• S
    • M
    • L
    • XL
    • XXL
      • XXL
      • XL
      • L
      • M
      • S

Joell Ortiz
The Brick: (Bodega Chronicles)

joellortiz.jpgIt’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 here the over-five-minute-long lyrical marathons come off as four extensive advertisements for How to Rap by Joell Ortiz. Still, his vocabulary is so grand that these hookless tirades are somewhat acceptable. On “125 Pt. 4,” he capably spits, “We play lotto in hope that we hit our way out/Be honest, I stopped playing, my legs gave out/Don’t be mad, UPS is hiring/Tried that, after the first check came retirement.”

After ODing on wordplay, the rhyme animal finally gets down to making songs. The Alchemist-assisted “BQE” provides Joell with an ominous setting to shout out his favorite boroughs, while “Hip Hop” finds him writing an endearing letter to his non-Boricua culture over a piano-laced backdrop. On the latter, Ortiz spits, “Look at me, gaze into my eyes/See the poverty?/Now understand why this music and me gotta be/It’s something that’s inside of me.”

Underneath the surface does lie a complete artist. That’s evident in street collabos like “I’m From the Bottom Like You,” with M.O.P.’s Fame, and radio-friendly singles like “Keep On Calling,” featuring Akon. Problem is, Joell’s overzealousness to display his way with words gets in the way. Hopefully, with a little direction from good ol’ Dr. Dre, Mr. Ortiz can be more than a player who just rhymes a lot. —JESÚS TRIVIÑO ALARCÓN


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  • ACE

    Joell Ortiz:
    The Brick (Bodega Chronicles) = XL

  • ACE

    Joell Ortiz
    The Brick (Bodega Chronicles) = XL

  • Holla

    I agree with this review. The beats on this album are terrible. He’s got like 6 songs on here with old beats – those samples have been done a million times before. He’s a crazy lyricist, but he can’t make good songs – yet.

  • J Millz

    Yall relize you gave this album the same rating as Mr. Jones… The guy that repeats lines every other bar so his shit can rhyme?… I mean come on now, its like lyrics aren’t even an element anymore inorder to make a good rap song.


    From the 1st single dude is tight, what more can i say?. Aftermath album pending, dude is cool.

  • bxconnect

    i never thought i would see the day a rap magazine would give a mc a lower rating because he was “oding on wordplay”.this is my last copy of xxl i will ever pay money for.your website is poppin,salute to eskay,but your mag fell off.i guess it is a reflection of the state of hip hop.

  • Cinsere

    Son…the 125′s are the illest part of the album!!! It reminds people that this thing DID used to be about lyrics…FIRE lyrics…not just 16-hook-16-hook-16. How the FUCK are you gonna LOWER the rating cuz he’s showing that he’s a GREAT lyricist?!?!! This type of shit makes me sick!!!

  • Cinsere819

    This shit is an XL all the way!!!

  • Fritz

    I totally disagree with the rating since it was on of the nicest albums released this year. I reminded me of screwball’s first album. No commercial cuts, just raw street beats and hiphop.

  • SooWoop77

    I agree this muhfucka is stupid how u gunna rate this album L and give Mike Jones L. An when can an MC be to Lyrical? Shit is just dumb mad respect has just been lost for xxl after this review. Not only is he a real lyricist he speaks about real shit. The Brick= XL I completley agree.

  • djml

    yep losing respect for xxlmag. I guess i was counting on it being the new source but it isnt. L for this album same as Mike Jones and lloyd banks. Smh at this shit

  • P-Natra

    That´s why i never, never wanna read the review in hip hop magazine NO SCRATCH; NO SOURCE; NO XXL… fu.. that shit…Joell Ortiz is straight up XL…and don´t come 2 years later with a XXL review!!! I don´t wanna see the guys in the review office…hahahhaha

  • J.R.O.

    This album murders most albums out today.

    If Hip Hop isn’t dead, you know it’s awfully close when an emcee is considered to be “too lyrical.” Y’all missed on this one.

    The fuck outta here.

  • http://XXLmag.com Westside Money

    damn i thought he was gon get an xxl as lyrical as he iz

  • GMoney

    I bought this CD and I still play it in may car, bumping it in the hood. Ever1 has an opinion so i can respect it. To me JO has a hot CD that hardly no1s coping. Why u may ask? It’s not on a major label. Sad. If this was on Aftermath or Def Jam it might get more publicity. JO is a hot artist in my opinion. He is a guy that talks more about the real strugles of the hood than most of these “Gangster Rappers”. He is a artist that can give you a vivid picture about what he’s rapping about. Not only that, he has mad flow. You get sick and tired of the hook of the song beating in your head like a sledgehammer. I enjoyed 125 prt. 2 cause it showed of his lyrical skills. NO HOOK!! I wouldn’t give JO a perfect score (Keep on Calling is my least fav) but i will say this, XL is what he deserves. May b old beats but he rocks them without trouble. 2 Lyrical? Is Nas 2 lyrical also? Just a question to ponder. Maybe we need these artist more. Rap is more than selling drugs, fine bodacious women, snapping fingers, popping kris,customizing your whip and BEEFING (especially that). It’s also about telling a story. Common, Mos Def, Nas (in recent years) come to mind. Rap has been dumbed down and we need to bring it back to respectabilty. JO can help bring it back. Too Lyrical…wow. This is why rap has fallen to the wasteside of the music spectrum. (sorry for the ranting and raving) If you like this CD go get it, I did. JO would run circles around some of these other artist with the hype machine behind them. You know who im talking about ppl. Peace.

  • Vino

    Too Lyrical?? y’ll really shot urself this time…dude is CRAZY and u guys givin him an L?!….common! u running a HIPHOP magazine not fuckin Vogue or sumthin…get a grip! JO is HIPHOP…..SALUTE

  • Phntm

    Who the f uck is doing reviews around here? This is the best album I have heard all year. How old is the reviewer? If the new dipset album gets an XXL I am boycotting this site, I bet Richboy got one. You guys have gone uber-soft, if you can’t understand that this album is pure unadulterated hiphop you guys need to get out the buisness. Too lyrical? You are on crack, this is what hiphop is, hot lyrics over beats, not hooks and a b rhyme patterns. I am sick to see such a bullshit review, no wonder hip hop is dead. Ask any of the true greats what they thought of this album, I am sure it is worthy of more than a L rating.

  • http://dubten.tripod.com djdub10

    The previous comments have summed up my opinion really. XXL have got it wrong – proved by the people. Joell Ortiz is bringing back rap for what it is. This is a perfect example of ‘the media’ trying to surpress the true artists in favour of pathetic attempts at musicians we see in our hip-hop world today.

  • OnefiftyOne

    Hold Up, This shit is ass backwards… You mean to tell me… Mike Jones can be generic and repettivie as hell, and have no comeplexity or worplay, BUT Joell Ortiz Has every thing that Mr. Jones lacks But Threw some stretch of the imagination Their both Equal? Thats some strait bullshit… dudes gotta stop sacraficing substance for Bullshit… and just respect the dudes rhymes like your supposed to…

  • vega

    mistah fab gets an XL,and joell ortiz gets an L.that cat calls himself the yellow bus rider or what ever.what is going on with your magizine.joell should have atleast got an XL.

  • Intifada

    Joell Ortiz deserves an XL for this effort.

    Take half of all the rappers out there, and all of them combined still can’t touch Joell.

    I agree with DJDUB10.

    Media wants to keep talented artists down whilst elevating crap like Young Jeezy.

  • TaZ

    Hip Hop was built upon lyrics, beats and scratching. Of these three, the beats are the only thing in hip hop that is surviving. The lyrics have begun to ride the back and scratching has nearly died out entirely. We need a new Primo man. As for lyrics, real lyricists are being surpressed for this fuckin dance music with some decent beats… XXL please dont feed into what the media says, keep hip hop alive

  • semi

    Ortiz album one of the best albums to come out this year. Reviews like this make a plain why hiphop is dead. corporate politics, hidden agendas and plain old hate of the independents have no place in critique of art. For what it’s worth every barber in my local barbershop in Brooklyn has a their own copy of Ortiz album as do I and most of the other patrons. The people have spoken. Fuck XXL for this review.

  • http://www.reggaetonpesao.com Lokixximo

    Joell Ortiz The Brick: (Bodega Chronicles) deserves a XXL, the dude is bringing back New York state of mind and obviously this site doesn’t respect hip hop



  • abchao

    wao it’s so true yall gave this cd l same as these other south dudes dat can’t rhyme….wao Hip Hop is dead Nas sed it the industry fucked it up…..To eager to show his lyrical ability and dats bad?…

    Fuk XXL

  • J Millz

    ABCHAO I agree with you homie but don’t make it a north vs south thing cause then they will all post on here sayin shit like “His beats are weak” or “he ain’t eatin” or “this niggah down’t git no spiiins indah Cluuuhb down herrre” or some ignant shit like that. LOL

  • http://theurbanblock.com FateL

    You Hear Hip-Hop, We Live Hip-Hop

    Sign Up Today.

  • kid_cruz

    yo what the hell? XXL ya’ll slipping foreall though giving this ortiz nigga a L? how the fuck you gonna give a nigga that’s 60x better then a mike jones the same rating,is it cuz he aint making you lean with it or he aint getting jiggy with it…Fuck ya’ll i’m a go see how many mics he got in the other mag


    this album deserves an XXL a classic album every track is hot never tires out on 125 gram series what u talkin’ bout XXL?

  • How Does This Make Sense

    Mike Jones = L
    Paul Wall = L
    Rich Boy = L
    Lil Flip = L
    Loyd Bank = L
    Young Buc = XL? HAHA

    How Can you compare this album with those clowns that talk about how big their rim size is or what drink they sipping on? Hip Hop Is Dead with this type of rating. XXL Mag you should be ashamed.

    Joell Ortiz
    The Brick: (Bodega Chronicles) XXL Period.

    Listen to this album and everyone on this blog can relate to real Hip Hop

  • CMoney

    The problem today is that rappers now need a gimmick. Def Jam was willing to promote the hell out of Young Jeezy, but gave no promotion to Redman, a vet of the game. It’s all about what sells & I hate to say this, but it is what is. :-(

  • DRAC

    WTF is wrong wit dude who reviewed this? This album is heat, but I admit if you are not from the East you might not think so. You probably are too busy snappin’ your fingers and shuckin’ and jivin’, bojanglin and all that other good stuff. Maybe the Aftermath album will warm people up to this dude cuz he really is a true M.C.

  • cd

    ortiz is pretty nice on certain songs and on others his verses are aight

    u motherfuckaz must not no anything about da souf i guess we we supported ya motherfucka up north and in da west we don’t get no

    we just got recogized when lyricism is not popular. We got a lot of artist da are good at rappin but either dumbed down dey fuckin songs or aren’t fuckin mainstream. A couple of nice katz down here is Z-ro, trae, devin, justus leauge, skillz, etc.

  • J Millz


    yeah well yall need to get them artist into the mainstream son. I know there good rappers down south but yall show them no love and dont give them any shine. I went to atlanta last year and all i heard on the radio( honestly like twice an hour) was d4l and dfb. They got played more than t.i. whats up with that? and you know sumthin aint right when this gets the same rating as Mr.Jones.
    Ya dig ?


    1st off how old are you? if you under 25 you shouldn’t be reviewing shit! your brain is washed and dried wit all the garbage that crept thru since 05 ended. “After ODing on wordplay”? i wish rappers would OD on wordplay…shit keep my muthafuckin attention. make me think nigga! thats whats missin! rappers don’t challenge niggas. they don’t raise the bar they just jump over the same one faster. Hov made you think, NAS made you speculate DMX & LOX made ya emotions run wild…wild enuff to snuff a nigga out. all this partying shit is coo but every nigga life ain’t one big party. like that nigga Sigel said. rappers forgot bout they struggle. they grind to get where they at. they telling the end of the story like thats the best part. what the fuck was ya life like before the poppin bottles and balllllin! and shit like that? what the fuck. and to my man above those 125′s ARE the gems of the lp. i mean also “hip hop” “Brooklyn Bullshit” what the fuck you call those? you know what? i get why he rated it that way. see he stuck on tha LP formula that most labels put out now. the club song, the street b-side. song for the ladies, song for the hood. this ain’t that my nigga this brought me back to the “it was written” days the “36 chambers” days even the “blackout” days when rappers just jumped on a track and spit. fuck a hook just bar for bar line for line lyrics. hip-hop is surely dead and these puck ass djs magazines and labels are the ones accountable….

  • Caine

    I bought da album. I thought dis joint was dope.

  • Mossberg pump

    Ha HA HA all these east coast dick heads in hear, hes not that good he should have got a big ass M for this cup holder…

  • real


  • http://www.citylifeofficial.com COKA KING

    Man….I never thought I’d see the day that I actually went out and bought an album. JO is tight as hell. I dl’d it first and it was so tight I had to support and yes… I’M FROM THE SOUTH. I grew up down the street from Uncle Luke in Liberty City. This cat is spittin the real. You just have to listen. I’m not saying he deserves XXL but seriously the album should be XL as a minimum. In case you guys are wonderin’, no I’m not much of a fan for up North rappers aside from the obvious Nas, Jay, and Jones. But I predict JO will impact the rap industry much like Nas although it will happen in a year or two. Uhhh…. remember when people slept on Illmatic? Looks like its happening again.

  • lg

    i slept on this cat at first now i just copped the album. review he’s to lyrical but aint that us ny cats is known for come on give son some props shits is deserved here

  • CiTy

    This album deserves a XL. how can u knock a rapper for being too lyrical? ain’t that the purpose of rap. if he gets a L then Mike Jones, Paul Wall, Rich Boy, Lil Flip, and Lloyd Banks should get a M.

  • A-Town

    XXL dropped the ball again, that’s why I didn’t renew my subscription!!!

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  • http://www.insanemacbeth.com insane macbeth

    this guy’s gonna be biiiiiiiiiiiiig! i want to work with him.


    BRIXTON, south LONDON stand the fukk up!


  • JG

    Joell Ortiz is a beast; he is straight hip hop not that bulls**t they play on the radio. Album had that mid 90′s aura, its like takin me back to the glory dayz! Ya dig

  • Dyno

    J.O. is real not like some of these fakeass ”Gangsta rappers” and the cd is a must XL, Got the last of young buck rate like this and only 3 tracks of Ortiz beat up young buck CD and why u give a fuck about wordsplay? that what hip hop is all about.: Wordsplays, rhymes, flow,beat that’s it that’s all BITCH !!!

  • Big Grim

    XL all the way whats’s wrong here.

    The beats is the only downfall here and he talks about his moms too much but he goes super hard. You’ll might have to start a different rating system for the east coast, west coast and southern rappers. I’m black and my favorite song is Latino.

  • newny174


  • GI

    haha too lyrical?!?! i cant believe you get fuckin paid to review cds when you call a MC too lyrical, people like you are the reason “pop lock and drop it” and “2 step” get a hundred spins a day and joell is still hungry when he has real talent

  • Jen-uh-fuh

    Wackest review ever! Yo what the fuck was this dude thinking. Nigga go shoot yourself for this one! It’s true what they be sayin…Hip Hop is dead…thanks to cats who do reviews like this one! I supose rappin’ bout your chain hangin’ low or repeatin’ “ballin” over and over is supose to keep hip hop alive. Get the fuck outta here son! JO is HOT for keepin it real and spittin from the heart. One of the best albums of the year I agree!


    yo THEGOD u slippin a lil bit..cuz im only 19, but i know wats real brah..and i can tell yall dat im sick of dis weak industry…where da real rap at??..dat lyrical ish..dis rap thing is gettin too basic, aint nothin to it…”rappas” sound like dey spend 5 minutes makin each track..and i aint herd da radio in like 3 years, cuz all DEY play is BS…bascially i given up hope, i stay bangin a handful of cats das lyrical, dat make u think, make u rewind to see if dude said wat u think he said, im talkin bout lyrics dat make u say “dayummmmmmmmmmm dat was cold mayne”…dis reviewer said dat dis cat was too lyrical…wat da hell??…shit dat shook me forreals…a rap review sayin da rappa is too lyrical??…if rap aint dead, dude just kilt it wit dat statement..justin timberlake lyrics prolly stump dis foo…mayne fuck it..
    r.i.p -hip hop

  • ldroy bd

    yall need to relax i got this cd it is an L but its not cuz its too lyrical
    its cuz the hooks and the beats r weak
    this is a bad review but the cd is not an XL
    the only good songs on the cd r the bio, caught up, hip hop, modern day slavery and brooklyn bullshit

  • ICE

    def XL or XXL who the fuk rates these cds

  • beeyo

    Cosign every comment.
    Except the stupid ones.

  • Jah Rastafari

    …the fuck outta here. “JESÚS TRIVIÑO ALARCÓN”is an idiot…senior editor of Scratch? Wtf. Worst review ever, that shit is banging. What poor excuse for a hiphop head complains about lyricism? Unbelivable.

  • half-ton

    yoo i just got this shitt it it defitnly a xl i havent heard lyrics liek this since biggie

  • PixelPete


    Are you serious? Better yet… Are you even a real LATINO?

    If Joell’s album is average in your opinion, then which Spanish MC do you consider to be GREAT?!?

    Joell is the first emcee in years (regardless of race) with verbal skills that could even be ‘mentioned’ in the same sentence as hip-hop legends like Rakim, Kool G Rap, Nas, Biggie, Pun, Jay-Z, etc.

    That’s why Dre signed him – cuz GAME recognize GAME. And that’s the same reason why your review comes across like a ‘disgruntled rap critic’ that never got a record deal.

    And the WORST part is, you are of LATIN descent and can’t even give props to your own people!!!

    You f*cking jealous-ass HIBARO!!

    I bet you probably downloaded ‘The Brick’ album off some illegal P2P network, listened to it on a Zune, and got mad when Joell didn’t make any songs that have a corny-ass dance to go wit it – LOL.

    Don’t worry, those XXL paychecks will disappear quicker than a mob witness if you keep writing BS like this.

  • 2 Cents

    i have to be honest Joell seems to have recieved a bad review for being lyrical. Its not my style to bash a reviewer but isn’t being lyircal a good thing. Personally my favourite songs were the 125′s i was surprised his commercial songs were as good as they were it’s a shame Joell only got a large especially because double xl is known for throwing around xl’s to everyone.

  • http://www.myspace.com/dachaomusic DaChao(Look What I Have Become)

    im 100 agreeing with 2 cents. You cant sell and be lyrical Papoose is going to flop because i love lyrical artists but most people of our time can give a fuck about that shit if they cant dance to it


    yo the fucking coon that does the review lacks a brain this cd deserves a xxl like joell ortiz said im a xll artist thats my shirt size lmfao but i mean like everyone is saying rapping about the same thing gets you radio play fuk that man he has lyrics and is nice plus represents real hip hop

  • Jeru

    xxl is bullshit for this rating

  • GOC

    I would like to say 1st of all: FUCK anybody hating on this dude. In the 10th Anniversary Issue of the XXL mag on page 66, under “The Heart of New York”… FUCK you $pyda, for posting that hating ass comment
    Ok, back to the comment. This Nikka is Hot man. He really bringing back some real hip hop and these haters are gettin on my nerves. If yal wanna hate, go hate on Nick Cannon or something. Now that nikka is a wack, bubble gum rapper.
    Joell Ortiz, much love to you homie. Keep bringing that real shyt.


  • I Am Hip-Hop

    Fuck You For Giving This Nigga A L And Giving Hell Hath No Fury XXL…Son Did You Shove The Headphones Up Your Ass While You Were Reviewing The Album? But Anyway I Knew You Was Dumb When You Said, “Hip Hop” finds him writing an endearing letter to his non-Boricua culture”…Nigga Everybody Know Hip-Hop Was Started By Puerto Ricans And Blacks Together In The Bronx Nigga Im Dominican And I Know This Im 17 And Know More Hip-Hop Than You Who Did You Blow To Get This Job?

  • Maryland Nigga

    Fuck XXL. Yo, dis album was serious. I listen to this bitch everyday. Matter of fact, i bought 2 copies jus to give another nigga one. Jus listen to the 125 grams(connections) joint. U can’t sit up here and tell me dat, dat song wasnt serious…Who ever rated dis album was dumb as shit…

  • Baby_Face_HoOd

    xl at the least…. Joell Ortiz is the hottest rapper on the come up by far. He is bringing back the original essence of HIP-HOP. That classic head noddin shit, F*ck Walkin it out! Its grown folks music..

  • GOC

    Whoever you are “HOLLA”
    You are a hater!! That Album is the shyt and deserves more than a “L (large)”
    He is actually bringing forth some real hip hop, something a lot of Muh-Fu**az cant do.. Put yourself in his position, old or not, you want people to feel it. And if it can make you bob your head during every track (cuz it does) then he did his thing!!

    Big ups to Joell Ortiz.
    Waiting for your aftermath joint too!!

  • Amanda

    The review sucked. This album alone is what made me put down the shovel to bury hiphop. He had some fire beats on that album (Hiphop, 125 pt 1 and part 4, Latino, and Brooklyn Bullshit) were DOPE! And his lyrics, whoa, i havent heard a new cat spit like that in at least a decade!!!

    Sure there are a couple of changes i would have done on the tracklisting, because i KNOW he could have put out a 5 mics album. The Brick Boedga Chronocles was DOPE, but he could have put out an album as big as ILLMATIC or a REASONABLE DOUBT with just a few changes of the tracklisting.

    I’d rate it 4.5 mics, and on the strenght of resurrecting hiphop back into live, i’d say it’s a classic album still.