It must be tough to get *this* close to being successful and then have it all snatched away from you. Of course I wouldn't know, because this is about as close as I'll ever get to being successful.

Joell Ortiz, on the other hand, was signed to Aftermath Records. That's the same record label as 50 Cent. And you see what happened to him. But that was last year. As of right now, Joell Ortiz has been reduced to doing video interviews with Miss Info in a motel room somewhere in Staten Island. (Which, I've always read, is where New York buries its garbage. Dig the symbolism!)

I hadn't even been aware that Joell Ortiz was dropped from Aftermath until just now. I remember a while back there was that video of him in the studio talking about how Dr. Dre doesn't exactly "return his phone calls," or "appear in the least bit interested in working with him," and how he had heard through the grape vine that he was about to get dropped like a bad habit.

But I figured it might be one of those situations where he isn't really dropped from the label per se, but he'll never be receiving any money from the label, and the label is never gonna release any projects by him, and he won't actually be allowed to enter the label's headquarters. Not unlike the way Def Jam is planning to string along the old Roc-A-Fella lineup indefinitely, for PR purposes.

Come to find out, it was announced that Joell Ortiz had indeed been "let go" from Aftermath at the very end of one of these uber-low budget videos directed by this guy Rik Cordero. And I would have known this, except for the fact that I hardly ever watch those videos. Especially not to the very end, if all it's gonna be is a buncha dudes standing out on a street corner mean-mugging into the camera as if this was 1993.

Don't get me wrong, I think these kinds of videos are a brilliant idea... in theory. It's just that I'm hardly ever compelled to watch them. Part of the problem could be that, more often than not, it's this provincial New York second rate major label detritus like Joell Ortiz, Beanie Sigel, Duck Down, and what have you. If the budget is no longer an issue, why not get some rappers I might actually like? Or does this guy still charge quite a bit?

Anyhoo, I caught the video of Joell Ortiz talking about the ups and the downs (mostly the downs) of his career to date, and wow... the delusion with this guy.

For what it's worth, he made it a point to note that he asked for his release from the label, and I wouldn't want to have that be mistaken. He could have just as easily been like a lot of these guys who sit there on Aftermath for years on end without releasing an album, but I guess Joell Ortiz is gonna a make a go of it.

He even claims that that the album he eventually plans to release, once the lucrative bidding war over his services (heh) dies down, will feature the beats Dr. Dre was giving him while he was signed to Aftermath. Which would seem rather unlikely, given the circumstances of his release, but it could be the case that the Doctor was just giving him a buncha throwaways. I guess we'll see.

What do you fruits think? Would it be overly pessimistic of me to suggest that Joell Ortiz might be better off at this point taking whatever largess Dr. Dre has seen fit to grant him and seeing about taking some night classes at the community college - you know, something that's gonna benefit him over the long run?

Shit, I'm thinking about taking up meter-reading myself.