Grandmaster Melle Mel: "'White Lines' Came to Me in a Dream"

Grandmaster Melle Mel: "'White Lines' Came to Me in a Dream"

Published Fri, March 3, 2023 at 4:11 PM EST

Grandmaster Flash & The Furious frontman Grandmaster Melle Mel is currently touring the country in a series of lectures celebrating the 40th Anniversary of 1982's groundbreaking hit "The Message."

In the presentation co-hosted by ROCK THE BELLS' JayQuan, Mel also discusses his writing process and inspiration for 1983's "White Lines" (which turns 40 this year), "Beat Street Breakdown," "New York, New York" and "World War III". In a recent lecture at Emerson College in Boston, Mel revealed that his 1983 hit, "White Lines," came to him in a dream.

"The melody to 'White Lines' is right there in the song 'The Cavern' by Liquid Liquid," he said. "They kind of mumble, but I made up 'something like a phenomenon telling your body to come along' to their melody."

He continued, "I had a dream that I was going to The Roxy to meet Scorpio. Scorpio was standing on this platform posing like a statue, trippin' out while people took pictures. When I came in, the song 'White Lines', that I ended up making was playing. I had the idea to write the song because I had the dream."

Mel says that after the record was released, he was going to The Roxy to meet Scorpio on a Friday night. Scorpio was standing on stage while people snapped pictures, then the record came on. "That's how the record came about," Mel said. "It was like a deja vu."

It was supposed to be a Grandmaster Flash & The Furious 5 song, but the group had just broken up. That's why the label said Grandmaster And Melle Mel because we needed to use as much of the brand as we could.

- Grandmaster Melle Mel

"White Lines" has enjoyed a recent resurgence with its inclusion in the trailer for Cocaine Bear. Pusha T also created a remake of "White Lines" which appears in a later trailer. "White Lines" was a huge record in the United States, but it was bigger in the UK and Melle Mel says that when the group performs it in the U.K., they perform it last, as opposed to the U.S. where "The Message" is last.

"'White Lines' stayed on the UK charts longer than the U.S., and it reached number one. It was knocked out of the top spot by 'Relax' by Frankie Goes To Hollywood."

In 1995, Duran Duran remade "White Lines" and many rappers have used interpolations of it in their music. Melle Mel and Scorpio are currently touring to commemorate the 40th anniversaries of "The Message" and "White Lines."

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