Tucked away in a small room at the Roc-A-Fella Records' offices with the remnants of dro smoke in the air, Memphis Bleek is pensively viewing an unfinished version of his latest video, Round Here from his new album M.A.D.E. Ive seen this 30 times, he says of the clip. I aint had a video in three years, so I got to make sure sh*t is tight.
The last time we saw M. Easy in a video of his, hot vixens flanked his side as he asked the ladies who ran this mutha. That is what Memph Bleek was. Now, the day after Jay-Zs Madison Square Garden concert and the day before Thanksgiving, the Brooklyn native is pointing out his brothers cameo in the clip and gushing over his young son. This is what Memph Bleek is.
AllHipHop.com: We had an interview with you not too long ago, and you were talking about what you were doing during you break from recording. Can you give us an update on the condition of your brother?
Memphis Bleek: Yeah, hes chillin. He in the video to let niggas know hes back. Its just a weird thing, to lose somebody close to you. I only got one brother. Thats it. Thats my homie, my partner, my hit man, my securityhes everything. Thats the big brother, know what Im saying? So hes gonna hold me down. To lose that is like . Who else is in your corner thats really gonna work with you off love? Like, you dont have that no more. You don t know whats real or whats fake in this industry, and family is the only thing you have left. So to lose that is crazy.
AllHipHop.com: So how was the Jay-Z concert last night and that experience?
Bleek: The Garden is legendary. Thats history. Im right over the bridge. Any bridge: Brooklyn, Manhattan, and Williamsburg. Im right over there. So when I look out the window, I could see it. You always dream, as a rapper, that you want to rock an event like that, a venue like that. I done did everybody elses venue in they city, but to do my own is a blessing. And for my man to go out like that with his last show, retiring and on top of his gameWho could ask for anything better? Thats like David Robison retiring and they just won the championship. Thats real.
AllHipHop.com: When people were taking shots at Jay-Z some time back, you stepped up and supported him vocally. Can you speak on your relationship with him outside of rap?
Bleek: Outside of rap, thats my brother. Hes a brother from another mother to me. And the love I have for him, I cant even explain that. He changed my life, let alone my friends and my familys life. How would you thank a man for that? Theres no real way, so you got to show it. Everybody taking little pop shots at Jay, its nothing to me. Thats like you taking shots at my brother, and Im going to come get you. Get at you, whatever. And hes a good dude, man. And you know in the world, people eat up kindness. They take kindness for weakness and they eat it up. He extends his hand to anybody, no matter [what]. And it just seems like every time it comes back to bite him. So Im tired of sitting back and watching it happen. So I felt like I should speak up for him.
AllHipHop.com: Out of anybody, you probably have the best account of his career starting from beginning to this last album. Is there ever a moment, like last night on stage, where you think to yourself youre rolling with who many people consider the greatest rapper of all time?
Bleek: Everyday I wake up and think about that. I knew Jay from times when my mom would say Go upstairs and see if Jays mom has any sugar. So I never thought that the greatest rapper lived in my building, you know what I mean? Thats crazy to me. So now to see him being on stage, [with] the Roots playing for him, Mary J. coming out, R. Kelly [coming out]. Im looking at everything, like my boy is connected. Hes the dude. I told him he needs to run for Governor.
AllHipHop.com: Speaking of politics, recently the Brooklyn Democrat Committee was in the news, because they couldnt come to an agreement on whom to endorse as a presidential candidate. Have you been following anything on the presidential election?
Bleek: Nah. Aint nobody talking what I want to hear. Its all about the kids to me. P. Diddy is representing more than anybody to me. [laughs]
AllHipHop.com: And while were on current events, whats your take on the whole Michael Jackson scenario?
Bleek: I dont know, man? Its crazy to be a 40-year-old man and you like kids and you dont have a lady in your bed first. So I dont even want to think about that. Nah, I dont know? Hes buggin.
AllHipHop.com: Do you think the media is making him appear guilty before the case?
Bleek: Yeah they are pumping it up, because Michael Jackson got a history of touching little fannies on the boys. But you know, innocent until proven guilty. But, the media reverses it sometimes.
AllHipHop.com: So if you were on tour in California, would you let Michael Jackson watch your kid?
Bleek: Come on family. Michael Jackson will never see little Easy. I would never want him to see Michael Jackson, because thats not the real Michael Jackson. I want him to see the black, jeri-curled hair Michael Jackson. Thats the dude he needs to see. That dude, thats an alienstraight up.
AllHipHop.com: Since Jay may buy the Nets, are you a Knicks fan or a Nets fan?
Bleek: Im a Knicks fanearly. To the death.
AllHipHop.com: So if Jay brought the Nets to Brooklyn, you wouldnt change?
Bleek: Ima be at their gamesa lot. [laughs] But Im still a Knicks fan.
AllHipHop.com: Whats up with the Knicks? What can they do to get back in the playoffs?
Bleek: They better hope I dont think about buying them, like Jay. Ima trade the whole team. Get all my peoples from the hood. Straight up.
AllHipHop.com: So let me ask you something different, off the topic. Jay-Z and R. Kelly did the album Best of Both Worlds. Do you think Jay is better at rapping that R. Kelly is at singing?
Bleek: [laughs] Hey, you want me to start some drama? You cant even compare that, man. R. Kelly is running the R&B scene. Jay is running the rap scene, but there are a lot of people in that field getting their shine. You cant put down an Eminem, or an Outkast. Common Sense is one of the illest to me. Thats why when Jay said that on his album, it was so ill to me.
AllHipHop.com: Speaking about Eminem, what do you think about the situation where the Source held a press conference?
Bleek: To each his own, man. There might be a white girl out there who did something foul to me [and] I dont like her. I dont know? He had his problem with a little sista.
AllHipHop.com: Howd you link up with Trick Daddy and T.I. for your new cut?
Bleek: Me and Beanie was working down in Miami when my brother got in the accident. Trick had session in another room in the same studio. I basically was kicking it with him. And once I came home, Just Blaze gave me this beat. After I put my verse on it, I was like this is a South record. And you cant just rep the South and Im a New York dude. You gotta put somebody from the South on it. So I gave Trick a call and he put a verse on it. Then T.I. reps, hes young like me.
AllHipHop.com: He kind of reminds me of a Southern Bleek.
Bleek: Yeah, I always say that. When I first saw T.I. on video, and even when I met him in person he had his hat cocked, and was on the gangsta tip.
AllHipHop.com: When was the last time you visited Memphis?
Bleek: I aint been to Memphis in a minute. [Stops to think.] Since the Tyson fight when we had the show out there.
AllHipHop.com: Your album M.A.D.E. already received press a few months ago and has been reviewed in magazines. How has it changed from a couple months ago, if it did?
Bleek: I didnt like how they did the reviews early, because a lot of the songs they reviewed arent even on my album. They were test records. I did about 30-40 records, and I aint gonna lie, Im a critic to myself more than anybody else is, and all them aint hot. Everything a n*gga do aint hot. So you only pick your select few. I heard that one review, and I forget which magazine said it, but it said that some song sounded like it should be on The Understanding. What are you talking about? That song aint even [going to be] on the album. Its cool with me. It just lets me know that people out there are expecting something. So when they hear it, we gonna throw them off. Trust me, word of mouth is going to put my album where it needs to be. This is a new edition of Memphis Bleek. Bet that one.