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Memphis Bleek Explains Why He Left Def Jam

Memphis BleekWhile VH1 gears up to celebrate Def Jam’s 25th anniversary at the annual Hip Hop Honors show on Oct. 13 some artists are going the opposite route and taking the time to express their discontent with the iconic hip-hop label. For years now, artists have criticized the label for focusing its marketing energies on mainstream artists and leaving the rest, which includes veterans like Redman and Method Man to fend for themselves.

Former Def Jam and Roc-A-Fella artist Memphis Bleek recently opened up to HipHopWired about his decision to start his own label, after years of struggle under the Def Jam umbrella. “I felt like I didn’t want to put out another release under Def Jam if they going to look at me selling 400,000 copies as a loss,” Bleek said. “I’d rather lose on my own label like that, you know what I mean? So it was the process of getting out the deal, the process of getting a distribution deal and one that’s suitable for me, one that generates the right amount of attention as well as the assets…”

While Bleek is not the first artist to complain or desert the label because of poor support, he has been one of the most outspoken rappers on the matter. But amid all the criticism, there have been some recent changes in the label’s management, which might signal some relief for the its’ forgotten hip hop artists. In August, R&B singer and producer, The Dream, was promoted to VP of Def Jam Records.

Memphis Bleek’s fifth studio album, ‘The Process’ will be released on Nov. 24, on Get Low Records. The album is a follow-up to 2005’s ‘534.’

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