When Jay Z appeared on Kanye West’s “Diamonds From Sierra Leone (Remix)” in 2005, he referenced Memphis Bleek. “Bleek could be one hit away his whole career,” Jay Z raps on the track. “As long as he’s alive, he’s a millionaire / And even if I die, he’s in my will somewhere / So he can just kick back and chill somewhere / Oh yeah, he don’t even have to write rhymes.”
Memphis Bleek recently discussed his perspective on the shoutout and how the line was perceived.
“I don’t like that line ’cause that line put a stamp on my career,” Memphis Bleek says in an interview with This Is 50. “I feel people look at me as if Jay is just taking care of me. That line was basically, I guess, in his mind, a shoutout. But people take it literally and serious, like I’m just chilling somewhere [like] I’m not working. As you see, I’m here. I gotta work.”
Despite acknowledging that he needs to work, Memphis Bleek says he understands that Jay was likely being sincere with the rhyme.
“I’m pretty sure he got me taken care of,” Bleek says. “That’s my guy…[But] my son don’t wanna hear Hov got us. He wants to know dad got us…Dad got it…He wanna be at dad’s tours. He don’t wanna be at Hov’s tours. He wanna be at dad’s tours.
“I love my guy,” Bleek adds. “Hov’s my brother. The shoutout was it, but what I’m saying is what it did to my career after, how the fans and the deejays and people look at me, it’s just another chapter.”
Memphis Bleek’s next chapter may include turning the page on the effects of the line, he says.
“It’s just something I gotta get over,” Bleek explains. “I’ma get through it. We fighters, baby. We get through it.”
In 2009, Memphis Bleek spoke with HipHopDX about his relationship with Jay Z and how it may impact the fans’ perception of his work ethic as well.
“My main focus is just letting people know that I do this, ‘cause I don’t get no credit, man,” Bleek said at the time. “Everybody give Jay [Z] my credit, which is cool. That’s my man. I ain’t mad. But he don’t pick my beats, he don’t write my rhymes and he damn sure ain’t in the studio with me every session telling me to go with that record.”
During that 2009 interview, Bleek also spoke about loyalty to his longtime friend Jay Z.
“I been down with Jay from before Jay was Jay, when he was known as Shawn in the projects, I been rollin’ with him, ‘til now,” Bleek said at the time. “We went from borrowing sugar from each other house to this dude – ‘Yo, let me hold a G5.’ And nothing changed. That’s my dude. Whether he said no on anything, or yes to anything, you have to follow orders. It’s protocol. It’s rules to a team. It’s certain things you have to do in life. And it’s just saying I made a lot of sacrifices to keep my loyalty to my team. A lot of ‘em.”