Memphis Bleek never really was one-hit away.
Jay was just buggin, trying to gas us up, sell his product and secure returns on his retirement investment.
But the truth of the matter is Bleek’s close association with Jay has been both his blessing and curse simulataneously. The blessing is that son will always be taken of whether he ever creates a high-selling album or not. The curse being that he’ll forever be in Jay’s shadow, similar to how I never expect Spliff Star to outshine Busta. Bleek simply doesn’t have the persona or skills to step in front of the spotlight created for him by the one before him. He’s no Snoop. He’s no Pun.
But he’s Bleek.
And he’s created consistent albums. M.A.D.E. pretty much flew under the radar because everyone focused on him breaking into the radio ranks after “Round Here” got a buzz. Not his steez and while he was good @ making a track that could have commercial appeal, he’s more comfortable on the park benches or maybe being that older dude who bootlegs & fences goods. Not neccessarily still doing the hand to hand hustle, but just one of the many parts of the hood.
My favorite Bleek tracks…
“Murda Murda” – Even though Jay and Beans run slightly ahead, Bleek holds his own.
“Understand Me Still” and “My Life” – Both tracks are slow and braced by crooning hooks, but it’s Bleek’s ability to show the lesser seen, darker side of living Roc La Familia, especially after the never fatal crash of his brother took him out the studio for a prolonged period.
“First, Last & Only” – Featuring M.O.P., Bleek is @ home with some more gruff motherfuckers over the heavy bassline and horns that really carry this track. While you can’t put him in the same league as Billy & Fame, Memphis manages to hold his own.
“Remember The Roc” – A mixtape track that didn’t make an album, but Bleek does his mid-tempo flow just ahead of the beat, showcasing his spit.
“Regular Cat” – “…some aggin hit me with consigment/shit I settled with that…”…and that’s Bleek’s role. That steady dude who knows who he is and his position behind the king.
Memphis Bleek – Coming Of Age (1999)
Memphis Bleek – The Understanding (2000)
Memphis Bleek – M.A.D.E. (2003)
Memphis Bleek – 534 (Album) (2005)