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Joell Ortiz
The Brick: (Bodega Chronicles)

It’s always good having friends in high places; just ask Joell Ortiz. Last year, the Brooklyn bomber’s manager used his connections to get Joell’s demo into the hands of Dr. Dre. One flight to Cali later, and the portly Puerto Rock became the latest Aftermath signee. Before dropping his Dre-guided debut, though, Mr. Ortiz decides to let off a little steam with The Brick (Bodega Chronicles), a collection of lengthy freestyles and New York bravado. Joell’s skills on the mic are undeniable, but an MC cannot live by bars alone. J.O.’s popular “125” series may have expanded his mixtape following, but ...

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