If you're friends with singer Mela Machinko (who has collaborated with artists like Talib Kweli, Pharoahe Monch and Rapsody) or simply follow her on social media, then you know she will occasionally throw #deepthots (or terrifying videos of blood-sucking insects) into the ether at random. It's one of her most endearing traits (outside of her phenomenal voice), but this time she outdid herself, 21 years after The Notorious B.I.G.'s legendary debut Ready to Die hit the streets.
Pull the truck up front, and roll up the next blunt
So we can steam on the way to the telly, go fill my belly
A T-bone steak, cheese eggs and Welch's grape
A T-bone steak, cheese eggs and Welch's grape — what do those lines mean to you (besides being from one of the greatest rap songs of all time, The Notorious B.I.G.'s "Big Poppa")? Well, apparently they mean a lot to many people. Memes have been resurrected in the breakfast foods' honor, and in the middle of the night last week (while being hungry, naturally), Mela posed the hypothetical question to Facebook: Is Biggie referencing Welch's grape juice, soda or jelly? "That’s when I realized there was this huge rip in the fabric of reality," Mela explains. "I never really thought that anyone would think anything outside of soda. I was #TeamSoda initially. Now I don’t know."
The question spread like wildfire, as it poured onto Twitter and other social media platforms, with even Forbes joining the debate. "People were sharing it by the dozens," Mela says. "Even people I don't know were starting new threads of their own." Writer/author Thembisa Mshaka christened the debate as #GrapeGate, while weighing in herself that she had a firsthand account of watching Big drink Welch's grape juice during a breakfast outing on the West Coast years back. Blogger/personality Koku Tona hit Lil Cease on Instagram and he vouched for grape soda. Knobody from the legendary production team Hitmen said it was grape jelly. So now what?
Mela formed a Google Hangout today with varied breakdowns of the debate — including legal expertise, video footage and photos (watch that here). A menu from Big's favorite Brooklyn eatery, The Country Kitchen, was also presented, and a phone call to the establishment confirmed that they serve (you guessed it) Welch's grape juice, grape soda and grape jelly. "There was absolutely no consensus," Mela jokes about the conference. "I think that maybe we have educated people, but I don’t think it was resolved at all. I don’t think it can be to tell you the truth."
She says this with the caveat of one important piece of evidence that surfaced following our Google Hangout conference. "I was sent a press photo of Biggie standing outside of a bodega holding a bottle of Welch’s Grape Soda," she reveals. Welch's Grape Soda enthusiasts may rejoice over this discovery, but don't get too excited. Mela and her #GrapeGate team plan to head over to The Country Kitchen (where it is presumed that Big was eating in that reference) to find out for themselves. "We’re going to order Welch’s Grape and see what they give us," she says.
As an avid participant in #GrapeGate, we will keep you posted on our findings. For some Mela Machinko tunes, get them here.
(Photo: David Corio/Redferns)