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Melle Mel
Also known as Grandmaster Mele Mel, Mele Mel
Birth date May 15, 1962
Birth name Melvin Glover
Born in The Bronx, New York
Origin The Bronx, New York
Current City The Bronx, New York
Styles Hip-Hop, Old school hip-hop, Hardcore hip-hop, East Coast hip-hop
Occupation(s) Rapper
Years active 1977/1978–present
Label(s) Enjoy Records, Sugar Hill Records
Associated acts Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five, The Sugarhill Gang

Grandmaster Mele Mel (born Melvin Glover, May 15, 1961), also known as Melle Mel (pronounced /ˈmɛli ˈmɛl/), is an American hip-hop musician — one of the pioneers of old school hip hop as lead rapper and main songwriter for Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five.


Melvin Glover was the first rapper ever to call himself "MC" (Master of Ceremony). Other Furious Five members included his brother The Kidd Creole (Nathaniel Glover), Scorpio (Eddie Morris), Rahiem (Guy Todd Williams) & Cowboy Keith Wiggins. While a member of the group, Cowboy created the term "hip-hop" while teasing a friend who had just joined the US Army, by scat singing the words "hip/hop/hip/hop" in a way that mimicked the rhythmic cadence of marching soldiers.

Grandmaster Flash & The Furious Five began recording for Enjoy Records and released "Superrappin'" in 1979. They later moved on to Sugarhill Records and were popular on the R&B charts with party songs and the like. They released numerous singles, gaining a gold disc for "Freedom," and also toured. In 1982 Melle Mel began to turn to more socially aware subject matter, in particular the Reagan administration's economic (Reaganomics) and drug policies, and their effect on the black community. A song entitled "The Message" became an instant classic and one of the first glimmers of conscientious hip-hop. Mel recorded a rap over session musician Duke Bootee's instrumental track "The Jungle". Some of Mel's lyrics on "The Message" were taken directly from "Supperrappin'", a song he had recorded three years earlier. Other than Melle Mel, no members of the Grandmaster Flash & The Furious Five actually appear on the record. Bootee also contributed vocals (Rahiem was to later lip-sync Bootee's parts in the music video). "The Message" went platinum in less than a month and went on to become arguably the greatest record in hip-hop history. It was the first hip-hop record ever to be added to the United States National Archive of Historic Recordings. Mel would also go on to write songs about struggling life in New York City ("New York, New York"), and making it through life in general ("Survival (The Message 2)"). Grandmaster Flash split from the group after contract disputes between Mele Mel and their promoter Sylvia Robinson in regard to royalties for "The Message". When Flash filed a lawsuit against Sugar Hill Records, their label, the factions of The Furious Five parted.

Mel became known as "Grandmaster Melle Mel" and the leader of the Furious Five. The group went on to produce the anti-drug song "White Lines (Don't Don't Do It)" (the unofficial music video starred up-and-coming actor Laurence Fishburne and was directed by then unknown film student Spike Lee). The record was falsely credited to Grandmaster + Melle Mel by Sugarhill Records in order to fool the public into thinking Grandmaster Flash had participated on the record. Mel then gained higher success appearing in the movie Beat Street, with a song based on the movie's title. He became the first rap artist ever to win a Grammy award for "Record of the Year" after performing a memorable rap on Chaka Khan's smash hit song "I Feel for You" which introduced hip-hop to the mainstream R&B audience. Grandmaster Melle Mel & The Furious Five had further hits with "Step Off", "Pump Me Up", "King of the Streets", "Jesse", and "Vice", the latter being released on the soundtrack to the TV show Miami Vice. "Jesse" was a highly political song which urged people to vote for then presidential candidate Jesse Jackson.

In 1988, after an almost 4 year layoff, Mel and Flash reunited and released the album "On The Strength", but with up-and-coming new school artists such as Eric B. & Rakim, DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince, Public Enemy, Boogie Down Productions, and Big Daddy Kane dominating the hip-hop market, the album failed miserably. Mel performed with The King Dream Chorus and Holiday Crew on "King Holiday" aimed at having Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s birthday declared a national holiday. Mel also performed with Artists United Against Apartheid on the anti-apartheid song Sun City aimed at discouraging other artists from performing in South Africa until that government ended its policy of apartheid. Mel ended the decade by winning two more Grammy awards for his work on Quincy Jones "Back On The Block" & "Q - The Autobiography of Quincy Jones" albums.

In 1996, he contributed vocals to the U.S. edition of Cher's hit "One By One". Their version is only available on the maxi CD format.

In 1997, Melle Mel signed to Straight Game Records and released Right Now. This album featured Scorpio from the Furious Five and Rondo. The album barely sold at all in the USA and the UK. This album took more of a harder rap style.

In 2001, he released the song "On Lock" with Rondo on the soundtrack of the movie Blazin under the name Die Hard. Die Hard released an album of the same name in 2002 on 7PRecords.

On November 14, 2006, Mel collaborated with author Cricket Casey and released the children's book "The Portal In The Park", which comes with a bonus CD of his rapped narration. It also features two songs by a then unknown Lady Gaga. The book was re-released in 2010. She performs with Mel on "World Family Tree" and "The Fountain of Truth". Also in 2006, Melle Mel attended professional wrestling school and in 2007 stated in an interview with that "I'm going to try to take some of John Cena's money and get with WWE and do my thing".

On January 30, 2007, Mel released his first ever solo album, Muscles The first single and music video was "M3 - The New Message". On March 12, 2007, Melle Mel and The Furious Five (joined by DJ Grandmaster Flash) became the first rap group ever inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. In his acceptance speech, Mel implored the recording industry members in attendance to do more to restore Hip Hip to the culture of music and art that it once was, rather than the culture of violence that it has become. He added, "I've never been shot, I've never been arrested, and I've been doing Hip Hop all my life. I can't change things all by myself. We need everybody's help, so let's do it and get this thing done."

On October 10, 2008 Mel appeared on Bronx based culinary adventure show ‘Bronx Flavor’ alongside host Baron Ambrosia. In the episode entitled Night at the Bodega he appears as a spiritual mentor to sway the Baron from his over-indulgent ways and get him on the right path to success.

In April 2011, it was revealed that he would take part in a new Hiphop/Pro Wrestling collaboration, the Urban Wrestling Federation with taping of the first bout "First Blood" taking place in June 2011.



  • 1982: The Message - (with 'Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five')
  • 1984: Grandmaster Melle Mel and the Furious Five (aka Work Party)
  • 1985: Stepping Off - (as 'grandmaster Melle Mel and the Furious Five')
  • 1988: On the Strength - (with 'Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five')
  • 1989: Piano - (as 'Grandmaster Melle Mel and the Furious Five')
  • 1997: Right Now - (As 'Grandmaster Mele-Mel & Scorpio')
  • 2001: On Lock - (As 'Die Hard')
  • 2006: The Portal In The Park - (As 'Grandmaster Mele Mel' with appearance by Lady Gaga) [1]
  • 2007: Muscles - (As 'Grandmaster Mele Mel')
  • 2009: Hip Hop Anniversary Europe Tour - (As 'Grandmaster Melle Mel') [2]


  • 1979" We Rap More Mellow - (As 'The Younger Generation')
  • 1979: Flash to the Beat - (As 'Flash and the Furious 5')
  • 1979: Supper Rappin' - (As 'Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five')
  • 1980: Freedom - (As 'Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five')
  • 1980: The Birthday Party - (As 'Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five')
  • 1981: Showdown - (As The Furious Five Meets The Sugarhill Gang)
  • 1981: It's Nasty (Genius of Love) - (As 'Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five')
  • 1981: Scorpio - (As 'Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five')
  • 1981: The Adventures of Grandmaster Flash on the Wheels of Steel - (As 'Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five')
  • 1982: The Message - (As 'Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five')
  • 1982: Message II (Survival) - (As 'Melle Mel & Duke Bootee')
  • 1983: New York New York - (As 'Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five')
  • 1983: White Lines (Don't Don't Do It) - (As 'Grandmaster & Melle Mel' / 'Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five' / 'Grandmaster Flash and Melle Mel')
  • 1984: Continuous White Lines - (Remix - as 'Grandmaster Melle Mel and the Furious Five)
  • 1984: Jesse - (As 'Grandmaster Melle Mel)
  • 1984: Beat Street Breakdown aka Beat Street - (As 'Grandmaster Melle Mel and the Furious Five')
  • 1984: Step Off - (As 'Grandmaster Melle Mel and the Furious Five')
  • 1984: We Don't Work for Free - (As 'Grandmaster Melle Mel and the Furious Five')
  • 1984: World War III - (As 'Grandmaster Melle Mel and the Furious Five' / 'Grandmaster Melle Mel')
  • 1985: King Of the Streets - (As 'Grandmaster Melle Mel')
  • 1985: Pump Me Up - (As 'Grandmaster Melle Mel and the Furious Five')
  • 1985: Vice - (As 'Grandmaster Melle Mel')
  • 1985: The Mega-Melle Mix - (As 'Melle Mel')
  • 1988: Gold - (As 'Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five')
  • 1988: Magic Carpet Ride - (As 'Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five')
  • 1994: Sun Don't Shine in the Hood - (Split 12" single with Da Original as 'The Furious Five')
  • 1995: The Message '95 - (Remix - as 'Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five'
  • 1997: The Message - (Remix - as 'Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five')
  • 1997: Mama - (As 'Grandmaster Mele-Mel & Scorpio')
  • 1997: Mr. Big Stuff - (As 'Grandmaster Mele-Mel & Scorpio')
  • 2003: Where Ya At? - (As 'Melle Mel')
  • 2007: M-3 - (As 'Grandmaster Mele Mel')
  • 2011: Markus Schulz Presents Dakota feat. Grandmaster Mele Mel & Scorpio - Sleepwalkers


  • What's the Matter with Your World? - (with Van Silk) 1989
  • What Order - (with Keith LeBlanc) 1996
  • RSVP - (with Nikkole) 2005

In 1986 Melle Mel also made a guest appearance on the songs "MC Story" by MC Chill and Emanon (The Baby Beatbox) and the single "Susie" collaborating with Afrika Bambaataa on "Who do you think your funkin with".

Music VideosEdit



See AlsoEdit

Melle Mel
Studio albums Grandmaster Melle Mel and the Furious Five · Right Now · Muscles
Compilation albums
with the Furious Five The Message · On the Strength
Songs Where Ya At? · M-3
Related articles Grandmaster Flash · Sugar Hill Records · Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five
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