When news broke last week that Memphis Bleek would be releasing his next album The Process with Boston-based indie Mass Appeal instead of Roc-a-Fella, Roc Nation or some other Jay-Z affiliated venture the Internets proceeded to take shots. In all reality, in 2009 it seems like a major isn’t the best move for young Memph Man anyway.
The truth is, the future of Roc-a-Fella is still undefined, though I’m guessing it will continue to exist as a label under Def Jam. As far as Roc Nation goes, it doesn’t make much sense for Jay to start a new label with his same old roster. So why bring Bleek for the tag-along? Actually going indie is probably the best option for Malik. Chances are The Process won’t score a platinum plaque no matter where it’s released and you can laugh if you want, but who is really selling a million-plus these days anyway? So why not go indie where you can fully capitalize off of the fanbase you’ve been building since your 1999 debut? Even if it is only 100,000-200,000 people— as if that’s some number to sneeze at nowadays. Plus according to the press release that was sent out, Bleek’s next album will feature production from Just Blaze, NO ID, so we know it’s gonna sound right. Plus if you ask me, dude has never made a bad album. The Understanding was fucking dope and M.A.D.E. and 534 were average, but not wack by any means. It’s funny too, Memphis gets so much flack because Hov threw “Dear Summer” on his last album, but hip-hop seems to catch a case of convenient amnesia and forgot that Jay did the same thing with Bean’s debut when he included the Oliver Twist-sampling “Anything” on The Truth.
All things considered I don’t even know where all the excessive Bleek hate even stems from. Sure he isn’t the greatest lyricist, but dude has some dope records in his catalogue and not all of them have featured Jay (“Mind Right” is CRAZY). Seems like most of the hate comes from the fact that he’s Hov’s hypeman and is in Jay’s will somewhere. So what? Most of ya’ll up and coming rappers will slap your own mother to back-up Shawn Corey on stage.
I often wonder if Bleek would’ve came out on let’s say Ruff Ryders instead of the Roc, would he be more respected? He wouldn’t be more successful that’s for sure. He definitely has benefitted from being part of La Familia, but if he wasn’t under Jay’s shadow he would at least be able to escape the weed carrier rhetoric. Yeah but then again if he wasn’t under Jay’s shadow we probably wouldn’t even be talking about him anyway. Oh yeah that reminds me, has anyone seen Drag-On? – Rob The Music Ed