Memphis Bleek conducted by Hugo Lunny  

Concentrating On The Energy

March 2005

It's always interesting how success is measured. The backpackers look for "integrity," the thugs look for "hardcore" material and the mainstream look for what's "catchy." But how do you really measure success? If it's through record sales then Memphis Bleek is truly overlooked. In comparison to his friend and mentor Jay-Z, Bleek pales. His sales just cannot stand up, but by himself, he does quite alright. Platinum plaques he may not currently have, but going gold consistently; reaching over 500,000 people is nothing to turn your nose up at.

From being brought onto the scene through the classic LP "Reasonable Doubt," Bleek has had a lot to live up to at a very young age. His adult education revolved mainly around experiences through being catapulted alongside the forefront of a hugely successful record label, and so other than his prior experiences, Bleek's world has been quite different to what your typical young man would witness.

In May of 2005, Bleek will release his fourth album "534," the first Roc-A-Fella release since Jay took over Def Jam and he and Dame parted ways.

MVRemix: What are the differences between the Memphis Bleek of "534" and the Memphis Bleek of "Coming of Age"?

Memphis Bleek: I'm all grown up now! Things have changed since then. In '96 I was a hustler. In 2005, I'm a business man. A lot of things have changed, there's a lot more places I've seen and things I've learned over the years. Memphis Bleek Interview

MVRemix: Tell me about the album itself.

Memphis Bleek: The album is just like a stepping stone to show people that the new Roc-A-Fella is still here and that I ain't never left and that I'm the heir to the throne - lyrically, mentally, physically - everything is about that on this album. The last album, "M.A.D.E." was so depressing and down because I went through a lot of downfalls in my life at that time. So I just wanted to come back with a lot of energy. So this album is just that, energy.

MVRemix: I was going to ask how your brother was doing and whether there would be more introspective stuff, like "My Life." But it's going to be more energetic instead?

Memphis Bleek: Yes definitely. I have a song which is retrospective of one of my friends who passed away in the city on a train, and it's called "Straight Path" where I'm talkin' 'bout him. But as far as my brother - thank you for asking, he's doing well now. I'm not talkin' 'bout that no more. But like I have a song called "Straight Path" for any child that done or grew up in an area like I've grown up in, that's that. Once you go down the wrong path you can never clean it up. Just because you quit don't mean your enemies quit.

MVRemix: There were rumours and there was talk a little while ago about an entire album produced by 9th Wonder, what's the situation with that?

Memphis Bleek: No, 9th Wonder was doing a lot of production for my album. Everybody thought he was doing the whole album, but unfortunately... I was able to get two nice, good records from him. He did a lot of production - we did a bunch of songs together and I hope one day we could release a album together.

MVRemix: What's the current relationship with Beanie Sigel? And what are your thoughts on his current situation?

Memphis Bleek: As far as the situation, I feel that no man belongs in jail. And to promote an album from jail is the most dificult thing because you have to be in the streets and physically seen so people can believe what you're talkin' about and what your promoting. I feel like his situation is wrong, it's wrong timing.

MVRemix: There was also talk of you two putting out an album together. Is that ever gonna happen?

Memphis Bleek: I don't know... I hope it does. I hope we still get to work on that album because it'd be a classic, definitely.

MVRemix: What's the current situation between yourself and Dame Dash?

Memphis Bleek: It's... We friends. I don't see him that much no more. I don't speak to him or nothin' like if I see him we say "Hello" and "Goodbye" and that's really it.

MVRemix: So with the split of Roc-A-Fella, basically things are just all business now?

Memphis Bleek: Yeah, they always been business. It ain't nothin' personal.

>> continued...

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