Underrated: "He Had A Booming, Thunderous, Zeus-Like Voice That'd Just Hit & Take You Over"

Tuesday, Dec 6, 2011 12:05AM

Written by SOHH for Justin Bua

[Return To The Boom Bap: With Grandmaster Flash & Furious Five getting Grammy Hall of Fame love as of late, SOHH's featuring entertainment personalities naming the most underrated emcees from hip-hop's Golden Era. After reggae star Shaggy gave Assassin the title last week, renowned painter Justin Bua crowns Melle Mel SOHH Underrated.]

Melle Mel (SOHH Underrated)

To me, the most underrated emcee of all time has to be Melle Mel. Mel had the best voice. He had a booming, thunderous, Zeus-like voice that would just hit you and take you over.

The amount of stuff he was on, in terms of the amount of vocal performances that he made, was ridiculous. From "The Message" where he raps, "It's like a jungle sometimes that makes you wonder how you keep from going under," to just thinking about all of those classics he was a part of.

It goes all the way to, "New York, New York, big city of dreams," and you're hearing him on all of these records like "White Lines" and all of a sudden he's rapping with Chaka Khan. The reason "I Feel For You" was such a huge song was because of Mel's hook.

In my opinion, not only did he have the best voice but he was on the most [tracks]. Historically, he's everywhere. He's like the omnipresence of hip-hop. He also stands time. Maybe he's not on a lot of stuff now but a lot of those old hooks and lyrics and rhymes are being sampled today.

[The fact that] people sleep on Mel and the young generation that doesn't know about him is pretty sad. He was really one of the pioneers of the hip-hop culture.

Groundbreaking artist Justin BUA is internationally known for his best-selling collection of fine art posters--The DJ being one of the most popular prints of all time. Born in 1968 in NYC's untamed Upper West Side and raised between Manhattan and East Flatbush, Brooklyn, BUA was fascinated by the raw, visceral street life of the city. He attended the Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School of Music and Performing Arts and complemented his education on the streets by writing graffiti and performing worldwide with breakdancing crews. BUA went on to the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, California where he earned a B.F.A. and taught figure drawing at the University of Southern California for ten years.

Check out Melle Mel's music below:

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