Malik Deshawn Cox (born June 23, 1978),[1] known by his stage name Memphis Bleek, is an American rapper. He first became known for his affiliation with fellow New York City-based rapper Jay-Z, with Cox often described as his hype man and protégé. Cox signed with his Roc-A-Fella Records label imprint in the late 1990s, through which he has released four major label studio albums: Coming of Age (1999), The Understanding (2000), M.A.D.E. (2003), and 534 (2005).[2] He has since founded his own labels: Get Low Records in 1998, and Warehouse Music Group in 2016—through which he signed rapper Casanova.

Memphis Bleek
Memphis Bleek (front) in 2001 with Beanie Sigel
Memphis Bleek (front) in 2001 with Beanie Sigel
Background information
Birth nameMalik Deshawn Cox
Born (1978-06-23) June 23, 1978 (age 45)
New York City, U.S.
GenresHip hop
Occupation(s)
  • Rapper
  • songwriter
Years active1996–present
Labels
Formerly ofCrooklyn Dodgers
Spouse(s)
Ashley Coombs
(m. 2014)
Children2

Early life edit

Memphis Bleek was born in Brooklyn, New York. He grew up in the Marcy Projects, located in the Bedford–Stuyvesant neighborhood of Brooklyn, the same neighborhood as Jay-Z.[3]

Music career edit

Memphis Bleek was one of the first artists signed to Roc-A-Fella, as a "protégé" of Jay-Z. The name "Memphis", which the rapper explained paid homage to pimps, was a backronym for "Making Easy Money, Pimping Hoes In Style" and "Bleek" was a childhood nickname stemming from his younger sister trying to pronounce his first name, Malik.[4] Bleek's first official appearance was on "Coming of Age" from Jay-Z's Reasonable Doubt (1996), followed by an appearance on "Can I Live II", released on the reissued version of the album. He appeared on subsequent Jay-Z albums: Vol. 2... Hard Knock Life (1998), Vol. 3… Life and Times of S. Carter (1999), The Dynasty: Roc La Familia (2000), and The Blueprint 2: The Gift & The Curse (2002).[5] After the widescale success of Vol 2… Hard Knock Life, the label released Bleek's debut album, Coming of Age (1999). The album was the week's Hot Shot Debut on the Billboard 200, peaking at number 7 with 118,000 units sold in its first week.[6] Bleek launched his own label, Get Low Records in 1998.

Thereafter, he released three follow-up albums for the label: The Understanding (2000), M.A.D.E. (2003), and 534 (2005). Coming of Age and The Understanding were both certified gold by the RIAA. In between the release of The Understanding and M.A.D.E., he took a three-year hiatus, in which he took care of his older brother, who was seriously injured in a motorcycle accident.[7] 534 was named after the building number of the housing project in which he and Jay-Z grew up, and became the first release from the "new" Roc-A-Fella, referring to Jay-Z becoming the president of Def Jam Recordings prior to its release.[8] A song from the album, titled "Dear Summer", is performed solely by Jay-Z and refers to what he called the time of the year in which he would drop a classic album or single consecutively for eight years, and how he had to metaphorically leave "her" (Summer). "Dear Summer" would mark Jay-Z's first song since beginning his brief "retirement" in late 2003. 534 also contains one of the first recordings by Def Jam labelmate turned international star, Rihanna, who featured on the song "The One".[9][10]

Memphis Bleek's highest charting single was "Is That Yo Chick", featuring Missy Elliott and Jay-Z, which peaked at number 7 on the Hot Rap Singles Billboard chart and number 68 on the Billboard Hot 100. Other charting singles include "It's Alright", which also featured Jay-Z and peaked at number 61.[11]

In fall 2005, Memphis Bleek told MTV that he was recording an album called The Process, that he would describe as a make or break album, saying "I want to do an album that's through the roof, 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."[12][13] The rapper has worked on the album since 2005, and during that time frame he would release the promotional singles: "Hustla", "Get Ya Money Off" and "Let It Off". As of 2024, the album has yet to be released. Memphis Bleek would eventually leave Roc-A-Fella in 2009, after Jay-Z told him he could run his own company and had the proper distribution deals to do so.[14] That same year, Bleek signed a new deal with Mass Appeal Entertainment.[15]

In the summer of 2010, he served as a hype man for Jay-Z on stage during a performance at the Swedish festival Peace&Love.

On April 10, 2012, Memphis Bleek released The Movement, an online mixtape which went on to receive over 125,000 downloads on DatPiff.[16] On June 6, 2012, Memphis Bleek released Kush Vol. 2.[17] On March 21, 2014, he released The Movement 2 as a mixtape for free download.[18]

Personal life edit

On December 13, 2014, Cox married longtime girlfriend, Ashley Coombs, in an evening ceremony at The Merion in Cinnaminson, New Jersey, in which Jay-Z was in attendance.[19] In July 2018, Cox announced the birth of their first child, a daughter.[20] Cox also has a son, born in June 2002.[21] Cox is the cousin of fellow Brooklyn rapper Sean Price.[22]

Other ventures edit

Warehouse Music Group edit

Warehouse Music Group
Founded2016
FounderMalik Cox
Distributor(s)Roc Nation
GenreHip hop
Country of originUnited States
LocationNew York City

Getting the approval of Jay-Z in 2015, Memphis Bleek started his own label, as CEO and founder of Warehouse Music Group.[23] The debut release from the label was Memphis Bleek's single "So Different" featuring Manolo Rose, which created a big buzz for the label.[24][25] On July 28, 2016, Memphis Bleek made the announcement of signing Manolo Rose and Casanova.[26][27] In 2017, Manolo Rose released "Ball Drop"[28] and "Pink Fur".[29] That same year, Casanova released three big singles: "Don't Run",[30] "Go Best Friend"[31] and "Left, Right" featuring Chris Brown and Fabolous.[32]

Films edit

In 2002, Memphis Bleek starred in State Property as Blizz. That same year, he was also in Paper Soldiers. He's had cameos in Backstage and Fade to Black as well.

Video games edit

Memphis Bleek is a playable character in the video game Def Jam: Fight for NY.

Discography edit

Studio albums

References edit

  1. ^ Wilson, Elliott (November 4, 1998). "Memphis Bleek: Get Shorty". Vibe. p. 58.
  2. ^ Memphis Bleek. allmusic.com
  3. ^ "MEMPHIS BLEEK SHARES THROWBACK CLIP OF HIS FIRST EVER PERFORMANCE WITH JAY-Z". hiphopdx.com. Retrieved May 28, 2023.
  4. ^ "Bleek, Memphis | Encyclopedia.com". www.encyclopedia.com. Retrieved May 1, 2015.
  5. ^ JAY-Z STILL 'SHOOTING DOWN' MEMPHIS BLEEK'S EFFORTS FOR A JOINT ALBUM. HipHopDX. Retrieved on September 26, 2023.
  6. ^ Memphis Bleek Is "Coming Of Age" With Top Ten Debut. Mtv.com. Retrieved on January 26, 2013.
  7. ^ Hot Product: Memphis Bleek - M.A.D.E. in America. Billboard. Retrieved on January 26, 2013.
  8. ^ Memphis Bleek Brings It All Back Home. Billboard.com. Retrieved on January 26, 2013.
  9. ^ Reid, Shaheem. (May 10, 2005) 'Retired' Jay-Z Releasing New Track Via Memphis Bleek LP. Mtv.com. Retrieved on 2013-01-26.
  10. ^ "BAD GAL! RIHANNA'S 16 BEST HIP-HOP COLLABORATIONS". Retrieved September 5, 2015.
  11. ^ Artist Chart History – Memphis Bleek | Billboard
  12. ^ "Jay-Z's Most Loyal Soldier, Memphis Bleek, Finally Has His Own Desk". mtv.com.
  13. ^ Reid, Shaheem. (September 20, 2005) Memphis Bleek Prepares To Hit The Rap Battlefield With Jay-Z. Mtv.com. Retrieved on 2013-01-26.
  14. ^ COOPER, ROMAN (March 19, 2009). "MEMPHIS BLEEK TALKS LEAVING ROC-A-FELLA". HipHopDX. Retrieved August 21, 2018.
  15. ^ "Memphis Bleek to Release 'The Process' On His Own Label". theboombox.com. August 21, 2009. Retrieved March 30, 2012.
  16. ^ "Memphis Bleek - The Movement". Retrieved September 5, 2015.
  17. ^ "Memphis Bleek, Kush Vol. 2". Retrieved September 5, 2015.
  18. ^ "Memphis Bleek - The Movement 2". HotNewHipHop. March 21, 2014. Retrieved March 23, 2014.
  19. ^ "Memphis Bleek Gets Married in New Jersey, Jay Z Attends". theboombox.com.
  20. ^ "Memphis Bleek Announces Birth of His New Daughter". thesource.com. July 11, 2018.
  21. ^ @memphisbleek (June 10, 2011). "happy bday to my son..." (Tweet) – via Twitter.
  22. ^ Ahmed, Insanul. "Quote of The Day: Sean Price and Memphis Bleek Are Cousins". complex.com. Complex Magazine. Retrieved September 20, 2015.
  23. ^ "Memphis Bleek On The Rocafella Breakup, Gassing Jay Z & Nas Beef & Being Warehouse Music Group CEO [VIDEO]". Hot 97. February 22, 2017. Retrieved November 25, 2017.
  24. ^ "New Music: Memphis Bleek x Manolo Rose "So Different"". Rap Radar. January 8, 2016. Retrieved November 25, 2017.
  25. ^ "Memphis Bleek & Manolo Rose Drop "So Different"". Insomniac Magazine. January 8, 2016. Retrieved November 25, 2017.
  26. ^ "Rap Radar Podcast: Memphis Bleek, Manolo Rose, & Casanova". Rap Radar. July 28, 2016. Retrieved November 25, 2017.
  27. ^ "Memphis Bleek Talks Jay Z Giving Him A Label To Sign Manolo Rose & Casanova". AllHipHop. Retrieved November 25, 2017.
  28. ^ C.M, Emmanuel. "Manolo Rose Throws a Wild Party in "Ball Drop" Video". XXL. Retrieved November 26, 2017.
  29. ^ "Manolo Rose - Pink Fur". YouTube. Retrieved November 26, 2017.
  30. ^ "Buzzing Brooklyn Rapper Casanova Says "Don't Run" In New Video". AllHipHop. June 10, 2016. Retrieved October 20, 2017.
  31. ^ "Casanova - Go Best Friend (Official Audio)". YouTube. Retrieved November 26, 2017.
  32. ^ "Casanova - Left, Right ft. Chris Brown, Fabolous". Youtube. Retrieved October 28, 2019.

External links edit