When you speak of legends of Hip-Hop, one of the masters is Grandmaster Melle Mel. Melle Mel went beyond boasting and toasting, he brought social consciousness to Hip-Hop. Mel highlighted issues of proverty and drug abuse through song. When you Google this icon, you will see that he was the lead rapper in one of the break through groups of the genre, Grandmaster Flash and The Furious Five. In the early days, he was killing joints like Superrappin, Apache and other hits from the group. He took his song writing to another level when he put out The Message. This song became an instant hit and went platinum in less than a month, securing his page in Hip-Hop history. To follow this up, he also put out White Lines, which was a huge success. Melle Mel was the first Hip-Hop artist to win a Grammy based upon his vocals on Chaka Khans I Feel For You.
Melle Mel has never turned his back on Hip-Hop and hes still active in the game. The legend is delivering Hip-Hop a new talent in the form of King Russ.
King Russ always had a passion for music. He began singing at the age of 8 and never stopped from there. At the age of 5 his mom passed away,which left him with only a father. He used the loss of his mother to help create some of the most amazing music he comes up with today. At the age of 12 King Russ not only began performing but also began writing his own songs. He noticed some of his songs were missing another piece of him,and from there he began rapping also. With a passion for singing, rapping,and dancing with dreams to become the Worlds Next Greatest Entertainer, King Russ set to make a name for himself all over.
With the help of Hip-Hop Icon Melle Mel, King Russ should have no problems achieving the success he strides for.
RareHipHop.com: Let us know what is going on in your camp.
Melle Mel: We got a million and one things going on, the main thing is the King Russ, the new king of Harlem! We e trying to put our main efforts into breaking him and making sure the industry do right by him, cause the young brother is definitely a talent. So our whole thing is to make sure we find that next happening thing as far as Hip-Hop goes, based on talent. I don know if you heard his music or not but this brothers definitely a talented kat.
RareHipHop.com: Yes! We are well aware of his music at RareHipHop.com. How did the correlation of Melle Mel and King Russ come about?
Melle Mel: It came through my partner Rockk, cause we had the record company and Rockk would be out doing things, we were trying to connect with some of the young kats and it just so happened that we were fortunate enough to link up with Russ. Russ was doing some things with other young kats and we were fortunate to get a listen to him and it was definitely something we were interested in trying to build. Thats where it all started.
RareHipHop.com: Was it something that just happened or were you actually looking for new talent to bring in the game properly?
Melle Mel: Me and Rockk we were trying to make connections with younger kats, trying to expand not necessarily our fan base, but expand our footprint in what Hip-Hop is. Another thing what I was doing before that, was based on me doing my thing or me hooking up with Caz, or me hooking up with Moe Dee and then at a point, I figured it would be a good idea to try to link up with younger kats just to try to make a connection between the traditional Hip-Hop and whats happening now. My man Rockk is running around doing a couple of things, he is hooking up with some people and he was fortunate enough to run into Russ. He told me about him, I listened to some of his material and I said yea, definitely something we can involve ourselves in, just because it is good for Hip-Hop in general and good for todays Hip-Hop. To see that he is locked in with somebody that got some roots to it and vice versa. A lot of people wouldn see a kat like you know Melle mel, he don mess with them young dudes, but getting with Russ shows that I can affiliate myself with the younger generation of Hip-Hop. But like I said, its all based on talent, Im not trying to you know, get with some grimy street ni**as, doing weird sh*t, like Im trying to relive my youth. What I want to do is find someone with talent like Russ and see what we can parlay off of it on both ends.
RareHipHop.com: So, Russ and these two individual teams merged together?
Melle Mel: Exactly!
RareHipHop.com: Russ lets talk a little about you. Where are you from?
King Russ: I am originally from Harlem, this is where I was born and raised.
RareHipHop.com: Who are some of your influences in Hip-Hop?
King Russ: Of course you got to start with the legends like Mel and his crew, LL and stuff like that, all the guys that I look up to, that originated Hip-Hop the original pioneers that I look up to are the people that I plan on bringing Hip-Hop back for. So, those are kind of like my influences, as well as Michael Jackson and Chris Brown of course for the present day. Those are mainly my influences, just the legends that helped birth Hip-Hop.
RareHipHop.com: Of course RareHipHop.com loves to hear that, because our main goal is pay homage to the pioneers, keep them relevant and let the younger generation hear their music and know where Hip-Hop originated from. Although Hip-Hop has branched off to many different things, true Hip-Hop heads know whats real and from your music you are doing exactly what the pioneers did with the lyrics, with the rhymes, with the cadence, the style and the skill set, all that merged together. On top of that what are some of the songs that you have that speaks to that?
King Russ: For the new year 2012, I am on a more positive, stronger note. I got singles coming out Stop the Violence, Stuggles of Life, Go, you know stuff really to reach out to everybody right now to show that the young can still relate to it, ain all about drugs and cash, all we got or wanna get, its more about how we living and whats going on in the world. So this year its just more positive stuff. so Stop the Violence and Stuggles of Life, is what I am dropping right now. The video is in the works. Stuggles of Life is about Martin Luther King, its like a tribute to him. I am just staying up to date and making more positive music.
RareHipHop.com: What artists have you worked with and what artists would you like to work with?
King Russ: I am now in the process of a couple of tracks with me, Waka Flacka, Fred The Godson, Jim Jones and couple of young artists. As far as artists I would like to work with, Chris Brown of course, everyone who knows me knows that is one of my main idols as far as age bracket wise. I just wanna work with anybody honestly, nobody in particular, everyone willing to work with me I will just work with everybody. Im looking to make as much music as possible in as many different type of genres I can reach out to.
RareHipHop.com: Do you see yourself expanding Hip-Hop?
King Russ: Definitely, I feel like I am going to help Hip-Hop evolve extremely especially with Mel behind my back, we working extra hard to make sure I do have that dramatic affect on the industry when I do hit. Im trying to hit hard and being that I am attacking all genres I would say that it is going to be a success because right now the people that are out, they not trying to relate as much as back in the day, how real music used to be. It started changing over the years into more and more not real music. The way we are attacking now we plan on having a big affect in the industry.
RareHipHop.com: You mentioned before in one of your interviews, the difference between a rapper and an artist, can you elaborate on that?
King Russ: Yea, anyone can rap but it takes a lot more to be an artist. A rapper just rights anything then spit it out. They may have flow, its not hard to put a bunch of words together and just let it out and express yourself, but when you become an artist you making a stand and saying you know what, I am not just making for me no more, I am making music for everybody else and an artist relates, thats what I am doing, Im maintaining my artist tactics, I don wanna go off into just being a rapper I want to be a fantastic artist! Cause an artist does more of the dirty work, they got to do all the real relating and expressing themselves. You gotta not be afraid to talk about what you been thru to really be an artist. The rappers really put up the front, the cash and all the stuff like that. As a listener people should know the difference between a rapper and an artist.
RareHipHop.com: So your short terms goal is to be the latest and greatest but you also stated you also want to be behind the scenes on the business, how does that relate?
King Russ: Oh definitely, right now I got my own little label, team called Money Makers and my own artists. Mainly I do the music and want to continue with it of course thats my break, but Im expanding with my artists and trying to go into movies, acting, maybe reality shows, trying to expand my brand, my money making brand as far as I can as a young CEO, Im trying to come into the game and reach out in every aspect as I can. You may see me doing a music video here or music show there or the next day in a movie or the next day in a commercial. Im just expanding and getting everywhere as I can, I want King Russ to be a household name.
RareHipHop.com: In regard to battle raps, do you see a lot of artists going back and forth and taking it outside of the spectrum of true rap wars. How do you feel about that?
King Russ: I don really affiliate with the battle raps and that type of stuff, I will just say I wish everybody good in what they doing. I just stay focused on my projects and I stay out of all that kind of stuff.
RareHipHop.com: Mel, where do you see Hip-Hop now and what direction do you think it should go?
Melle Mel: With Hip-Hop musically there is nothing wrong with it cause music is music, but being that Hip-Hop has been around for more than 30 years, I think it should be more of a family type structure in Hip-Hop and that would give the whole genre more legitimacy. If you look at Hip-Hop now, there is no association with brothers that actually brought up the game, they have no place in B.E.T, M.T.V. and thats what gives Hip-Hop less legitimacy. You might have a kat that might be on his 1st album then for some reason he is so far out there with exposure and hype they will put him in the same boat with someone that has been in the game for years. Which don help the guy that has been in the game for years. It ain like we get a chance to intermingle so that people can see that there is really not a big difference in Hip-Hop. I don know if RareHipHop saw the thing we did for the Grammy nominees, where they had us, LL, Common and the other young kat, where we all came together it didn look no different! We didn look no older and they didn look no younger cause it was all Hip-Hop and that s the thing people have to see so they can understand Hip-Hop for what it really is. Not about kats being young and wild, it was about people showing their talent on an entertainment level. Thats what people forget about Hip-Hop, the fact that Hip-Hop is basic entertainment. What we trying to do with the projects we are trying to implement is to put a more realistic, adult footprint in Hip-Hop so a lot of kats coming in the game can understand the rules of what the entertainment value in Hip-Hop is all about. There is nothing wrong with garbage rap, but you don have to hear it all the time. Thats what made Tupac great. He had his gangster rap and then he had rap where he talked about real issues. Thats what rap is all about and thats where I see it going, thats where we are trying to push it.
RareHipHop.com: I see that youve mentioned 2pac: Are there any other artists that you deem in the class of Tupac, who had various skill sets that rap about a lot of different topics?
Melle Mel: There weren too many people. I mean Biggie was a great writer, but he wasn around long enough to say all the things he could have said. Pac was the main guy that was out there that really altered the game. The only guy that is close and Im not trying to jerk nobodys chain is Russ. I mean he is a volume writer, he writes every day and inspired me to write more. I jot the ideas down but don necessarily put it all together. Russ is one of those kats that is a volume writer and he can alter his game. Not saying he will as great as Tupac, but he has the potential to be that. He def puts in his work. He likes what he does, he is good at it and he can alter his game. The main thing to be a writer is to write about all things. Write a song about the migration of the whales, you should be able to put that together (laughs). You so caught up in the street, I aint talking about some whales man. Its art! Thats a part of the game that people need to see more of and that we are trying to do in our situation. Hip-Hop as a family structured total entertainment vehicle, past the street corner thing cause thats going to be there. Now you have to add the more artistic point of view and thats comes from older kats setting a good example for the younger kats and giving them whatever knowledge we got of entertainment and the business so they can take the game even further.
RareHipHop.com: You guys have given us much thought provoking commentary; do you have any shout outs?
Melle Mel I want to shout out all the over 40 people (laughs), hang in there, it ain over [until] we say its over baby we got a long way to go!
King Russ: I want to shout all every one who supports me, all my money makers, God of course and like Mel said, this is our year!
Melle Mel RareHipHop.com shoutout:
King Russ RareHipHop.com shoutout: