When Jay-Z rose to become hip hop’s most dominant figure, Memphis Bleek had a front-row seat. He watched the man that he had been with ever since his childhood years win multiple awards, run his own empire, and release platinum albums. Speaking of hip hop in the 2000s means speaking of Jay-Z. But, every good hero needs a trusty sidekick, which is where Memphis Bleek comes in.
There have been times where Jay-Z had planned to bow out of the game. After he took over rap in 1998, he hoped that his 1999 album would be his last album. That was the year that Memphis Bleek released his debut album, Coming of Age. However, his debut would be overshadowed by the debut release from Ja Rule. It was supposed to be Memphis Bleek dominating alongside Jay, but for a few years, Ja Rule held that down.
In the years to come, Memphis Bleek kept his name out there. In 2003, Jay-Z made things official by announcing his retirement. He openly said that Memphis Bleek was to become the next king of New York. Bleek appeared to be ready, too. He had completed his third studio album, M.A.D.E. and he had begun signing artists to his Get Low Records. But, his music failed to appeal to the hip hop masses.
During Jay-Z’s retirement, it was Kanye West that rose to become the star. Meanwhile, Memphis Bleek remained there, waiting. It took Jay-Z coming out of retirement to get New York artists back on the radio. When Jay-Z came out of retirement, he recorded two more albums for Roc-A-Fella/Def Jam, before he landed a deal with Live Nation. This deal gave birth to a new label that was named Roc Nation. Memphis Bleek saw this as the perfect opportunity to establish himself outside of Jay-Z.
He soon left Roc-A-Fella Records and a few months later, he left Def Jam. Instead of signing with a major label, Memphis Bleek reached an exclusive distribution deal with Mass Appeal Entertainment. Bleek has begun signing new artists to his Get Low label, once again. Now, he plans to release a new album on the label. His new album, The Process, is one that he describes as the album that is going to put him over the top.
Not only does Memphis Bleek plan to release this album, but he also wants to release more new albums on a frequent basis, along with building up his Get Low imprint under Mass Appeal the way that Jay-Z did with Roc-A-Fella/Def Jam. Before it is all over, he wants to reach that same status that Jay-Z has. Now that he is in control, Memphis Bleek may decide to release a new album every year, the same way that Jay-Z did.