The Hip Hop Mortuary

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3:31 PM

Memphis Bleek/534

Posted by Guy Fawkes

Nowadays everyone knows Sean Carter as an international business mogul who used to rap. But 10 years ago, Jay-Z started his own record label, Roc-A-Fella,(home to Lupe Fiasco, Kanye West, Just Blaze and many others) and one of his first artists was his good friend and next door neighbor Memphis Bleek. We now know Bleek as a mediocre rapper with an intimidating presence on the mic, with the potential to actually be decent. But back in the day, Jay-Z hyped and actually believed that his good friend was going to sell him millions of records. Of course, it didn't go just as Mr. Carter assumed, which just might be why he decided to go with talent over friendship. Meanwhile Bleek hasn't made an album for 3 years, and I doubt anyone has noticed (for those who do care, he is supposedly releasing his 5th album this year). But from 99 to 05, Bleek released 4 albums, consisting of a promising first album, two mediocre albums, and his supposed "comeback" album which I am going to give a listen. As a final note, the album is named after the apartment buildings where Bleek and Jay grew up at.

The Good:

1. 534- If you've listened to any of Bleek's albums you will notice that he seems to put his best songs first... this album is no different. Just Blaze provides a commanding instrumental with simply sick turntabling, and Bleek delivers.

3. Dear Summer- Jay has his own song on Bleek's album? So it's like that... Needless to say this is one of Jay's best songs so it's easily the best song off the whole album.

4. Like That- Nothing more than a single, but it sounds good regardless.

6. The One- This beat is just catchy, and Bleek's lines are catchy. Nothing of substance though.

9. Oh Baby- Bink produces the shit out of this song. And Bleek honestly murders this beat. The Young Gunz only do decent.

10. Smoke The Pain Away- Easily the best production job off the whole album. A 9th Wonder job that makes Bleek sound infinitely better... while he comes with his best lines off the whole album.

12. Alright- This 9th Wonder simply overpowers Bleek, but it still sounds really good.

14. Straight Path- A soulful Just Blaze beat that is illuminated by Bleek's storytelling. The most insightful track off the album, and it's a good farewell.

This is a decent album, there's some good songs, some songs for the ladies, and some songs for the clubs. This album is not going to change your life, but it might be enjoyable for a little while.

0-20: Terrible listening experience
21-40: Maybe one good song
41-60: A few good songs
61-80: Half are good songs, half are weak
81-100: Great listening experience, almost all are great songs

I give this album a 63. Again, not great, but somewhat enjoyable. Here's a link:

Download Here