Melle Mel explains why he thinks Frank Zane stands tall as the greatest bodybuilder of all time.
During our Generation Iron interviews, we always make sure to ask who the top five bodybuilders are of all time. Each person has a different list that reveals something about how they view bodybuilding. This held true for rapper and bodybuilding aficionado, Melle Mel. He not only picked a diverse top five – he placed a wild card for the very top of his list. In our latest GI Exclusive interview, Melle Mel details why he believes Frank Zane is the greatest bodybuilder ever – even above the likes of Ronnie Coleman.
Frank Zane is truly a legendary athlete. This much is known throughout the bodybuilding community. But if you were to start discussing the greatest bodybuilder of all time, Zane might not be at the very top of the list. That is usually reserved for the likes of Arnold Schwarzenegger, Ronnie Coleman, or Lee Haney among perhaps a few others.
Melle Mel thinks it’s time for Frank Zane to get his due. Again, there is no one who undervalues Zane as a whole. He has gone down in history as a true legend in the sport. But for Melle Mel – that’s not enough. Zane should be noted as the single greatest bodybuilder of all time.
Of course, this comes back down to the debate of size versus aesthetic. Bodybuilders like Dorian Yates and Ronnie Coleman changed the game. The limits were pushed into inhuman levels and created the term mass monster. Ever since then, the broader and heavier look has reigned supreme.
Check out our latest GI Exclusive with Melle Mel above!
For Melle Mel, Frank Zane represents a perfect physique before the world turned towards mass monsters. His aesthetic, conditioning, and size all came together into something perfect. More reminiscent to a Roman statue than The Hulk. It showcased a true mastery of bodybuilding without the bigger health risks.
Melle Mel believes that health should still be more of a consideration in pro bodybuilding. He prefers classic physiques of yesteryear because they still mastered muscle without taking it to extremely unhealthy places. It’s an opinion that he shares with a sub category of fans. Their outcry eventually led to the creation of the Classic Physique division.
Melle Mel even draws direct comparisons to Ronnie Coleman. Typically, Coleman is placed as a contender for the greatest bodybuilder of all time. Melle Mel thinks this is misplaced. Coleman certainly is one of the greatest but the sacrifice he paid for that physique promotes unhealthy choices. To Melle Mel, that’s not what bodybuilding should be about.
“Everybody loves Ronnie Coleman. He’s a great guy. I met him, I love him,” Melle Mel states in our interview. He continues:
“The difference between him and Frank Zane is like… I could look like Frank Zane… But you’re never going to look like Ronnie. And if you do there’s a price to be paid to look like Ronnie. And he’s paying the price and he’s a great man because he don’t shy away from it… but there’s a price to be paid because to look like Ronnie Coleman you will pay the price.”
You can watch Melle Mel list off his top five bodybuilders of all time and go more in-depth on Frank Zane by checking out our latest GI Exclusive interview segment above!