Joell Ortiz: The Good Doctor's Next Big Thing

posted April 23, 2007 12:00:00 AM CDT | 31 comments

Joell Ortiz is not a stage name, but actually the real name of the Brooklyn MC. Considered by many as one of the next protgs courtesy of hip-hop west coast pioneer and legendary producer Dr. Dre, The Brooklyn Representer has been killing the streets heavy with heated cuts like Hip-hop, 125 Grams, Thats Just Me and the most recent with Big Lou hitting the streets hard with Latin Assassins. The question Joell faces a lot though is the fact thats he from New York and if he has the potential to bring the birth of hip-hop back to its ruling form. On some real talk, when faced this question most NY emcees usually deliver the Im just here to make music line, but with Joell being signed with Dr. Dre there must be more on the line than just making music. Being on the grind with two record deals in hand (Koch and Aftermath) Joell is prepping for the release of his first solo project under Koch with The Brick: The Bodega Chronicles.

Joell Ortiz is very confident with his music and believes that he has what it takes to not only be a great Latin emcee, but just a great emcee overall. With that being said, Joell breaks down how he wants to be looked at as a rapper that just so happens to be Latin. Come to think about it, do we really do that with raw emcees like Fat Joe and Big Pun? Anyway, under the supervision of Dr. Dre, something has to be dope about Joell Ortiz (shit Dr. Dres is fucking with him). While Aftermath has a string of successful artist (Busta Rhymes, Raekwon, Eve, etc) Joell Ortiz is like the rookie basketball player being added to the roster that has to prove himself. The man has a story to tell about his life as hes faced many challenges- from being raised in the projects to his mothers drug addiction- so with the first album The Brick: The Bodega Chronicles, we will get a story unlike any before as Joell says Im here to stamp them again.

HHDX: Whats making Joell Ortiz one of the hottest things in hip-hop right now?
: The actual word you just said, hip-hop, Im bringing that feeling back baby. Nice with it, slick talk New York rapping MC nigga over hot beats. Im bringing back that feeling and niggas is gonna be pressing the rewind button when they hear my album.

HHDX: So you giving us mad punchlines?
: Im giving you punchlines, stories, Im giving you an hip-hop album that we all been missing, its back baby.

HHDX: So whats making you one of the hottest dudes out of New York right now then?
: The fact that I signed with the pioneer of the west coast might help. Im on Aftermath as well as Koch with two record deals right now. I remember when motherfuckers told me I couldnt get one, but thats all good Im not even mad at that. I did every underground venue you could imagine, Ive been in XXL, Sources Unsigned Hype and everything you have to do to become a rapper.

HHDX: My man been grinding heavy!
: Yes sir.

HHDX: How you feel about New York hip-hop right now when everybody say its dead?
: It aint dead were just trying to make the records we been making. Its never been dead we just started following suit and we always been leaders. Its been frustrating and thats why I did the song Hip-Hop like calm down lets get back to the basics ripping beats again like we been doing. We dont do all those other records that the south do. Its not no knock on them, Im proud of them. They got their ball rolling and they come from the bottom like I do so I aint never gonna hate on nobody. Thats just not what New York rappers are always about. New Yorkers, we are known to make head-knock music. We make that music with hard beats, slick talk, and wittiness so you be like Damn you heard what the nigga said. Hip-hop in New York aint dead its just that we stop making records that we used to stamp when we stamped them and Im here to stamp them again.

HHDX: Do you feed into all that Bringing it back talk or you can care less?
: Man Im just trying to rap [laughs]. Yall can call it what yall wanna call it, if yall say Im bringing it back thats flattering, because Im just a Puerto Rican kid in front of the corner store in Brooklyn thats getting a shot. I dont know what yall wanna call it, but at the end of the day Im just rapping over beats. Im trying to do it to the best of my ability and Im pretty sure Dr. Dre is gonna help me out with that one.

HHDX: How you feel about the category Latin Rapper?
: Im here to abolish that, my thing is not to be the nicest Latin rapper. On the real every other rapper dont wanna say it, but Im here to be mentioned as the nicest rapper. Thats what Im working towards, just like every rapper works towards though they dont say it. They just go "Im tryna do my thing." Nah... we all want to be the best rapper, so Im trying to do my best to be mention in the same breath as the best rapper. Im gonna try my best to be mentioned as the best rapper, not the best Black rapper, Latin rapper, White rapper, just the best rapper. When yall mention Joell Ortiz dont label me, because you cant label my talent. My talent is hip-hop and it doesnt have a color, gender, background, or ethnicity. It's just an art and Im a paint everywhere I can paint with the best of them.

HHDX: How you feel when people put Fat Joe and Big Pun under that category?
: Pun, though he repped hard, will definitely go down as one of the best Latin rappers, its already in the books already. Even though Fat Joe was before him as Fat Joe was doing what he was doing Pun came in prideful. Pun spit in just about every other line in Spanish so hes gonna go down like that. Joe speaks for itself, he was there damn near when it started so their gonna go down as Latin rappers. I wanna go down as a Latin rapper too, but not only for that. Im wanna go down as a person that accomplished a bunch of things not only for being Latin rapper, but a rapper who happens to be Latin.

HHDX: Now your signed with Aftermath, how come the album is coming out on Koch?
: I have two albums coming out, I have two record deals right now. What happened was that I was in talks with Koch before Aftermath, but my management got a CD to Dr. Dres assistant out there in the west coast. He called back and was like Yo Dre is really interested in flying you guys out A.S.A.P.. He flew us out and I did dinner with the Aftermath staff and I meet him in the studio and he was like Dude I really just flew you out to make sure you wasnt a knucklehead getting involved in these rap beefs, you know I took a lot of losses on my grind. I was like "You know what? Im an honest dude and Im just trying to do rap, I can rap really good and it would be an honor to work with someone like you. With that being said, he said Welcome to Aftermath, dont get it twisted Im on Aftermath, but I was already talking to Koch with this album I got done already. He said we can do an independent venture before a major deal, I was like Im a man of my word and I made the commitment with producers and studio time so before I meet you thats pretty much who I was in embedded with. Dre said "just send me the album" and at six in the morning he called me the next day and was like This is incredible, this is a great album!, so thats how it happened with getting two record deals.

HHDX: Being with Aftermath do you ever think your going get overshadowed by other artists on that label?
: Nah man, Im not even concerned with other artists right now. Im concerning myself with my Koch record thats drops April 24th called The Brick and Im concerning myself with my project. My work ethic speaks for itself and my records speaks for itself. At the end of the day you can have a basketball team with five stars in your line-up and the rookie can outplay somebody to get the starting job. Thats all Im trying to do is go in there and bust ass. Im going to go in that studio and be like Yo this is how I go into the hole with it, this is how I cross over. Im not worrying about anybody else that got the starting job, I just know that we all are on the same team and whoever helps us win more deserves to get it.

HHDX: Being how Koch how you feel when people call it a Graveyard?
: I dont know what it is for anyone else, I just know its been great for me. I cant comment on what kind of situations its been for other artists thats been on Koch, but for Joell Ortiz its been great. Its been a learning experience, it lets me know how labels run, how to move and do interviews and everything on a major level. Im so glad that Koch did this with me, its been great, and Ive been a student on what goes on at labels. They make me feel so at home. I walk in and out of that office I talk to everyone that works for me and with me. Im happy with Koch and I wish them the best. They always wish me the best, and I can see myself somewhere down the line helping them along. They're great dudes to me. I dont know about the Graveyard thing.

HHDX: You have to do whats best for you homey.
: Exactly

HHDX: With you being on the grind whats the toughest thing about the music business?
: The toughest thing about the music business outside of music is marketing to me, its so many things that they ask of you. Me, Im a little bit on the chubbier side so right now Im a little bit tougher to market. Whats selling right now is sex, sex and good looks is selling. Im a little bit on the chubby side and thats the only concern, so for me Im in the gym. I want to feel good about what I got coming up in my life as a person, so Im in they gym getting it in doing what I got to do now. Im also really focused on my music, but yeah the hardest part of it is the marketing part. Thats when the other money comes in when you can sell a product for someone when you can just stand there and look good. When you can just take you shirt off at a show and girls try to tear at your shirt. I didnt know I had to sign up for that. I thought I was just signing up to be a rapper. I realized that this business is a lot bigger than music and you can branch off and become successful in a lot of other areas. Im ready for those challenges too as well as well as challenges that been put in front of me all through my life. Im a slim down, get sexy, and get it in [laughs].

HHDX: [Laughs], my man is getting worked out for them ladies out there!
: I gotta do what I go to do [laughs].

HHDX: Why you chose to keep your name Joell Ortiz since the last time you told me your not a stage person?
: Exactly what I told you the last time, Im not a made up guy. When people refer to Joell Ortiz it feels good when someone says Yo Joell your music is good, because they're not saying nothing else. I feel like its a one on one. I feel like my audience knows me and thats what I put on my album. I only put things Ive been through or seen. This is a kid that came from the bottom for real, but it aint the same generic story. I couldve went away to college, playing ball, doing things like that. My moms had an addiction, I stayed home and helped her kick the addiction at the same time I found myself hustling the same thing she was strung on. Right now, when I visit her I see the smile on her sober face that shes smiling at a legitimate son now, a legit earning son that got two record deals and you cant beat that. Im real... Joell Ortiz all the time, because thats what you see grounded and Im not a fake person.

HHDX: I respect you on that, because Ive been in that same boat homey.
: Thats what it is man so you know.

HHDX: Tell me about this Bodega Chronicles Im looking forward to it.
: Its great man and Im let my album talk for itself Im not even gonna say what my albums gonna do. When you get a chance to listen I wanna see if you can comment badly about it, you feel me? I got joints with my dude Ras Kass, Immortal Technique, Big Daddy Kane, Styles P and Akon. Producers I got are Alchemist, Premier, Domingo, Frank Dukes, the list goes on man and it just feels real good. The record feels real good, every time I go to the studio I touch something. Im a fan first and I let everyone know that Im just a fan with a deal. Im here to bring that excitement back thats been missing for me that I know a lot of people been missing as well. Thats pressing the rewind button going Yo did you hear what the nigga just said, because its a great told story. Im just trying to bring the feeling back thats all.

HHDX: Joell I definitely look forward to the album, anything to say to the readers of
: Joell Ortiz is a real person for real and the first thing I did when I got my deal was buy computers for my projects. For so many years I lived in 10 to 15 radius and thought that was cool, because I didnt know their was a world outside the world I was living in. I got these little dudes computers. So instead of going in the back to smoke a L, drink some liquor, or have sex unprotected they can log on and see out there thats its other things to get into. Joell Ortiz, April 24th, The Brick:Bodega Chronicles, Im so for real

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