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FutureStarrMemphis Bleek Unearths Rare Clip Of First Show With Jay-Z
On Instagram this week, New York rapper Memphis Bleek took a trip down memory lane by sharing an old clip of his first show with Roc-A-Fella founder Jay-Z. Shot back in the '90s, this grainy footage shows Hov pumping up an enthusiastic young Memphis onstage.
Many Hip Hop icons like Sway and Ebro Darden applauded the clip in its comments section - a rare reminder of how Jay-Z helped Bleek break out from the street scene and onto the rap scene.
Grainy footage is often present when shooting videos, and it can give your production an unappealing appearance. But it can also be used as a fun way to add some unique flair to the piece.
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Hype men in hip hop are an integral part of any rapper's performance. Not only do they help build excitement and anticipation for an upcoming track, but they can also add some atmosphere to a show. Whether it's Flavor Flav for Public Enemy, Spliff Star for Busta Rhymes or Tony Yayo for 50 Cent, hype men play an integral role both live and in the studio during performances by rappers.
The best hype men possess the unique ability to transform a song into an immersive experience. That is why artists such as Wu-Tang Clan, Swizz Beatz and Jermaine Dupri have always had such success with their hype men.
Jay-Z is no exception to this rule. He's an acclaimed rapper, producer, entrepreneur and one of the world's most prominent hip-hop artists. With a net worth estimated to be around $900 million dollars, Jay-Z founded and serves as president of Def Jam Recordings.
Jay-Z has achieved great success through music, but he doesn't rely solely on that source of income. In addition to owning nightclubs, restaurants and clothing lines, the superstar also owns his own record label: Roc Nation.
As a result, he has found himself in the spotlight more than ever before. He's collaborated with numerous rappers such as Drake and Childish Gambino, plus recently released a Beyonce collaboration entitled "MOOD 4 EVA."
Memphis Bleek may not have achieved the same level of fame as Jay-Z, but he is a respected lyricist with an enthusiastic fan base. A member of Wu-Tang Clan, Memphis has released multiple albums under his own name as well.
He is renowned for his gritty and abrasive style of rap, often described as "gritcore." In addition to his lyrics, Bleek has an impressive list of appearances on posse cuts. As part of MC-produced gangsta rap genre, he has been instrumental in the success of artists like Kanye West.
In the nineties, Jay-Z signed Memphis Bleek to his Roc-A-Fella Records label. As they became close friends and started performing together, Jay-Z surprised Bleek with a customized Roc-A-Fella chain which he still has today.
Jay-Z's longtime Brooklyn rap protege Memphis Bleek recently unearthed rare footage from their first show together. The grainy clip serves as a testament to their early days in the Roc-A-Fella catalog and serves as a reminder of Jay's treatment of Bleek over decades.
Hip-hop legends say that every major superstar must have a sidekick, and Jay Z is no exception to this rule. For years he's relied on Beanie Sigel or Brownsville yell-rappers M.O.P to promote his music; however in recent years Jay has turned his focus towards his D'usse cognac brand and seems content with where his career path has taken him.
In a recent interview with Vlad TV, Bleek revealed that Jay Z ghostwrote his verse for "Coming of Age," featured on Reasonable Doubt. Despite being ghostwritten, Jay still wanted him to rap.
Given Jay's prominence in modern hip-hop, it's no shock that he wants his proteges to receive their due credit. Thus, he has often attempted to give them some exposure.
On this track from The Blueprint, he takes aim at a common rap-adjacent misconception: that once you reach certain levels of success, haters and critics will pounce on your achievements. He also pokes fun at man's relationship with money with lines like "I can buy you a Rolex / and get you political asylum / but I can't protect you from eternal damnation."
The chorus may seem like a copout, with the emcee declaring that hard work alone will bring him success, but this song nonetheless serves as an inspiring encouragement for success and accomplishment.
The song serves as both a motivational voice, encouraging listeners to reach for their goals and ascension, as well as an affirmation of community support. Hov's mother identifies as lesbian, so this moment in his career has been filled with rewarding achievements.
The song featured on Jay Z's debut album was a big hit at the time, and its message has since resonated with fans. Thanks to YouTube user, we now have access to full lyrics from an exclusive clip from Jay's first Memphis Bleek show.
"Music Saved My Life" is the third track on Memphis Bleek's debut album, released in 2011. It's an inspiring anthem of hope that draws inspiration from her personal experiences with addiction and mental health issues.
But it also serves as a call to action against racism and fascism. Daniel Steele, the band's songwriter, states that this verse should serve as "a wake up call to those who think they can get away with it."
In addition to its music, this song serves as a powerful visual representation of Bleek's passion for his art. Watching the video was an especially poignant experience due to how difficult it was to film during his live show.
Memphis Bleek's debut album is an intense, hypnotic and deeply emotional record that blends jazz with soul. The songs are filled with intense feelings that can be hard to describe but are universally relatable. If you haven't already, it's definitely worth giving a listen - if not already then now is the perfect time!