After signing a deal with Dr. Dre’s Aftermath Records, Joell Ortiz will drop his album, The Brick, on April 24, 2007.
“The Brick” features Immortal Technique, MOP, Ras Kass, Noyd, Graph and Stimuli, plus production by Alchemist, Showbiz, and more.
This summer, while New Yorkers were debating the identity of the citys next big rapper, Joell Ortiz was excluded from the discussion. He was in the lab making records. Unlike many of the citys other contenders, whove flooded the music biz with mixtapes, Ortiz limited his hustle to just one, Who The Fuck Is Joell Ortiz?
Â“You cant get nowhere with industry buzz,Â” Ortiz reasons. Â“You dont get hot from those kids, you get hot from the interns who might still live at the projects.Â”
Nevertheless, Ortiz took meetings with A&Rs who cited everything from his weight to a missing twinkle in his eyes, for reasons they couldnt sign him. Â“My eyes got poverty,Â” Ortiz says plainly. Â“The only thing that twinkle is tears for lost friends.Â” So he soldiered on, gaining fans through his shows at SOBs, his online journal on hiphopgame.com and leaks of his popular 125 Grams series of 125 bar freestyles.
Eventually, the tape landed in the hands of a real decisionmaker, Dr. Dre. Ortiz immediately knew he was serious. Â“I sent eight songs,Â” he recalls. Â“He flew me to LA the next day. He signed me the day after that. I was back on a plane the day after that.Â” Joell Ortiz has that that type of effect on people: he can really rhyme.
Ortiz has taken the long route to success. Hes spent the last decade in the lab with noted A&R Mike Heron and even recorded with Big Daddy Kane and Kool G Rap. This progression is obvious on The Brick, his lead-up album on Koch Records that drops on TK.
Ortiz describes it as Â“a peek in on the bodega to see what happens on the project corner. Â“ He speaks from experience. A star basketball player and model student who scored close to 1400 on his SATs, Ortiz made an uncomfortable choice at 17. With both academic and basketball scholarships on the table, Ortiz elected to stay in Cooper.Â“My moms was getting high and I didnt want to hear something happened to her,Â” he recalls, Â“she was my best friend.Â”
But later, Ortiz says, Â“I got into the streets and ended up hustling to survive.Â” Soon both drugs and money were missing. Â“I fought her everyday,Â” he admits. But he also kept a watchful eye on her. Â“She just went cold turkey,Â” he says of her decision to quit using drugs. Â“I was very proud of my moms.Â”
Ortiz recounts that situation on the initial salvo of his popular 125 grams songs, eight songs that feature 125 bars of straight rhyming, which form the core of The Brick.
But Ortiz also focused on making complete records. Â“On this Koch album you are going to hear a lot of records that sound mad and painful,Â” he says. Â“On caught up I show you how 95 percent of the people who talk about hustling dont show you the fact that as fast as you can be up you can be down.Â”
And now that hes up, hes focused on proving that hip-hop still lives in New York. Â“Everybody doesnt do bubblegum rapping,Â” he says. Â“If I hip-hop is dead. I want to come across as the Spanish nigga, who shows that hip-hop is nice.
01. 125 (Part 1)
02. Brooklyn (Remix) (Feat. Cashmere, Maino, & Big Daddy Kane)
03. Caught Up
04. Night In My P’s
05. 125 (Part 2) (HipHopGame.Com Freestyle)
06. Hip Hop
07. Modern Day Slavery
08. 125 (Part 3)
10. Block Royal
12. Keep On Callin
13. Time Is Money
14. Brooklyn Bullshit
15. 125 (Part 4)
Joell Ortiz – The Brick (Bodega Chronicles) Stream Player