A “breath of fresh air” is an understatement when describing both the lyrical and emotional talent of Joell Ortiz. As New York City awaited and anticipated the true voice of Hip Hop in an era of unpromising music and trends; an era in which left the pallet of Hip Hop heads dry and in distaste, Ortiz stood above the rest- embodying the very elements needed to resuscitate the lifeless soul of Hip Hop.
Carrying the weight of the most competitive and cut throat boroughs of all New York, Ortiz is a Brooklyn man to the highest degree. Constantly reminding his audience where he’s from, it is no wonder why Ortiz is the most critically acclaimed independent rapper of his time. Standing on a mass of hardship, struggle and intelligence, Ortiz truly defines the original meaning of a Hip Hop Rapper. His style, flow, consistency and even his choice of words seem to be carefully depicted through the thoughts of a great visionary.
Above it all, Ortiz understands the concept of story-telling. His words, choice of movement and dramatic pauses cause for a potent story and in the end, causes his audience to fall in love with Hip Hop yet again, as he reignites that lustful spark that once burned effortlessly.
His story is a story that illuminates the very concept of triumph, survival and choice. With the intelligence of above average, Ortiz scored close to 1400 on his SAT exam in High School, giving him a greater opportunity to escape the pressures of his environment, and yet, he chose to struggle alongside his mother, who he states “is his best friend” in an attempt to help her through the anguish of drug usage.
It was not before long that Ortiz’s lyrical talent outweighed that of his street hustling, but Ortiz, like many TRUE Hip Hop artists, suffered the inevitable pains of rejection due to the lack of his “mainstream” appeal and appearance. His appeal did catch the eyes of Dr. Dre, as he signed with Aftermath shortly after sending in a demo tape to Dre. His perseverance has taken him to greater heights as he is now the ultimate talent on Slaughterhouse, a dynamic group featuring the lyrical talents of Joe Budden, Crooked I, and Royce Da 5’9.
Like Ortiz’s first mix tape, none should dare to ask “Who the Fuck is Joell Ortiz?” because many will simply reply, just the “breath of fresh air” we were looking for.