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“The Come Up Tag Execution” or How to do your big album if you a real artist or just wanna look like one on TV!

I don’t claim to be some kind of musical genius or critic extraordinaire, but my over 20 years of work in the DJ, rapper, producer, and musician field allows me to teach ya’ll illiterate motherfuckers posing as artists a thing or two about putting together your seminal album. See in this music sghit you really only got two choices if you want to be remembered for something and not for being the butt of a joke on some VH1 pop up show. Now listen carefully to these three basic rules pussies and you might actually turn out to be somebody!

Rule Numero Un: Do write about what you know and not what you think you know. – Self explanatory niggaz! There’s never a future in yo frontin’ mang!

Rule Numero Two: Take your time and do it right baby. Nothing fucks up an album more than weak mixes, tinny beats, or rushed herky jerky content. You only get to make a first impression once simpletons. It’s either you sink or swim doggy so make sure you come correct off the rip. Otherwise you get what you deserve! Rule

Nombre Trois: Just let it go. Don’t hold back now sunny, you’re there. It’s up to you. Seriously, all the preparation and long days and nights that you put into your craft have prepared you for this point. It’s up to you now. Don’t hold back and end up regretting shit. You’ve got nothing to lose and everything to gain.

Here are some of my favorite albums if you clowns need some references:

Street Songs – Rick James

Illmatic – Nas

Criminal Minded – BDP

Songs in the Key of Life – Stevie Wonder

Road to the Riches – Kool G. Rap & DJ Polo

Paid In Full – Eric B. & Rakim

Dah Shinin’ Smif N Wessun

Yo Bumrush the ShowPublic Enemy

Don DadaSupercat

-Greg Cee


Who would you like to see Joell collaborate with?

Producers, rappers, singers, whoever. Let us know in the comments.

Nothing is guaranteed, of course. But it would be dope to hear who you guys think Joell should work with.

Who knows, maybe he’ll get some ideas…

For me, I thought his collabo with Sheek Louch & Kool G Rap on Statik Selektah’s “Six In The Morning” was pretty damn ill.


Brooklyn Bullshit

2008 marks the 4th year anniversary of the so called “Brooklyn Hip Hop Festival” It also marks the fourth year I’ve been snubbed by the folks at, “Brooklyn Bodega”
I was scheduled to do as show for the Puerto Rican day Parade in Bridgeport CT that weekend
(shout to Block Royal) so I could not have done a full set at the BHHF. However, I did want an opportunity to promote the 2@atime project I am a part of. Our aim is to provide computers to underprivilidged kids in my neighborhood and I thought the festival would be a great place to kick things off. Many people tried to convince the event organizer, Wes Jackson to give me the opportunity to do 2 songs and to say few words about the computer program but Wes refused every request.

From the door, I want to say that I respect his right to refuse my participation. No problem.
However, the reason he gave to people for brushing me off was bullshit. It seems the content of my music is not conducive to the kind of event Wes promotes.

Once again, I don’t want anyone thinking what about to say is sour grapes cause I got snubbed by some random event promoter. That shit happens, no big deal. But the real reason Wes didnt want me there is cause I called him out on his bullshit the first year he had the event in the Williamsburg Brooklyn, steps away from where I was raised. Long story short, I got pissed cause there weren’t any non white locals represented, on stage or in the audience. NO one that grew up in my projects, on the Southside or on Greenpoint knew about the event. It was clear from the beginning that we uncool Black and Latin people in the neighborhood were not welcome. On top of that, they claim the name, “Brooklyn Bodega” but there were no flyers or poster boards in or around any bodegas in the hood. I found out about the event cause a friend that loads trucks for one of the sponsors told one of my managers about it. As the date got closer I found out another friend of a friend from Boriquen Projects was hired to clean up after the event.

It’s ironic they didn’t want us there because a few of the older people that live in that neighborhood actually built the space where the festival was held and they’re grandkids helped clean up the thrash after people left festival. Some those older dudes from around the South Side believe that this deliberate slight happened cause I’m Latino. I can kind of see why they think that but I don’t believe the decision to snub me was based on race. I dont think Wes Jackson is a racist.

However, the snub does speak to something just as hurtful to me,
Cultural Snobbery and Classism.
I know first hand about Classism cause I live in Cooper Projects which is in the heart of Williamsburg Brooklyn. For those of you who don’t know, Williamsburg is located in North Brooklyn and is Mecca to the hipster. Tight Jeans, Dope Sneaker Stores, Hip Restaurants, Cool Lounges and a lot of young artist types from parts unknown with lots of money renting apartments that are way too expensive.
It’s a great place to hang out on any night of the week cause there is always something poppin on the North Side. Except if your one of the poor people in that lives in this area.

Before I became Joell Ortiz, “the rapper” I was just another Puerto Rican from the wrong side of the North side. I got the automatic locked doors at the local hipster sneaker store as I tried to enter, the 1hr wait for a table at an empty restaurant and I never got any of the jobs at local shops or construction sites I applied for. It was as if I was invisible while in certain sections of this neighborhood.
Things have changed for me since those days. I am still a Rican from the North side but today the same sneaker store owner that shitted on me a few years back goes out of his way to show me new kicks when I pass by and he always asks me to take pictures in the store. He recently made a nice donation to 2@atime so all is good.

Although, certain things may have changed for me around here, on the whole, gentrification is a motherfucker for my people in this neighborhood. For instance, the local supermarket that we used to shop at closed and in it’s place they opened a more expensive one that frowns on welfare mom’s with EBT cards. They still don’t take applications at any of the construction sites and when they do hire someone from the projects or one of the Puerto Rican’s for the South side it’s only as day workers with no insurance or job security. When a worker does get paid its usually in cash from out the foreman’s pocket. Hardly enough to keep a roof over your head around here.

If you happen to be one of the working poor in this area that doesn’t live in the projects it’s almost impossible to keep an apartment. Landlords are throwing people out that have been in this area for generations in order to make room for wealthy newcomers. If they can’t get you out legally certain slumlords will opt to burn you out of your home. I’m not bullshiting. There have been more suspect fires in this area than any other time in the history of NYC. That is no coincidence.

There have been a few hippie rallies on our behalf and leftist flyers proclaiming workers rights have been handed out at local bars but for the most part, I don’t believe it. When it comes to real estate and bread they aint trying to let us eat. While landlords evict seniors that can’t afford the outrageous rents some of these same rallying hipsters are busy trying to open they’re own school in the same building as our PS 84. The hope is that they’re kids will receive a better education then the one provided by the local public school that happens to be in the same building. I know it sounds nuts but I swear it’s true. Seperate but equal, in the same building! I’m not the smartest guy in the world but I thought that shit was illegal in this country.

Anyway, I think Brooklyn Bodega represents the same kind of hypocrisy. They claim to rep “real Hip Hop” but only allow a certain kind of performer to play for a certain audience. To me, That’s bullshit. Hip Hop was started by Blacks and Latinos that weren’t welcome to party in downtown clubs owned and run by racist snobs. Those pioneers created a scene of they’re own and passed it down to us. Its only been 20 something years and our culture already has bougie snobs trying to keep poor people out of something that was created by the poor.
I’ll bet a stack that if we crunch the numbers and make adjustments for time the founding fathers of Hip Hop would not be part of the Brooklyn Bodega’s target demographic.

I probably wont ever be invited to perform at that festival but fuck it. I don’t want anything to do with a classist organization that goes out there way to exclude an entire segmet of this culture. When I perform in my neighborhood I want ALL of my neighbors to enjoy the show.

As you can tell I have few issues with gentrification. However, there are some bright spots that would be unfair for me to ignore. I wanna take a a sec to acknowledge the good people at Monkey Town on North 3rd. They gave my boy from Cooper Projects a job recently. He walked in off the street and asked if they were hiring and they gave him a job on the spot. That’s very rare around here. I actually went in there on a date one night and the chef came out to tell me and the chick I was with all about the dishes we were having. He didn’t know who I was he was just being a gracious host to a guest.
I love that spot!

You can help me help the underprivilged kids in the neighborhoods of Williamsburg and Bushwick Brooklyn by clicking on Give at the top bar on my homepage.
Our goal with 2@atime is to get every disadvantaged kid in the four projects in the Williamsburg/Bushwick area computers. I want them to know about everything that is going on in, around and outside of this neighborhood. We gonna change our community 2 kids at a time.



Listen to the Audio: Hot 97

It really fascinates me how much feeling people put into a word.  I starting thinking a lot about the word “dropped” recently. A few months ago after my former label mate Bishop Lamont told an interviewer I was, “dropped” from Aftermath.  Very shortly after his interview the news of my being “dropped” was all over the net, announced on the radio and even ended up on the evening news in Puerto Rico. People I hadn’t heard from in years called to express condolences after they heard I got, “dropped”.

A few people in my Mom’s building even taped notes on her door to express there grief over my getting “dropped”.  My mom has stood by me throughout my struggle to get a record deal and she is really protective of me so that word “dropped” affected her a lot.  She called me crying when she heard I got, “dropped”

I explained to her that I asked to be released and not “dropped” but she kept asking me, “Why are doing this to you”  I told her no one was doing anything to me but that word,”dropped” had a grip on her.  She is cool now but it was hard talking to her during that time. All cause of a word. I’ve attached two conversations about me where people are using the word “dropped”. You can hear the emotions and the acting out that goes on around the word.

The first is where the rumor of me being dropped started.  It’s the Bishop Lamont interview.  During the interview Bishop is asked about me and my situation at Aftermath. Bishop sadly says, “don’t quote me but I think he got dropped.”

If you listen you can hear the mock concern about my being, “dropped” The whole, “I am sorry things didn’t work out” story gets going then Bishop goes on philosophizing on my lack of business savvy while dealing with the big Interscope machine. None of this banter is based in reality but it sounds good.  Now By no means am I trying to disrespect Bishop or the interviewer. I’m simply pointing out something we all do.  We all put feelings on words then create conversation to justify those feelings.

In the next conversation  about me and and my being “dropped” the emotions are completely different than the Bishop interview.  This conversation takes place Between miss Jones and dj envy from the morning show on hot 97.  In this conversation you  can clearly hear the contempt with which Miss Jones ridicules me over being, “dropped”   You can also hear some anger.  All the while Envy plays the role of impartial dj that’s just reporting what he heard.  It’s all very entertaining but again, none of it based in reality.

My next example of how we sometimes add emotions to situations and words is based on a conversation I had with my dude Joe Buddens after he was “dropped” from Def Jam   When I spoke to Joe he was wild happy that he got dropped.  I actually saw joy and relief in his face as he spoke. Joe chose a different way than most of looking at the situation.  He looked at the word, “dropped as opportunity and freedom”  That doesn’t make him right, it’s just the way he chooses to look at things.

In the past a few of my friends have accused me of over analyzing things. What do yall think?  Am I crazy or do people put way to much meaning into words.  please leave comments.  Would love to hear from you.

By the way, The reality is pretty simple. I asked to get released because I was told that a few albums had to come out before they could even get close to putting mine out.  Dre was kind enough to let me go and we worked out a deal where I will still be part of Detox.  I owe them no money and they cut me a nice check for my services thus far on Detox.  I am a relevant free agent with offers on the table and have more money from shows, writing and my deal with K1X then any advance I would get from a major label.  Most importantly,  I have publishing on one of the most important hip hop projects in the history of the genre. 

Gotta Love it!


Tribute to all my Hollywood Bust It Babies…



The Come Up- First Lickz

The first time I met Sun was on a sweltering afternoon at C Mo Greens studio in Long Island City (Shout to the big homie Jerry Fam!). Lush Life co-CEO and resident asshole Mike Heron and I were splitting a 24 hour studio block down the middle, trying to save a penny or two while pursuing our respective musical joneses.

I’m winding up a rough mix of my last joint when he calls me to the lounge outside the main room.  I grab the Henny bottle and stroll over, and see a young dude dribbling a basketball and muttering verses under his breath.  “Yo, G this Joell. Joell this is Greg.” We exchange pounds as I give Mike the “Who the fuck is this dude?” grill. “He’s gonna spit over that beat I played you the other day.” “Oh, okayyyyy. What’s your name duke?”  “Niggas call me Quick!” he sneered through Sour Diesel tinted slits. “Aiight, show me what you got.” He looked at me with clenched fists, dropping the basketball that he was dribbling, and opened his mouth. Before he could get a consonant out, Mike intercepted laughing, “Nah chill nigga, we don’t do this for free! C’mon let’s get in the booth.”

We walk into the main room and the engineer (Shout out to Maxzzzz the original Cabesa de Plastico!)  hands me my work DAT. He loads up Mike’s beat as Quick walks into the booth. After a few starts and stops, Quick shakes off the first timer’s apprehension and lets it go.  What I see for the 45 or so minutes that it takes him to lay down his 3 sixteen bar verses, hooks, bridges, and ad-libs, is a young beast in the booth unlike any that I’ve seen or heard at that point in my career in rap music. Now believe me, I’m not the one to throw hyperbole out on general principal, but this kid really had something special with him.  I’m not sure if it was the Ginsu sharp details in his darts, or the subtle phrasing that turned innocuous streams of consciousness into compelling observation, or the nigga’s voice: an N Yitty Cipher combo of a ringmaster’s halting boom and a hustler’s gritty tone. Whatever the fuck it was, I knew Mike, Dennis and this young lion from the streets of Brooknam were onto something. It was only a matter of time………….