"; ?> Rocafella BLOG 5.1 | ROC Podcast in the Works
Rocafella.comRocaWear.comOffical Kanye West Web SiteDash Films - Coming Soon


ROC Media Kit: RMK1.0
Quick Reviews
Aztek Escobar
The Charles' Critical Corner

Antman (MIA)
Nikki (coming soon)


Kanye does so why don't you. Speak your mind on the new Messageboard. Its up to you to build the community. Unlike Rocafella.com's forum its free.
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 3/31/2005 03:06:00 PM

A Bleek Interview


SoundSlam recently got in touch with Rocafella recording artist Memphis Bleek. Bleek was the first artist signed to the Roc under Dame Dash and Jay Z. He’s also a longtime childhood friend of Jay. He is currently pushin’ his upcoming album, his fourth since entering the game. He took a chunk out of his busy schedule to give his fans the haps on what’s crackin’ right now. Take a few minutes to see what Bleek states about Jay Z, his upcoming record, camera phones, the velvet rope, and why his attitude toward his career has changed over the past couple months.

SoundSlam: Eh, what’s poppin’ Memphis…how you doin’?

Memphis Bleek: I’m chillin’ out, just takin’ it easy. I’m straight and I’m prepared for this. This is four times in a row.

SoundSlam: Word up. Okay, we’ll just start off like this. This is something you’ve probably heard, but some critics and fans have said that you have been living, artistically, in the shadows of Jay Z, even dating back to the Marcy PJ’s. Do you feel that this is the case, that you’re livin’ in this looming shadow that you can’t escape, artistically?

Memphis Bleek: Naw, I don’t even think about that, know what I’m sayin’. I mean, it’s a gift and a curse to be connected to somebody as large as him and then try to do my own thing and then people criticize me because I’m connected to him.

SoundSlam: Yeah, that’s word.

Memphis Bleek: And, you know, for people to say that artistically that I’m in his shadow…I don’t see that. I mean, I haven’t sold half the records that man has sold, I don’t sound half the way he sound, you know what I’m sayin’? I’m Bleek, I do what I want to do…it ain’t my fault I grew up with him.

SoundSlam: So has that put any extra pressure on your career moves or has it benefited them?

Memphis Bleek: It’s helped me because just when he get on a record and say your name, and I don’t have a record out, I’m hot again.

SoundSlam: Yeah, that’s the truth, that is how that shit works.

Memphis Bleek: Yeah, definitely.

SoundSlam: What are the best and worst parts of this rap life you’re livin’? I mean, we all know there are certain perks like not havin’ to work the monotonous 9 to 5 bullshit job, but at the same time, there must be certain setbacks or annoyances that you deal with.

Memphis Bleek: Yeah, the best part of makin’ records is doin’ the shows. Getting out there and interactin’ with the people that buy the records and support, and that’s the best thing in hip hop to me. The worst thing in hip hop is when the microphone and the cameras and everything cut off, and when you walk outside the attention is still on, especially with camera phones out now. There’s no privacy out there, and sometimes it’s all good, but sometimes I might be dealin’ with a personal problem but I still gotta walk around happy because somebody gonna ask for an autograph or a picture.

SoundSlam: Right. That’s actually somethin’ I’m gonna touch on in a little bit toward the end of the interview. I am curious though, are there any particular shows that set you off as “damn, that was my highest moment” or “that was the shit!” and seemed like the pinnacle of what you do?

Memphis Bleek: Definitely, the biggest show is Madison Square Garden.

SoundSlam: Word up. Yeah, it’s home too.

Memphis Bleek: Yeah, Madison Square Garden, no doubt. To be in your own city and to rap and be in front of that many people in such a historic place like that…can’t ask for anything better.

SoundSlam: So, as you’ve grown in age as an artist, or just with general experience with the music industry, how has your approach to makin’ a record, or video, tourin’, whatever, how has that changed since you began in the 90s?

Memphis Bleek: I just want to have more fun now.

SoundSlam: Yeah? What do you mean by that, exactly?

Memphis Bleek: Like, you go through the artist phase where you’re in the club, the security from the club put you in V.I.P. behind the velvet rope and everybody tryin’ to get to you, know what I mean? Instead of doin’ all that, I’m gonna stand in the middle of the dance floor and dance with everybody like it’s one big ball in this party. I’m goin’ out to have a good time, man. Because when I look back when I’m an old man, I want to be able to say “yo, I really had fun!”, nahmsayin.

SoundSlam: Is part of that that when artists start out, they have to get over that hump of bein’ a starving artist, and once you got signed to Rocafella and dropped a record or two, is that when it started to get fun? Or at what point did that start to occur with you?

Memphis Bleek: I feel that just happened when I released the first single to this new album comin’ out.

SoundSlam: For real?

Memphis Bleek: Yep. So, it’s taken awhile for me to really say, “yeah, I’m havin’ fun!” nahmsayin? Like, that’s why I can’t walk around like the average artist just thinkin’ you tough all day. If you think about the world, nobody want to be mad, everybody want to feel good about something, and their music they way to escape and feel good and you gotta give them that energy and take it there for them so that when they see you on t.v. havin’ fun, they gonna want to just do what you did.

SoundSlam: Yeah, that’s something else…I mean, I’m teachin’ high school right now as well as doin’ the journalism and I dj, so I’m around and I hear kids talkin’ about the latest beef between peoples and crews, so the public only has access to a certain perspective. And especially recently, there’s been all this beef between mafuckas and crews, and rappers droppin’ diss tracks left and right at each other…do you think that that beef, or projected beef that they put out there, allows for the over-hyped drama to give hip hop a bad name and lose some integrity in the name of hip hop? And is it real?

Memphis Bleek: Naw man, that shit is faker than ever….faker than WWF.

SoundSlam: Are they doin it to push units?

Memphis Bleek: I hope not because if you have to beat somebody up to sell records, there’s gonna be a lot of ass-kickin goin on, know what I mean. But naw man, I think it take away from hip hop, honestly. That’s whack, man, if you make good music, you don’t have to start a club fight and get into a shoot-out to prove that to people. And as far as the beef records, I don’t even understand it…it’s kinda queer-ish to me. Because when I’m in the studio, I ain’t thinkin’ about no other man…I’m talkin’ about some ladies on my record.

SoundSlam: I think people, especially recently, I think mafuckas have been takin’ it too far and need to just stick to what they do and make music and not worry about what so and so did at this label, etc.

Memphis Bleek: yeah man, everybody wanna be Tupac. They wanna live the “Juice” life.

SoundSlam: haha, I like that. So, what’ve you been doin’ in the studio since the last record because word is born that you been workin’ with 9th Wonder, Just Blaze is obviously always around, so what’s goin on now?

Memphis Bleek: Yeah, I got the new album, 534, comin out May 17th. The first single is “Like That,” produced by Swizz Beatz, and we just shot the video two days ago. And you know, that’s it, I just been in the studio doin’ that. And like you said, I got production comin’ from 9th Wonder, Just Blaze, Swizz, Irv Gotti, two new cats: one by the name of Shea Taylor and the other by the name of Quan. And the others, I have production from my man, Coptic, Think, that’s really it right there. Featured on the album is M.O.P. and Jay Z. Jay did the intro to the album.

SoundSlam: What direction is the music takin? Because sometimes it can be a beautiful thing when you have all these different producers because you can get a full range of different sounds and styles, but at the same time, there are times when artists go to put that record together and there’s no flow or sort of rhythm to the album. Just like 21 different songs and they couldn’t figure out how to work it all together.

Memphis Bleek: I ain’t gonna lie, I’m tryin’ to touch every emotion that you have, man. If you want to have fun and get hyper, I got you. If you want to get some girls, I got you. If you feel like you need a real story-song that’s just a reflection of somethin that’s goin on in the street, I got it. If you the type of person that drink or smoke a little bit of marijuana and you stressed out about bein’ short on your bills or your girl stressin’ you out, I got you. It’s just different things. The flow of the album is real, the subject matter is just what’s relevant, what’s really goin’ on in people’s lives today.

SoundSlam: That’s peace. So, everything from street anthems to club bangers to social commentary…runnin’ the gamut, huh.

Memphis Bleek: Yes, definitely.

SoundSlam: Okay, something you already sorta touched on, I wanted to bring back up real quick. See, when I do these interviews, I want to know the newest news and all that because I am the direct link between you, the artist, and the people, the fans. But at the same time, I feel that as part of the media, the media gets shit mixed up. And the media and the public only see the rapper side of Memphis Bleek and not the person, not who Memphis Bleek really is. So, what sort of misconceptions have you noticed floatin’ around or do you have to deal with?

Memphis Bleek: Nothin’ really because I never really exaggerated or portrayed myself as bein’ a super, enormous drug lord or a super, killa manilla dude. I talk real so people respect me, nawmeen? They respect what I done and what I talk about and how I live, like, when the microphone and the lights cut off, man, I go home and I’m with my son, man. Like, I’ll probably just take him out and probably take him out to a Sesame Street play or somethin’, just havin’ fun spendin’ time with my lil’ man because I didn’t have a father growin’ up. That’s really what Bleek is about, man, just spendin’ time with my son.

SoundSlam: Aww, that’s a lovely thing to hear. But how do you deal with all the public attention, like you said earlier, with the camera phones and all that. Do you ever just feel that sudden urge to step back and get away from it all, or is it even possible to do that?

Memphis Bleek: Yeah, sometimes I have to do that. See, what I’m gon’ do, I’m gonna buy me a George Bush mask and I’m just gonna walk around in that.

SoundSlam: Shiiit, I don’t know if that’d help you out or not, homey, haha.

Memphis Bleek: Hahaha, yeah. But naw, sometimes it does get on your nerves because you’re just tryin’ to relax with your family or whatever, but you know, we make music man and we gotta do that. That’s the people out their supportin’ us and that’s the least we can do is take that little two minutes to take a picture.

SoundSlam: Word up. Okay, as a dj, I pay attention to what records come out and when, and I was curious if you’ve had a lot of music shelved, or white label promo only releases, because I hear this mixtape track or hear about a joint that you can never find anywhere. Have you had to deal with any record label bullshit like that?

Memphis Bleek: Naw, everything is straight, it’s just me as an artist, I make so many records, so many songs, that I just give ‘em out. I have a bunch of records just floatin’ around on the internet now, like, I just give ‘em out and certain dj’s get ‘em, others don’t. We might ‘white label’ a record if it don’t get the response we wanted it to get, so we pull it. But, if you got the white label then you have it…it’s an exclusive for you. And it’s me doin’ that, not the label.

SoundSlam: It’s good to see you still have some significant control over that because artist don’t in a lot of situations.

Memphis Bleek: Yeah, I want to keep myself relevant with what’s goin on, man, and you gotta put somethin’ out.

SoundSlam: Aight, well good lookin’ out, and good luck on pushin’ and sellin’ records, homey.

Memphis Bleek: Yeah, thanks, man. No doubt. Cop the record.

Free Apple iPod Program