. "'Empire State Of Mind' is a huge record, as well, but their different. Mine is a street anthem and 'Empire State Of Mind' is a big, like, commercial kind of record," he explained. "Mines is me, Fat Joe, Jadakiss. It's gutter... big shout to KRS-One," he added, citing the "Hundred guns, hundred clips" bar.