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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 4/24/2005 12:12:00 PM

A Bleek Interview

Source: BS

This is it for Memphis Bleek! With his back against the wall and the pressure mounting, it is now or never for him to finally live up to the hype. Bleek was once regarded
as the future of the Roc and the heir to Jay-z's throne, but after three albums, Memphis Bleek is still searching for that one that catapults his career into the upper echelon.

534 looks to be that album. With the Swizz Beatz produced single, "Like That," already taking over the airwaves, Bleek may have that one hit he has been searching for. Can young Memphis over come the odds? BallerStatus.net decided to find out.

BallerStatus.net: On The Blueprint, Jay said you were one hit away. Do you think "Like That" is that one hit?

Memphis Bleek: Naw, I have a lot more than that on this album. People are saying that "Like That" is a hit, but I don't judge my records that way. I don't know until the BDS jumps up to ten thousand (laughs)...

BallerStatus.net: So is Def Jam going to go extra hard with this single? More than usual?

Memphis Bleek: Yeah, definitely. We just shot the video, and it's filled with a lot of energy. So all these people acting too cool in their video, we gonna turn it on them (laughs).

BallerStatus.net: Personally, I think with every album you have gotten better, so does that progression continue on 534?

Memphis Bleek: Yeah, I feel like growth is an important gem to all of us as artists. Because when you rap one way on this album, and you put out another album and you rap the same exact way, it is only a matter of time until people get tired of listening to you. When you switch it up, show people you are grown, you are smarter and have more knowledge than when you first came into the game, it keeps the fans interested. It's like a movie; if it talked about the same thing throughout the whole picture, you are going to cut it off because you know what its going to be about.

BallerStatus.net: So this is this your best album?

Memphis Bleek: Definitely! The only album that can compete with this one out of my previous three is The Understanding.

BallerStatus.net: What was your mindset going into this album?

Memphis Bleek: I gotta win! (laughs) I got to win! "Round Here" (Bleek's single off of M.A.D.E.) was supposed to be way bigger than what it was, so I feel like I had the short hand of the stick because at that time, Roc-A-Fella and the whole business was going through their separation. My album got caught up in the middle and wasn't marketed and promoted like it should have been. This time I felt I had to go back in the studio and prove to people that I can do this for real!

BallerStatus.net: Who is doing the production on the album?

Memphis Bleek: As you know, Swizz Beatz did some tracks. We also got 9th Wonder, and some new cats like Quan, and Shay Taylor. My man Coptic, and Irv Gotti did a track for me. Man, I don't want to forget anybody...

BallerStatus.net: Just Blaze?

Memphis Bleek: Yeah, Just Blaze, how did I forget him? He gave me three smokers on the album! He did the intro for Jay on the album. Jay has his own song where he goes in on 'em, it's crazy.

BallerStatus.net: What about Kanye West?

Memphis Bleek: Naw, but I actually spoke to Kanye, and he gave me the most respectable answer I have ever heard. He said he is saving all the hot beats for his album (laughs).

BallerStatus.net: You did that song with 9th Wonder called "Alright," is that still going to be on the album because that joint is crazy?

Memphis Bleek: Yeah, that is definitely on the album.

BallerStatus.net: How many tracks did you do with 9th for this album?

Memphis Bleek: I got two. He did that one and this other one called "Smoke The Pain Away." It's crazy!

BallerStatus.net: What guest appearances do you have on 534?

Memphis Bleek: Just Jay and M.O.P., that's it.

BallerStatus.net: How does this album differ from your other three?

Memphis Bleek: It's grown up. I feel the subject and content is different, I never really went this lane. On M.A.D.E., I tried to go the conscious lane, where I felt bad about some of the things that I have been through or done. This time, I wanted to go in the lane of having more energy and fun. But I'm going to be talking about real situations, instead of just mixing up cars and jewelry on every other song.

BallerStatus.net: What happened to that track "Yes"? I thought that had potential to be a hit.

Memphis Bleek: They played me on that! See, it's politics with the radio man. I'm trying to learn their system, and once I do, they are never going to lock me out again.

BallerStatus.net: Roc-A-Fella has been a huge empire the past 10 years, so it is sad to see it come to this, with the big split.

Memphis Bleek: Naw, it's cool. I feel it's better for business. Everybody needs a change. It's like when you have a child, they are supposed to live with you until they are 18 or whatever, and then they move out on their own. Every business or business man has to grow, go out, and conquer something on their own. I feel us at Roc-A-Fella, we made a lot of money over those 10 years, but a lot of people got fat and lazy. The work ethic wasn't there anymore because we felt as if, "We are Roc-A-Fella. We are the hottest. Nobody is going to beat us, so we'll just put music out." Me as an artist, it took away from what I felt. I just don't make music for you to put out. I make music to really go out the right way, because I put my all into it. I just don't go in the studio and words come out the air. These are real life situations that I have been through, and I pour my heart into my music. So I hope that somebody stands behind it the same way I do. I feel that at Roc-A-Fella, that element was not there anymore. Everybody was letting the music do whatever. Just put it out on a mixtape, whatever.

BallerStatus.net: Was it an easy choice for you to go with Jay, instead of Dame?

Memphis Bleek: That's not even a question. Jay is my dog; there is nobody else in this industry that is ever going to have a Memphis Bleek signed to their label.

BallerStatus.net: In your opinion, did the media over hype the spilt and make it seem personal between Jay and Dame?

Memphis Bleek: Definitely! They are trying to make it seem like it's beef. That is the one thing I am getting confused about -- in regards to hip-hop -- because when something bad happens in hip-hop, everybody says beef is bad! But then you listen to the radio, and pick up magazines, everybody is promoting it. They throw fuel to the fire, but once somebody gets burnt, "Oh it's bad!" The whole game is one big contradiction to me.

BallerStatus.net: With everybody choosing sides between Jay and Dame, does that affect your relationship with any of your former label mates?

Memphis Bleek: Naw, it's all good. I don't have a problem with nobody. If anybody feels they have a problem, they should address me.

BallerStatus.net: Have you spoken to Beanie lately?

Memphis Bleek: Naw, but I am definitely going to take a trip to Philly on his release date to see where his mind is at. See what it is, because that is my brother, I love Beans! Beyond music, beyond Roc-A-Fella, whatever, if this thing fell apart tomorrow, I would still have the same love for Beans. I just wanna go and make sure that he has the same love for me.

BallerStatus.net: I noticed you weren't on his new album. There is usually a Bleek and Beans track on every one of his albums.

Memphis Bleek: If you think about it, I wasn't on any of the State Property albums neither, or the Young Gunz, and Freeway album.

BallerStatus.net: Why was that?

Memphis Bleek: I felt like... come on man, I ain't gonna do it. I ain't gonna put out no bad information. I don't know why it's like that though. To me, it felt like somebody was trying to erase me out of the Roc-A-Fella picture. Look at all the new Roc Army, Roc 4 Life campaigns ads and all of that. Roc-A-Fella does not exist without Memphis Bleek because without me, the Roc would have never been a record company. I was the first artist that sold any type of records for them to even have a deal with Def Jam, and be able to say they are a label and sign other artists besides Jay-z. So for you to put out a picture and say you are the Roc Family, and I'm not there? Who's family is that? (laughing) Me and Jay are not there? That is the fake family! So take it for what its worth.

BallerStatus.net: And what picture is this?

Memphis Bleek: Pick up these magazines and you will see the Roc-A-Fella 10 year anniversary picture. They got a bunch of people in there I have never even seen before.

BallerStatus.net: I'm not one to focus on beef, but I know you challenged Game to a battle for money. Any chance of that happening?

Memphis Bleek: I hope so, if he feels he wants to be competitive with me. As far as beef in these streets, or anything like that, I don't have any problems with him; I don't even know him. I never said anything about money, that was [Funkmaster] Flex. I don't care about the money, its whatever. If they put a price on it, we gonna match it. It's just when and where.

BallerStatus.net: What else do you have going on in the future?

Memphis Bleek: Just this album man. 534 will be in stores on May 17, and the first single is "Like That." After that, you know what comes next. You might see me with some sneakers or clothes. At Hugh Heffner's house, chillin there. You know what happens when you make records (laughs). Anything can happen.

BallerStatus.net: Any last words or shout outs?

Memphis Bleek: I just want to thank everybody out there that has supported Roc-A-Fella since '96, and we ain't going no where. We are still here when the smoke clears.

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