“It’s like a jungle sometimes it makes me wonder how I keep from going under.”
These are some of the lyrics to the song “The message.”
“The message” is one of the most famous and powerful rap songs of all time, done by Bronx born Melvin Glover, better known as Melle Mel and Grand Master Melle Mel.
Mel is the lead rapper and main song writer for Grand Master Flash and the Furious Five.
In the Bronx and throughout the world he was known as the Elvis Presley of rap.
I don’t pretend to be an expert on rap music by any means, However being Bronx born and so very proud of it, the song was very important to me because as it says, it kept me from going over the edge.
Like Melle Mel, I came from the Bronx when it was truly burning.
Melle Mel was my guest on my ESPN 1050am radio show this weekend. He didn’t have me at hello, however when he told me that the most important entity in the Bronx was a little company called the New York Yankees, it was over. He explained to me how the Bronx Bombers aren’t just a baseball team but an organization that the people in the poorest congressional district in the United States reach to in order to feel good about themselves. The fact that the Yankees are right there makes the people, especially the youth of the community, feel like they can reach for the stars. It’s like saying that if the Yankees can set up shop in the Bronx, than it can’t be that bad. Melle Mel explained how early Rap was about trying to really give a message to the people but that today’s rap may not necessarily be giving the right message.
Even with all his success Melle Mel has never left the Bronx and is still one of the most popular figures in the community. The radio show itself got even more exciting when we got a call in from the Bronx Borough President, Ruben Diaz to let Melle Mel know that he was listening and also appreciates all that he does for the Bronx. His Honor, Ruben Diaz, has always been a big fan of Melle Mel and rap music in general. To say that Melle Mel is proud of the Bronx or New York for that matter would be an understatement. He is a leader in the community and at the same time I found him to be a very respectful individual who also appreciates the success of others. The Bronx should feel proud that this is one of the products that came from this environment, just like academy award winning actor Burt Lancaster, Danny Aiello, Chazz Palminteri and Jennifer Lopez.
I asked Melle Mel how he felt about the fact that he is know as the Elvis Presley of rap and he responded by saying that it’s always been great but that if he was known as the Don Mattingly or Willie Randolph of rap, that would be ok too as he chuckled. Mattingly and Randolph being his two all time favorite baseball players. When I mentioned this to Willie he was flattered and said, “Wow, Melle Mel is a true legend in his field.”
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