Malik Thuston Cox (born on June 23, 1980), better known by his rap persona of Memphis Bleek, is a New York rapper signed to Roc-A-Fella Records. He also has ran his own label, Get Low Records, since 1997. He is best-known for his 2001 single "Is That Your Chick." Memphis Bleek has engaged in numerous feuds with the likes of Nas, The Game, Jim Jones, Cam'ron, and The Diplomats.
Born in Brooklyn, New York, and raised in the Marcy Houses (same as Jay-Z) in Bedford-Stuyvesant. Cox grew up in a single-parent home because his father ran out soon after his birth. He was the oldest of his mother's children. When he was ten years old, Cox met Shawn Carter, Carter would quickly become a big influence in his life as a big brother and a father-type figure. During this time, he also would come into contact with future rap stars The Notorious B.I.G., Fabolous, and Lil Kim among other Brooklyn stars. At the age of fifteen, Malik was forced to move out on his own, he would still continue to go to school in various high schools across the New York metropolitan area. A few months later, he would drop out of high school to sell drugs with Carter. This would turn into a rap career in 1996, when Carter became Jay-Z and started Roc-A-Fella Records. He would sign Cox, who became Memphis Bleek in 1996, and featured him twice on the album. He was soon able to afford things for his family, which included buying toys for his younger siblings and a house and car for his mother.
Memphis Bleek's first mainstream rap vocals appeared on the Clark Kent produced song "Coming of Age," featured on Jay-Z's debut LP Reasonable Doubt. Memphis Bleek was the first artist signed to Roc-A-Fella Records under contract. He was also the second artist to release an album on that label. His stage name comes from the acronym Making Easy Money Pimping Hoes Is Serious or Making Easy Money Pimping Hoes In Style. Some say it came from a childhood trip to Memphis, Tennessee Others say there is no connection. In 1998, he launched his label, Get Low Records.
The Coming of Age (1999)
The Coming of Age became the title of Memphis's debut album. The album was released on August 3, 1999. The album peaked at #7 on The Billboard 200 and #1 on the Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart. The album featured the singles "Memphis Bleek Is...," "My Hood To Your Hood," and "What You Think of That" (featuring Jay-Z). Both of these singles were percieved as indirect disses to Nas. This album would gain a Platinum RIAA Certification. Coming of Age would be the album that set the stage for the epic Jay-Z vs. Nas feud.
The Understanding (2000)
Bleek's second album, The Understanding, was released on December 5, 2000. Singles from the album were "Do My..." (featuring Jay-Z), My Mind Right, and "Is That Yo Chick." Also featured on the album was the remix to "Is That..." On both versions of the song Nas is dissed, but Jay-Z subliminally disses him in more detail about his relationship with Nas' baby's mother. Also featured on the song was Missy Elliot and Twista. The album peaked at #16 on The Billboard 200 and #1 on the Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart. This would become Memphis Bleek's first Platinum album.
Memphis Bleek's third album M.A.D.E. again had a strong chart showing, peaking at #11 on The Billboard 200 and at #1 on the Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart. This album became his third consecutive #1 album on the Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart. Although, none of his albums have sent his music into the world of overexposure, the latter spawned his largest amount of sales yet. The album featured the hit single "Round Here" (featuring Trick Daddy and T.I.). The second single was the Nate Dogg-assisted "Need Me In Your Life." The album had a strong start, but stalled at a Gold certification.
Rivalry with Cam'ron
The feud between Cam'ron and Memphis Bleek began soon after Jay-Z's retirement. The feud originally started over the future of Roc-A-Fella Records. Dame Dash wanted to rebuild the label around Cam to be the flagship. This was while Jay-Z wanted the label to be centered around Bleek as the new flagship. Eventually, this led to a feud between Dash and Jay, which led to the breakup of Roc-A-Fella Records in early 2005. After Jay-Z was promoted to CEO of parent company, Def Jam Recordings, there was a vacancy for Co-CEO of the label, and Dame's choice was Cam'ron, and Jay's was Bleek. This was mainly because Bleek was one of the original acts signed to the label and because it was reported that Jay-Z never liked Cam'ron. The early feud between the two was kept relatively quiet and was not known outside of the Roc. The feud would become public in 2005 when Cam'ron and his Diplomat Records left Roc-A-Fella/Def Jam for a distribution deal with Asylum Records. Cam would release the track "You Gotta Love It," a diss to Jay-Z. Memphis Bleek would respond to the diss on his 534 album's track "Hater Free." The feud would still be more of Cam vs. Jay and Bleek vs. Jim Jones for most of 2006, until Memphis would release a barrage of disses hurled toward the whole Diplomat Records label. In 2007, he stepped into the forefront of the feud and would jump on numerous Roc-A-Fella mixtapes that were disses toward Cam'ron and Jim Jones. When the two entourages had a run-in during mid-2007, their feud had reached an all-time high. Jim Jones would come in to defend Cam by throwing disses toward Bleek and Roc-A-Fella labelmate, Tru Life. Cam'ron would then initially diss Memphis Bleek on some of the songs scrapped from his sixth album. He would go on to ridiclue Bleek for never livin up to the "Young God" hype that was surrounded by him and for never going past a Platinum certification. Bleek responded by saying that at least he had gone Platinum more than once. By early 2008, nothing much has come from either camp, but both sides say there is no truce in the near future.
In the eyes of many, Bleek was still remaining one hit away from success. In an attempt to solve this, he released his fourth album, 534, on May 17, 2005. The album's title is a direct reference to where he grew up, located in the Marcy Projects of Brooklyn. The album featured the Swizz Beatz-produced hit single "Like That." This would be the only hit single from the album as it suffered in sales becoming his lowest-selling album to date not even certifying. There was a second single released from the album. It was "Infatuated," featuring Murder Inc. crooner, Boxie. The album featured production from Swizz Beatz and Irv Gotti among others. 534 also featured Jay-Z's single, "Dear Summer."
The Process (2008)
In fall 2005, Memphis Bleek told MTV.com that he was recording an album that should be released in early 2006 featuring such artists as upcoming R&B singer Coya. He is thinking of naming his next album The Process, and this would effectively be a make or break album. In an interview for MTV he said: "I want to do an album that's through the roof," he said about his next project. "I want to do a classic album. I feel that if this album I'm not recording is a classic, I'm not even gonna put it out. I have to do it bigger than anybody has ever done it. I have to make a good record this time, not just talking-junk records. It has to be deep. I want people to pick my album up and learn something." The interview also said that Diddy and singer Gerald Levart both have hits for the rapper. . He has since announced production from Akon, Cool & Dre, Just Blaze, and others. In December 2007, the first single, "Get Ya Money Up," (featuring Dre) was released. The second single is "Let It Out" with Roc-A-Fella labelmate Uncle Murda.
Since The Diplomats left Roc-A-Fella Records in 2004, a feud has begun to form between the two labels. The attack has been led by Cam'ron, a former labelmate. He has called out Jay-Z numerous amounts of times and Jay did not initially respond. Memphis Bleek would go on the defense at the start of the feud as he dissed Cam'ron on television shows and in interviews. He never officially recorded a diss track aimed at Cam. Soon after Roc-A-Fella labelmate Tru-Life formed a feud with Diplomat, Jim Jones, Jones and Juelz Santana began dissing Bleek. He and Tru-Life have responded on many mixtapes that can be heard throughout New York. The feud between Bleek and the Diplomats reached a high in March 2007 when Memphis Bleek and Tru-Life got into a physical altercation with Jim Jones. The feud is still active, but has died down tremendously.
Other New York rappers
Memphis Bleek engaged in a long-running feud with Nas from 2000 to 2005. The feud started when Bleek began throwing subliminal shots at Nas to create hype around his Understanding album and to create hype around himself as an artist. He first dissed Nas on tracks like "Memphis Bleek Is" and What You Think of That" with Jay-Z. Nas would respond with the song "The Message." These songs would spark the epic Jay-Z vs. Nas feud, but would do nothing for Bleek's career. Bleek also dissed Nas on "Is That Your Chick," Nas would subliminally respond on "Stillmatic Freestyle." Their feud would end in 2005 and was proven in Jay-Z's "Roc Boys" video as they appear in that video enjoying each other's company. Memphis Bleek has also had an on-going feud with New York rapper, J.R. Writer. He recently dissed Sean Combs on a new song with Tru-Life.
The Game & Get Low Recordz
Slightly before the release of his debut album, Memphis Bleek started his own record label named Get Low Records. The label's title sparked controversy would spark a long-running feud between Bleek and West Coast rappers The Game and JT tha Bigga Figga because they had started a label with the same title, Get Low Recordz. The Game would go on to diss not only Memphis Bleek, but the whole Roc-A-Fella Records (Bleek's distributing label). This excluded Kanye West who would produce on Game's debut album, The Documentary. The Game would release numerous mixtapes that were aimed at Memphis Bleek, Jay-Z, and Lil' Cease. He also mentioned Roc-A-Fella on his Jim Jones assisted "Westside Story" After Jay-Z called Game out in 2005 on a DJ Clue mixtape, The Game would make peace with Jay-Z, but continue to beef with Bleek over the title. Memphis Bleek responded to Game's constant disses on the radio and anytime the beef came up. His name is mentioned on mixtapes by The Game in which he also disses Roc-A-Fella labelmates Young Gunz. Bleek's name is mentioned on the infamous "300 Bars and Runnin'." The feud has died down since the end of 2006, but is still active.
Hip Hop entrepreneur
Memphis Bleek is involved in numerous business ventures. He is the owner of many companies and hopes to follow in the footsteps of his mentor, Jay-Z.
His business interests include his record label, Get Low Records, his own clothing line, IMI Clothing, and a has endorsement deals with various sports stars.
Get Low Records
In 1998, while working on his debut album, Memphis Bleek opened his own record label, Get Low Records. He opened the label under the guidance of Jay-Z, but now runs it by himself.
He would also sign Livin' Proof, Geda K, Latif, and Denim. Later, he would sign on artists, such as Phyro Sun and Sniper to the label.
In 2006, Bleek bought into the clothing line IMI Clothing to become the sole owner of the company.
He had already established a releationship with them, since they helped Jay-Z and Dame Dash establish Rocawear.
He would purchase the company in 2006, and has transformed it into more of an urban wear line.
Memphis Bleek also has endorsement deals with various sports stars. He has become a big promoter of these athletes.
On April 27, 2005, Memphis Bleek was arrested at a New York City nightclub for assaulting a busboy. The victim claimed that he was in the V.I.P. room to clean a table, when Bleek and his friend punched him in the head and face. They ended up knocking one of the victim's teeth out. He was arrested the same night when the busboy pointed him out while he was exiting the nightclub. He was charged with misdemeanor assault.
He would also get arrested in 2006 for possession of cocaine during a concert performance. Bleek was let off with a warning, but will be tried if he is caught again.
There were once rumors that Memphis Bleek had gotten married to Courtney Cox, best-known for her role on Friends. These rumors were persistent from 2004 until February 2008, when Bleek set the record straight for anyone who wanted to know. He stated that he has never even met her in person.
Memphis Bleek did say that he is in a long-term relationship. He also announced that he does have a child with her. Bleek also said that he lives in New York with her and his two children.
In 2002, Memphis Bleek made his acting debut in the film State Property. He played the role of Blizz. The film co-starred Damon Dash, Beanie Sigel, Jay-Z, DJ Clue, Amil, and other Roc-A-Fella artists. A year later, he was featured in the film, Paper Soldiers. The film also starred Kevin Hart, Michael Rapaport, Kamal Ahmed, Omillio Sparks, and Jay-Z.
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