On this day, June 23, in hip-hop history…
1978: Malik Cox known to world as Memphis Bleek celebrates his 35th birthday. One of the first artists to be signed to Roc-A-Fella Records, the New York rapper has had quite an extensive career, selling millions of albums and appearing in two major motion pictures.
A protégé to his longtime friend Jay-Z, Memphis pioneered onto the scene with several features on Jay’s projects including Reasonable Doubt, Vol. 2…. Hard Knock Life, and The Blueprint 2. Following the success of his exposure through his Roc-A-Fella camp, the Brooklyn emcee then went on the release his RIAA certified Gold debut Coming of Age. Bleek continued releasing 2 more studio albums; The Understanding and M.A.D.E., before taking a three-year hiatus to release 534. Titled after the building number where he and Jay-Z grew up in the Marcy Projects, Memphis’s most recent released LP included the first official Def Jam recording of then label mate Rihanna.
“Is That Yo Chick”, featuring Missy Elliott and Jay-Z, remains his highest charting single and the two films in which appeared, State Property and Paper Soldiers still remain staple films in hip-hop. Throughout his career Memphis Bleek has been collaborated with some of the most prominent figures in hip-hop including DMX, Ja Rule, T.I., and Cam’ron.
Still working to release his long awaited return The Process, Memphis has made it clear that although he may stray away his heart will forever remain in hip hop.
Happy Birthday!—Miranda Johnson