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. “I’ve seen this 30 times,” he says of the clip. “I ain’t 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 m####. That is what Memph Bleek was. Now, the day after Jay-Z’s Madison Square Garden concert and the day before Thanksgiving, the Brooklyn native is pointing out his brother’s 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, he’s chillin’. He in the video to let n##### know he’s back. It’s just a weird thing, to lose somebody close to you. I only got one brother. That’s it. That’s my homie, my partner, my hit man, my security—he’s everything. That’s the big brother, know what I’m saying? So he’s gonna hold me down. To lose that is like…. Who else is in your corner that’s really gonna work with you off love? Like, you don’t have that no more. You don’ t know what’s real or what’s 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. That’s history. I’m right over the bridge. Any bridge: Brooklyn, Manhattan, and Williamsburg. I’m 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 else’s 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 game—Who could ask for anything better? That’s like David Robison retiring and they just won the championship. That’s 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, that’s my brother. He’s a brother from another mother to me. And the love I have for him, I can’t even explain that. He changed my life, let alone my friends and my family’s life. How would you thank a man for that? There’s no real way, so you got to show it. Everybody taking little pop shots at Jay, it’s nothing to me. That’s like you taking shots at my brother, and I’m going to come get you. Get at you, whatever. And he’s 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 I’m 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 you’re 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 Jay’s mom has any sugar.’ So I never thought that the greatest rapper lived in my building, you know what I mean? That’s 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]. I’m looking at everything, like my boy is connected. He’s 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 couldn’t come to an agreement on whom to endorse as a presidential candidate. Have you been following anything on the presidential election?
Bleek: Nah. Ain’t nobody talking what I want to hear. It’s all about the kids to me. P. Diddy is representing more than anybody to me. [laughs]
AllHipHop.com: And while we’re on current events, what’s your take on the whole Michael Jackson scenario?
Bleek: I don’t know, man? It’s crazy to be a 40-year-old man and you like kids and you don’t have a lady in your bed first. So I don’t even want to think about that. Nah, I don’t know? He’s 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 that’s not the real Michael Jackson. I want him to see the black, jeri-curled hair Michael Jackson. That’s the dude he needs to see. That dude, that’s an alien—straight up.
AllHipHop.com: Since Jay may buy the Nets, are you a Knicks fan or a Nets fan?
Bleek: I’m a Knicks fan—early. To the death.
AllHipHop.com: So if Jay brought the Nets to Brooklyn, you wouldn’t change?
Bleek: I’ma be at their games—a lot. [laughs] But I’m still a Knicks fan.
AllHipHop.com: What’s up with the Knicks? What can they do to get back in the playoffs?
Bleek: They better hope I don’t think about buying them, like Jay. I’ma 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 can’t 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 can’t put down an Eminem, or an Outkast. Common Sense is one of the illest to me. That’s 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 don’t like her. I don’t know? He had his problem with a little sista.
AllHipHop.com: How’d 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 can’t just rep the South and I’m 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, he’s 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 ain’t 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 didn’t like how they did the reviews early, because a lot of the songs they reviewed aren’t even on my album. They were test records. I did about 30-40 records, and I ain’t gonna lie, I’m a critic to myself more than anybody else is, and all them ain’t hot. Everything a n*gga do ain’t 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 ain’t even [going to be] on the album. It’s 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.