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After a three year hiatus from the rap game rife with personal struggle, Roc-A-FellaÞs golden boy has truly 'come of age.' At the tender age of twenty-five, Memphis Bleek - the first artist ever signed to the ROC and long known as Jay-Z's hand-picked prodigy - has already known success to the tune of two certified gold albums, 1999's Coming Of Age and 2000's The Understanding. With M.A.D.E., Bleek is back and ready to take his career to the next level with what is easily the most diverse, most personal, and strongest album of his already accomplished career. M-Easy's had plenty of reason to make it personal. While filming the third video for The Understanding in the fall of 2000, Bleek received word that his older brother Dre was involved in a near-fatal motorcycle accident in Miami. The young MC rushed to his brother's side, and put a halt to promoting his album and recording it's follow-up. "I realized I could do all the ballin' in the world, and that's cool, but it's really about family," Bleek recently told XXL Magazine. But Bleek would discover that that concept extended to his Roc-A-Fella family as well. In order to begin recording M.A.D.E. the ROCÞs head engineer Young Guru moved the entire operation, including super-producers Just Blaze and Kanye West, down to Miami to facilitate recording Bleek's album as he cared for his brother.
The resulting record shows a mature, multi-faceted Bleek, whose range of lyrical subject matter has expanded by leaps and bounds. Packed with club-bangers and radio hits fans have come to expect from the Memph-man, the album includes the Just Blaze-produced first single "Everything's A Go" and introspective tracks like "My Life" and "Understand Me Still." Another outstanding track on M.A.D.E.,, "Hypnotic," finds Bleek, Jay-Z and Beanie Sigel in a cipher, trading sixteen's over a slow, funk-heavy groove thick with incense and blunt-smoke. "Give you the pen, the book, the word, the truth, the sight, the mind / I put it down, you call it a rhyme. I call it a sign / I predict the unpredictable. Heaven is invisible, but hell isnÞt physical" Bleek spits over flutes and heavy bass.
Elsewhere, Donell Jones croons on "P.Y.T." and Trick Daddy brings his unique rhyme style to another Just Blaze banger , "Round Here." But make no mistake about it, Bleek is the star of this show. After three years away from the game, Roc-A-Fella's golden boy is back, and once again ready to elevate the game.
Producers include: Just Blaze, Kanye West, T.T., E Bass, Art & Life.
Recorded at Baseline Studios, New York, New York.
From the Scorsese-like voiceover intro referencing Memphis Bleek mentor Jay-Z's retirement from music and Bleek's initiation as a "made" Roc-A-Fella, this follow-up to 2000's UNDERSTANDING feels like the attempted anointing of a successor to the Godfather. Whether Bleek can fill Jay's shoes is a matter for conjecture, but on this showing he's got the chops and the ideas to make a respectable attempt. M.A.D.E. builds on the foundations of Bleek's previous two albums and shows increasing confidence on cuts such as the insistent "Everything's a Go" and the snaky "Murda Murda," with its hushed, urgent lyric. On this showing though, one thing's clear--Memphis Bleek is a rapper who's not about to desert his roots, no matter how big his future might be.
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Everything Is A Go - (featuring Jay-Z)
Round Here - (featuring Trick Daddy/T.I.)
Just Blaze, Bleek & Free - (featuring Freeway)
We Ballin' - (featuring Proof/Young Chris)
Hypnotic - (featuring Jay-Z/Beanie Sigel)
I Wanna Love U - (featuring Donell Jones)
My Life - (featuring Latif)
Need Me In Your Life - (featuring Nate Dogg)
Murda Murda - (featuring Jay-Z/Beanie Sigel)
Hood Musik - (featuring M.O.P.)
Understand Me Still - (featuring Rell)
Do It All Again - (featuring Geda K/Lil Cease/Rell)