September 08, 2019

Memphis Bleek "Next" Feature In Vibe Magazine (February, 1999)

Following the lead of his fellow Marcy Projects, Brooklyn cohort Jay-Z, Roc-A-Fella's future attraction has risen from street-corner hustler to rap sensation. Coming off his attention-grabbing appearances on Jay's Vol.2... Hard Knock Life (Roc-A-Fella/Def Jam), including the opening blast, "Hand It Down," Bleek is confident and determined not to make the same mistake he did when stardom first knocked on his door. "After I did 'Coming Of Age' on Jay's first album [1996's Reasonable Doubt, Freeze/Roc-A-Fella], I thought I was a superstar. I started slacking and stopped writing rhymes, so my label was like, 'We ain't dealing with shorty no more.'" For a while, Bleek felt torn between supporting his mother, two sisters, and an older brother by illegal means and going legit with his rap talent. But he decided to try and let his rhyme skills pay the bills. Patching things up with Jigga and company, Bleek's club-friendly contribution to '98's Street Is Watching album, "It's Alright," reenergized his career. "One week before that record hit the stores, Damon Dash (Roc-A-Fella CEO) sat me in his office and was like, 'Yo, I'm telling you, this song is going to put your name out there,' He was right." Now that Bleek's got a name ("Memphis stands for Making Easy Money Pimpin' Hoes in Style), his future shines brightly. As he presses buttons on his cellular, making studio arrangements to record his forthcoming debut, he says, "Everybody's lookin' at me like, shorty's coming up, but I feel like I came up. And with my album, I want to make everybody respect me for me. Not just 'cause I'm down with Jay." Bleek's paid the cost, now he wants to be the boss. - Vibe (Feb., 1999).