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Jay-Z & Timbaland »

What do you get when you take the greatest living rapper and the greatest hip hip producer. You get one hot album. Sign the petition and lets make it happen.

by kenn on 12/05/2003 04:35:00 PM


"It's been a long time / I shouldn't have left you."

When you begin a bio with a classic quote from Rakim Allah you better
know someone special is on the way. And when you're talking about
hip-hop's boy wonder, the brother who "came of age" as the understudy to
the game's greatest, "special" has been an adjective used for more than
a few albums now. Nah, it ain't Jigga, this your little nigga, Bleek.
Memphis Bleek. M Easy. The mutli-platinum, club-rocking, chic-sweating
lil' child from the Marcy ghetto is back, and this time he got something
to prove.

"I'm back to being a problem to these niggas!"

The album is called M.A.D.E., the third in the career of this
twenty-five year old MC, and it's destined to be the best of his life.
Building on the success of his first two efforts Coming Of Age & The
Understanding, two books of ghetto verse that turned a young man from an
underestimated apprentice into a well-respected MC, M.A.D.E. is going to
represent the identity of an artist the game has grown to love. Expect
more beats and rhymes; boasts and brags; club bangers and radio hits.
And expect more of the kind of highly quotable lines the streets have
come to expect from one of the most likable and charismatic artists ever
to holla at the never-tired question: "Is Brooklyn in the house?" I'm
standing on the block with one pant leg up like and what? Bleek
proclaimed unforgettably. Well, now he got more for ya.

"On this album, I never thought about what to say," he muses. "I just
thought about how to say it. All of the topics were in my head

See, there's experience you learn from running the world as the young
prince of Roc-A-Fella Records. Call hip-hop a game, then Bleek learned
to be a playa. Think of the music as an art form like no other, and the
Memph Man, who was first heard on Jay's classic debut Reasonable Doubt
at the age of sixteen, has steadily become a master of his craft.

"My first album, Coming Of Age, was all about me hustling, coming up in
the projects and just trying to stay alive in New York City. The
Understanding represented the kid off the street who gets a little bit
of paper, is in the club and bitches are fucking with him. But this time
with M.A.D.E.? Now I'm on some grown man shit."

The claim is proved true from the album's first track: a mellow, slinky
guitar-driven ball of fire called "My Life." With two scorching verses,
"My Life" talks of struggle and progress, growth, maturity and the
realities of becoming a man. "I got my first work about the age of
14.though the money was average, I didn't care, I learned to handle that
package." Built to sow a thoughtful seed in the ears of its listeners -
an audience who will be pleasantly surprised to hear such musings from
their favorite young gun - it's a true statement of being. Because truth
be told, when Memphis Bleek talks of "grown man shit", best believe he
means real life shit.

A few days prior to the scheduled filming of the third video for Bleek's
second album, Bleek's brother had a terrible motorcycle accident in
Miami, Florida. Bleek had no other thought than to drop the music game
and head south to take care of his brother. The decision may have put
The Understanding on pause, but it put this artist's journey of
self-discovery on fast-forward. Guess who gets to benefit?

"Give you the pen, the book, the word, the truth, the sight, the mind /
I put it down, you call it a rhyme. I call it a sign / I predict the
unpredictable. Heaven is invisible, but hell isn't physical."

In '03 we learned "Hypnotic" ain't your average liquor. Now we know it
certainly ain't your average song. The self-proclaimed "craziest record
I ever did" is a sick piece of Just Blaze two-thousand-to-infinity
"It's like a preacher preaching in scripts or a psychic reading the palm
/ Lines give me what I write in a song / The book is now open, so let
the story be told / I entered through your mind and exit the back of
your soul." Oh yeah, all that before Beanie Sigel and the Blueprint man
himself get to have their turn on this incestuous, flute-heavy groove.

"See you don't always have to be that nigga to be that nigga," Memphis
Bleek is quick to say. But this is way too selfless of a thought coming
from the brother who had the skills and saw an opportunity. With "It's
Alright", "Hey Papi", & "Money, Cash, Hoes (remix)", Bleek took
advantage of those guest verses in a way that can only be envied. Now,
after hit singles like "Memph Bleek Is", "What You Think of That", "Do
My" & "Is That Your Chick?", and two hit albums under his belt, Memph
Bleek is ready to give back. "I'ma show you how a ghetto nigga look when
he achieve something," he says confidently.

"Understand Me Still," perhaps the most personal song Memphis Bleek is
ever written, deals with the loss of his brother, the birth of a
first-born son, and the many adjustments he made with himself and his
family since he last hit the airwaves. "It was hard writing that song.I
probably wrote it over five times," Bleek admits. "But on some real
shit, I had to be real with niggas and let 'em know how it's going

And so if it has to have "been a long time," at least a true artist
knows how to take advantage of the moments away. Memphis Bleek, the
brother with one of the most memorable names in hip-hop is back for
another round. M.A.D.E. Now what you think of that?

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