I’m From The Bottom Like You…

It’s a cold and windy night in New York City and it’s even colder in the part of the city at the foot of the 59th Street bridge. Just north of the bridge exists the world famous QueensBridge Houses. Currently, they are America’s largest public housing development. No greater symbol represents urban blight than these projects. We are all familiar with the Hip-Hop artists that have been bred in these projects so I won’t waste your time talking about them. Plus there is so much other activity and life going on at the foot of the bridge.

When NYC’s national hero mayor Rudy Giuliani removed the grime from Manhattan streets so that Walt Disney Co. could take over all he did was push the gutter behavior into Queens. It’s here at the foot of the bridge that you can still find a bonafide NYC streetwalker. Mostly young Latinas now patrol the side streets adjacent to the bridge. The game is still the same except their names have been changed. Ho’s don’t get no respect in today’s society but they make one man rich and another gets his rocks off. There’s another daily operation at the foot of the bridge. The Q101 bus makes it daily circumnavigation from Riker’s Island into QueensBridge Plaza. One leg brings the family and friends of inmates to the facility while the return trip gives newly released inmates their second, third, maybe fourth chance at accepting freedom.

On a deserted side street off the Plaza I find the address for the recording studio where I am supposed to meet this up and coming artist. A non-descript black metal door and a buzzer is all that greets me. I press the buzzer and state my name. Inside, a long corridor leads me to another metal door. Once I am finally inside the studio the sound is raucous. Everyone is either nodding their head to the blaring music or they shout over each other to converse. At the mixing board sits the engineer and the artist. Both are previewing the final tracks for his debut album. The artist gives slight instructions to the engineer all the while the boom bap bass rattle the room. I approach the artist to give dude a pound. Dude stands up and is a little taller than me and I am over six feet. “What up homey?”, he says to me. I just nod my head because inside this room conversation is wasted in the deafening wall of sound. “Let’s go outside into the lobby”, is his next sentence and I agree wholeheartedly since I’m not into losing my voice and eardrums by trying to speak inside of the engineers booth. The artist name is Joell Ortiz and for my money he might be the nicest emcee to come from Brooklyn since that dude that owns the Nets basketball team.

“What up dunny? Congrats.” is what i say when I get the chance to speak. I have to offer this cat my sincere congratulations on being signed to Aftermath and also for the upcoming release of his album on independent powerhouse Koch Records. That’s a pretty serious trick to pull off if you can manage to do it. To release two albums in the same calendar year with two giants in the recording industry hasn’t been done in rap music. Joell’s Koch disk drops next Tuesday while his Aftermath offering is scheduled for the fall of 2007. A lot of shit can happen from now until October just like a lot of shit has happened up ‘til this moment in his career. Joell was cool enough to sit down with me for a few minutes while I previewed his Koch release, titled ‘The Brick’.

Billy X. Sunday: First off, the title ‘The Brick’ is crazy The internets loves saying that when artist doesn’t see too many units that he or she has caught ‘a brick’. Did that go into your thought process when you were choosing the album title?

Joell Ortiz: Truthfully, no. A brick can have a lot more meanings and my thinking is that this album on Koch is my effort to build a career. You can have a blueprint that tells you how to build a house but without that first brick you don’t have anything physical to build on.

B.X.S.: You just said blueprint. How does your album compare to the career of another famous Brooklynite, Jay-Z?

J.O.: How does it compare? Right now the only comparison I would make is that we are both from Brooklyn. I am as hungry as Jay was on the ‘Reasonable Doubt’ album but my perspective on life is a little different. My path to this point has been different so I have to spit the things that I have seen firsthand.

B.X.S.: Do you think that ‘The Brick’ will have the impact on Hip-Hop that ‘Reasonable Doubt’ has had since it’s debut?

J.O.: I don’t know man. “Reasonable Doubt’ is a confirmed rap classic. It’s on par with ‘Ready To Die’, Only Built For Cuban Links’ and ‘Illmatic’. That was when rap music was almost cinematic. Dudes were painting pictures with their lyrics and building these grand narratives through their albums. That is where I come from as a fan of Hip-Hop. I was 15 yrs old listening to ‘Reasonable Doubt’ and being transported to the corner of Marcy and Myrtle Avenues. I can’t lie and tell you that I’m not a fan of all those albums and those are the joints I seek to replicate in my work. Not to create another ‘Illmatic’, but to return to side of Hip-Hop that lyrics and creativity back to the front.

B.X.S.: That’s what started me fucking with your music from the gate. You were a lyrical monster on tracks so much that I had to go back and press rewind several times.

J.O.: At the end of the day that’s a big compliment. All of my favorite emcees force you to press rewind because they spit so much shit inside of their verses you can’t possibly catch all that on the first take. I want to be the cat that has lil’ dudes pressing rewind and going to their dictionaries.

B.X.S.: Going to their dictionaries?!? I don’t think rap fans want to learn any new words anymore. Unless you have some new words that rhyme with ‘ice’.

J.O.: I don’t believe that either. Everyone that really loves Hip-Hop wants to be challenged by the emcee. At least I do.

B.X.S.: Who are the rappers that you are fucking with right now?

J.O.: Myself, first and foremost. I always challenge myself to improve from song to song, bar to bar, verse to verse. I fucks with Kweli, Little Wayne, T.I., Jigga, NaS…

B.X.S.: Okay, okay, who won Jigga or NaS?

J.O.: Hip-Hop won. We all won at the end of the day.

B.X.S. That was some politician answer shit. Who won?

J.O.: Real talk is that we all got to see NaS re-emerge as a great lyrical artist. He’s more relevant now to rap than before the beef. We as fans were treated to the Mike Tyson – Evander Holyfield of Hip-Hop. Jay-Z owns the Nets and sold Roc-A-Wear clothing for millions so he definitely ain’t lose either. That’s just real talk.

Part II of Billy Sunday’s interview with Joell Ortiz to drop here at XXLMAG Dot Com later this week. Don’t forget to copp Joell Ortiz’ album ‘The Brick: Bodega Chronicles’ on April 24th from Koch Records.

Joell Ortiz – ‘Caught Up’

  • http://highsnobiety.com Tiro

    I know Joell hot, but newcomers may not with the F’d up audio… jus’sayin’

  • Dipset

    Termanology murked this fool in a freestyle once….

  • Hip Hop since 79′

    ???? suspect.

  • Belize

    Good Interview…

  • EReal

    “Havin lil dudes press rewind and goin to their dictionaries”

    Thats what the fuck Im talkin bout.

    Joell is nice, I’ve been checkin for him. His outlook and view on hiphop is almost directly in line with mine, i like that shit.

    1 hunned.

  • young chase

    Ortiz is a beast. Dude does great shows. One of the few Im fucking right now. Where is Paps?

  • the R

    That track is jacked. You posted that on some 45 rpm ish. Unless Oritz hangs with the chipmunks

  • Were Read 2 Def

    >but to return to side of Hip-Hop that lyrics and creativity back to the front.

    ^He just made me want 2 buy his Kock CD w/o hearing anything from him.

  • The DJ Formerly Known as N-CREDIBLE

    B.X.S.: Who are the rappers that you are fucking with right now?

    J.O.: Myself, first and foremost. I always challenge myself to improve from song to song, bar to bar, verse to verse. I fucks with Kweli, Little Wayne, T.I., Jigga, NaS…
    ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
    correct me if I am wrong but Billy X Sunday’s favorite rapper’s favorite rapper is Weezy…you got to love that ish…muahahahahahahah…hey Retards Weezy is that dude…

  • J.R.O.

    That’s real T. I’m getting bored of waiting for Saigon (just fucking with you, of course). Ortiz is a beast tho’. I definitely won’t be sleeping on ‘em.

    Good shit, Sunday.

  • Dr Flav

    Lol @ N Cred, Billy you should have debated Joell about that, I think your readers would have enjoyed his un edited answer. Good preface to the interview though, it was like we was in Queens, in the studio, I could see all that shit unfold. Dude is over 6ft? You dont see too many tall spainish people at least I havent.

  • Pancho

    “Dude is over 6ft? You dont see too many tall spainish people at least I havent.”- DR. FLAV

    ^^^lol…I’m 5’9…that’s tall for our standards.

    Joell is a beast…I just hope more people will get in tune with Joell with his Koch album.

  • NoMamesBuey

    wh gives a fuck about this lame!?

  • Atl’s own

    booooooooooooooring interview!

    ok MC.

    next!

    lol dude fucks wit cha arch nemisis, you got to luv dat!

  • http://xxlmag.com Billy X. Sunday

    The funny ish is that when I first started putting drops on this site I put Lil’ Wang in the top 10 for 2007.

    After I started listening to that lil’ dude I was like, “This nigger claims to be better than Jay-Z?!?” Lil’ Wang is a cornball and Joell lost points in my book for bigging him up.

    From a lyrical standpoint Joell Ortiz is a giant and Lil’ Wang really is little. At the end of the day it’s whatever though. A about 5% of the people that like Wang respect his work ethic, the other 95% is bitchmade niggas who love to smoke dusted weed and pop pills.

  • rec

    NoMamesBuey Says:

    April 18th, 2007 at 3:56 pm
    wh gives a fuck about this lame!?
    ^^
    then why are you posting here!?

  • yaboy

    im 6’1 – south american.

    Im coppin Joell’s joint no doubt.

  • yaboy

    ^no homo

  • yaboy

    NoMamesBuey Says:

    April 18th, 2007 at 3:56 pm
    wh gives a fuck about this lame!?
    ^^^

    what a herb. you obviously haven’t heard any of his music…

  • Dr Flav

    Lol, Pancho, you would be one of the taller latins I seen and yaboy probably could make NBA history. Sunday, Im going to fall into the former category, dude does work hard and a large percent is quality and lighten up, all mcs say they the best, he just said it in public, I would dis him because he retracted the statement like he was shook.

  • king blair

    joel is nice ima cop that shit i usually bootleg niggas but he got skills, u give that dude the same beats from richboy album an he makes a classic

  • Pancho

    NoMamesBuey Says:

    April 18th, 2007 at 3:56 pm

    wh gives a fuck about this lame!?

    ^^^Your name fits you…No mames buey! That’s exactly what I’m talking about…end of the day…Joell being a lyrical beast won’t matter if people don’t give two sh*ts about him.

    YABOY- You are officially one of the tallest latinos out here.

    DR. FLAV- You have a point…lol…one of the sexiest women in the world is only like 4’7 or something around there (Shakira).

    KING BLAIR- Or if you give him Dr. Dre beats…he’ll make a classic as well.

  • Pancho

    oh…and if Joell f*cks with Weezy, then it has to be ok for me to dig Lil Wayne…he’s the hungriest player in the game, no doubt.

  • king blair

    Pancho Says:

    April 18th, 2007 at 6:58 pm
    NoMamesBuey Says:

    April 18th, 2007 at 3:56 pm

    wh gives a fuck about this lame!?

    ^^^Your name fits you…No mames buey! That’s exactly what I’m talking about…end of the day…Joell being a lyrical beast won’t matter if people don’t give two sh*ts about him.

    YABOY- You are officially one of the tallest latinos out here.

    DR. FLAV- You have a point…lol…one of the sexiest women in the world is only like 4′7 or something around there (Shakira).

    KING BLAIR- Or if you give him Dr. Dre beats…he’ll make a classic as well.

    i feel u i was just using richboy as an example cuz dude has some of the freshest beats on his album- an joel would murder lil wang dude makes alot of shit 50% sucks the other part is dope but he looses points for jacking a nother niggas style(gillie) anothers swag (hova-he even has a jay tat how gay is that) and anothers bio (tip-wayne went from dropping like its hot to a d boy?)

  • THAT_BOY_NOAH

    maaan already. ima cop “the brick” tuesday because of sundays article, dre legendary status, and joel for being a motherfuckin latino.

  • THAT_BOY_NOAH

    5″7′ HAHA

  • che

    about 5% of the people that like Wang respect his work ethic, the other 95% is bitchmade niggas who love to smoke dusted weed and pop pills.

    I’m a degree level economics student at the london school of economics, for those who don’t know its the equivalent of harvard i guess, same place John F. Kennedy and David Rockefeller graduated from, anyway point being that in my opinion lil wayne is a good rapper, not as good as he thinks but far from as bad as you think, I neither respect his work ethic or consider myself to be a ‘bitchmade nigga who loves to smoke dusted weed and pop pills.’ as you so eloquently put it. so i guess i’m somehow represented by 0%. A paradox indeed.

    You preach about education and knowledge a lot billy, it’s a shame you’re so ignorant. I mean you’re actually stupid enough to think that because you’ve seen a sunset in a foreign country it makes you some kind of educational enigma?

    next time mate, think before you verbally menstruate on a blog.

  • http://www.myspace.com/theanticorp SONNY CHEEBA

    Listen Billy, i don’t like Wayne on a personal note…

    but he’s like Kobe, u hate him- but gotta respect his performances!

    He stretches words like no other rapper b4 him with, the exception of Eminem…

    He’s as animated as Redman, but as cold as T.I.

    U don’t even know what’s gonna come out his mouth next… PAUSE

    and if u measure his most recent body of work, there’s no one that’s been that consistent- in a LONG time at least…

    And this is all from a “wayny hater”, so u know the boy is nice…

    Give the nigga a chance. Light a blunt of that piff, and zone out for a couple joints… Listen to that Drought 3, 2nd disc… if ur still not convinced he’s nice, ur just hating- because u seem to be fairly intelligent and can understand similies and metaphors…

    His achilles heel is he doesn’t say “real shit” like any other good poet should… And he’s ALL punchlines… But he’s entertaining none the less…

    PS Joell Ortiz will be on the Aftermath bench for a LONGGGGGGGGGGGGGG time bruh… True Story, ask The Las Emporer

  • Hip Hop since 79′

    I have been listening to Hip Hop for damn near two decades… I think you cats may want to change your brand of smoke.

    peace

  • ronburgandy

    wait.
    lol @ billy sunday asking if a JOELL ORTIZ ALBUM will have the sme impact on hip-hop as REASONABLE FUCKING DOUBT.
    i mean…

  • semi

    This kid is the truth. insane pen game

  • Beeyo

    We don’t know what’s gonna come out of Wangs mouth, but we know who’s gonna come in his mouth…(no Lil Wang)
    Baby!!

  • http://xxlmag.com Billy X. Sunday

    ^ *dies*

  • nowayne

    OK this message is to BILLY SUNDAY
    u just now said all of ur favorite emcees make u rewind the tapes to catch all the lyrics because they spit so much inside one verse HMMMM lets think here which emcee makes u rewind the tape more then any other emcee just to catch his lyrics…… WAYNE just stop hatin on wayne billy sunday and joell oriz is donkey fiya

  • Maddi Is Gangs

    Fuck Do All Of Ur articles Have to be Shit!!!
    I mean Cumon.
    Nigga Please Get Ur Shit Right!!

  • weezybaby

    billy, give wayne a chance..if he was in your top 10 before than he really is now..

    album wise he is nice..

    he does bs on freestyles but hey..theyre freestyles!

    but alot of rappers dont stay on subject anyway…in freestyles at least

  • hannah smith

    Worst interview questions ever?

  • John Brown

    B.X.S.: Who are the rappers that you are fucking with right now?

    J.O.: Myself, first and foremost. I always challenge myself to improve from song to song, bar to bar, verse to verse. I fucks with Kweli, Little Wayne, T.I., Jigga, NaS…
    ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

    Damn Billy, why couldnt this interview be video taped. I can just picture your face when homeboi dropped Waynes name. Ha ha ha.

    Dell Computer: $1,499.99
    Paying for Internet service a month: $19.99
    Billy expression when he found out that his favorite’s rapper rapper is Wayne: PRICELESS

  • semi

    Ortiz is official. Mos def top ten of new school but Jigga status?
    Come on Billy Boy

  • The DJ Formerly Known as N-CREDIBLE

    ^ *dies*

  • FPL

    Im not sure how you niggas say it up north but I think CHE just Ethered Billy bad ass!

    I dont think you get it…the nigga that you think is nice is a nigga who is feelin Wayne. I dont think he was naming niggas who have great work ethic, you cum stain.
    Im from the South and the fact is….if Joel was from the bottom you would discount his skills…think about it….Why do you fuck niggas from up north ever mention ANDRE 3 stacks in your 10 anything…..

  • EReal

    He said he fucks with Lil Layme, not that its his favorite rapper. I dont think BXS even said that Joell was his favorite rapper anyway. Why you got BXS’ and Layme’s dicks all in yo mouth??

    1 hunned.

  • J.R.O.

    Why ya’ll ignoramuses gotta hate on Sunday? Ortiz said he fucks with Wayne… That is all. Ya’ll are like ‘I’m Blooded’, outta no where, being dumb. Don’t act stupid.

  • Elijah

    @J.R.O, that was WAYNE’S girlfriend faggot ass N-CRED, that made it seem like Ortiz(in miche’le voice) said “Wayne’s my favorite rapper”

    and N-CRED really KILL YOURSELF NO PLAYING, REALLY