If anyone has been through the industry wringer, it's Joell Ortiz. In the middle of the last decade, during hip-hop's ringtone dynasty era, the Brooklyn MC made a name for himself as a gritty, animated realist. He signed to Aftermath when the reverberations of Get Rich or Die Trying were still ringing throughout the industry, then released the independent album The Brick: Bodega Chronicles, which featured guest spots (and implicit co-signs) from Big Daddy Kane, Kool G Rap, Styles P, Ras Kass, Immortal Technique and more. But this never translated into commercial buzz, perhaps because the late-2000s vacuum ended up being filled by morose self-reflection. He left the label without releasing an album. But soon, there was an upswing: Ortiz was included in Slaughterhouse, the semi-supergroup that also features Crooked I, Royce da 5'9" and Joe Budden that was precipitated by the latter two squashing their beef. His latest single, "Lil' Piggies," capitalizes on his long-building momentum and takes aim at the industry at large. Over !llmind's shifting, percussive beat, Ortiz is "talking to every rich and famous nigga, what up." As he says, if you think it's directed at you, it probably is Their joint project, Human, is due out July 17, and is sure to be rounded out with plenty rapper misanthropy. 

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