Joell Ortiz

Joell Ortiz has had a lot of bad breaks. It seems like every major record label he’s tried to latch on with has made promises they couldn’t keep. That, of course, led to nasty splits and several trips back to square one that have kept Ortiz from releasing a solo major label despite being one of the nastiest lyricists in the industry.

joellortiz2It’s a G.D. shame.

After gaining a ton of momentum in 2009 with super-group Slaughterhouse, also featuring Crooked I, Joe Budden, and Royce Da 5’9”, Ortiz recorded an album called, fittingly, “Free Agent,” which was supposed to be released all the way back in June. In the midst of trying to leave E1 for Eminem’s Shady Records, the release got held up, and now it’s just sort of hanging out there in development hell, while huge fans like myself wait impatiently to finally hear it.

In the meantime, the best you can do is get a hold of mixtapes where Ortiz is prominently featured. That’s where I’ve bumped into a few of my favorite lyrical gems of the last couple months, including his “Lemonade” freestyle and 50 bars over J. Cole’s “Who Dat.”

Throughout these and every other Ortiz track I’ve ever heard, I laugh. I laugh because the metaphors and analogies and wordplay he employs are so witty that I’m not sure what else to do. Also, I laugh because, ya know, some of them are actually very funny. The guy cares about the words that are spilling forth from his mouth, which is exactly what real hip-hop heads should be looking for. Well, hip-hop heads, here they are. Indulge yourselves.

In the end, Ortiz didn’t end up with E1 or Shady; last month he signed on with SRC/Universal Motown, and shortly afterwards it was made known that “Free Agent” would hit streets before ’10 was over. I say thank God to that, and I’m sure Ortiz is saying it too, but louder.

Here’s the “Lemonade” freestyle, which rocks:

And Joell’s version of “Who Dat,” which I might even prefer over J. Cole’s:

About the Author

Joel Brigham writes about stuff. It’s pretty much all he cares about. Stuff like music and more music. But he mostly cares about music. And also music.

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