Since Jay-Z stepped down as president of Def Jam, speculation about the collapse of Roc-A-Fella has run rampant. Instead of waiting idly by, Memphis Bleek has been hitting the mixtape market and campaigning that the chain still remains. With fans not yet convinced, the Brooklyn spitter recruits the original R.O.C. skit man, Pain in Da Ass, to help further his cause with <em>Feed the Streets Part 3</em>.
Memph Man utilizes Prince’s “Pop Life” to strike out on his own with the singsongy “My Life.” Rejecting the sentiment that he’s simply written in Jay’s will somewhere, Bleek spits, “Two hundred large, I can shut down the mall/But y’all just gonna say it’s ’cause of Hov/When y’all know it’s because of my flow.” After setting the record straight, he proceeds to pay tithe to the God MC on “I’m the Underboss,” acknowledging his position as the man next to the man.
Therein lies the problem. Tracks like “Gettin’ Money” and “White Girl” prove that Memph can hold it down on his own, without mention of Shawn Carter. On the latter, he capably puts discriminatory drug sentencing into perspective (“They only want the powder, and I say that it’s five/We call it Paris Hilton ’cause it get you less time”). These moments of clarity are fleeting, as Bleek fails to stay in his lane on his flip of Rick Ross’s “Speedin’” and digs a deeper hole with the unimpressive, Lil Wayne–inspired “Leather So Soft.” The disc’s biggest offense comes on “Doing Me,” where the BK vet employs too much of newcomer Rocko’s overused flow.
That winds up being a troubling trend, with Bleek often finding himself working too closely off someone else’s blueprint. As far as rumors go, Feed the Streets doesn’t offer much insight and still leaves the future of the Roc in question. So fans seeking food for thought may be left with a hunger for more.—<em>Edwyn Huang</em>