Tribute Sundayz – Happy Birthday Memphis Bleek

Memphis Bleek

Background information

Birth name – Malik Cox
Born – June 23, 1978 (age 35)
Origin – Marcy Houses, Brooklyn, New York
Genres – Hip hop
Occupations – Rapper
Actor
Record Producer
Years active – 1995–present
Labels – Get Low Records (1996–Present)
Roc-a-Fella Records (1996–2009)
Mass Appeal Entertainment (2009–Present)
Associated acts – Jay-Z, Beanie Sigel, Beenie Man, Too $hort, Ja Rule, DMX
Malik Cox (born June 23, 1978), better known by his rap persona of Memphis Bleek or “Bleek”, is a New York rapper[1] mainly known for his tenure with Roc-a-Fella Records and CEO of his own label Get Low Records. He has released four albums during his career (all of which went Gold) , and had planned to release The Process in 2011, although the album has yet to be completed.

Biography

NYC 1998
Memphis Bleek was one of the first artists signed to Roc-A-Fella Records, as protégé to longtime friend, Jay-Z. He appeared on the Jay-Z albums: Reasonable Doubt, Vol. 2… Hard Knock Life, Vol. 3… Life and Times of S. Carter, The Dynasty: Roc La Familia, and The Blueprint 2: The Gift & The Curse.[2] Bleek’s first official appearance was “Coming of Age” from Reasonable Doubt. After the huge success of Hard Knock Life and the exposure of the Roc-A-Fella camp, (a Memphis Bleek track off the aforementioned Jay-Z album, “It’s Alright”, actually charted on Billboard), the label released Memphis Bleek’s debut album, Coming of Age. The album was the weeks Hot Shot Debut on the Billboard 200, peaking at #7 with 118,000 units sold in its first week.[3] The name “Memphis”, which the rapper explained to pay homage to pimps, was an acronym for “Making Easy Money, Pimping Hoes In Style”. He has released 3 more albums since his debut, The Understanding, M.A.D.E., and 534 (all of which went Gold) . In between the release of The Understanding and M.A.D.E., he took a three year hiatus, in which time he took care of his older brother, who was seriously injured in a motorcycle accident.[4] There are three significant notes to take away from the album 534, which was named after the building number where Memphis and Jay-Z grew up in the Marcy Projects. First, it was the first release from the “new” Roc-A-Fella Records, referring to Jay-Z becoming President of Def Jam.[5] It was also the first official Def Jam recording by label mate turned international star, Rihanna, on the song “The One”. And lastly, this album marks where Jay-Z released his first song since beginning his brief “retirement”. The song was called “Dear Summer”, in reference to what Jay called the time of the year when he would drop a classic album or single every year for 8 straight years, and how he had to metaphorically leave “her”, Summer.[6]

His single chart status has not proved to be as impressive, as much of his following being with Hip-Hop listeners following Jay-Z and the record Label, and not commercial singles success. His highest charting single was “Is That Yo Chick”, Featuring Missy Elliott and Jay-Z, which peaked at #7 on the Hot Rap Singles Billboard Chart, and only one of two songs by the artist to crack the Billboard Hot 100, peaking at #68, and the only track to appear on one of his solo albums. The other single being “It’s Alright”, appearing on the Hard Knock Life album by Jay-Z, peaking at #61 on the Billboard Hot 100.[7] He has had countless collaborations with fellow hip-hop artists such as DMX, Ja Rule, T.I., and Trick Daddy, with many of the features coming with other Roc-A-Fella artists, including Beanie Sigel, Freeway, Cam’ron, Amil, Young Gunz, and of course Jay-Z.

In fall 2005, Memphis Bleek told MTV that he was recording an album called The Process, that he would describe as a make or break album, saying “I want to do an album that’s through the roof, I want to do a classic album. I feel that if this album I’m not recording is a classic, I’m not even gonna put it out. I have to do it bigger than anybody has ever done it. I have to make a good record this time, not just talking-junk records.”[8] The rapper has worked on the album since 2005 and during that time frame he would release the songs “Hustla”, “Get Ya Money Off” and “Let It Off”. During this time, he would also leave Roc-A-Fella after Jay-Z told him he could run his own company and had the proper distribution deals to do so.[9] He found a new home in 2009 when he signed to Mass Appeal Entertainment which is where he will release his long anticipated album The Process in 2010.[10]

In the summer of 2010, he was on stage with Jay-Z, as a background singer, on the Swedish festival Peace&Love.

Filmography

In 2002, Memphis Bleek made his acting debut in the film State Property. He played the role of Blizz. A year later, he was featured in the film, Paper Soldiers.

Discography

Main article: Memphis Bleek discography
Studio albums

1999: Coming of Age
2001: The Understanding
2003: M.A.D.E.
2005: 534
TBA: The Process

Red Everything Movement

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