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Heavy Rotation with Joell Ortiz

Words by Daniel Isenberg (@StanIpcus)

Joell Ortiz is a total package MC. He’s got bars, of course, but it’s much more than that. He’s got flow, punchlines, wit, charisma, authenticity, he picks good beats, he holds his own alongside other great rappers, he can write concept songs and diss records, and he knows how to rep for his hometown but still be accessible for fans outside of New York City. Between his solo efforts and Slaughterhouse contributions, his catalog is stacked with crack tracks, including his hot new single/video “House Slippers,” which is available on iTunes now.

We caught up with Joell Ortiz yesterday for our latest Heavy Rotation to see what he’s been bumping lately. As Joell told us, he listens to most of his music in the whip, saying, “That’s where I soak it up the most. Sometimes I just get in the car and go, and zone out.” Peep his selections below, which range from bangers by 50 Cent and Drake to Adele ballads to battle rapper mixtapes (he’s highly involved in Total Slaughter), and stay tuned for the new Joell Ortiz House Slippers LP dropping this fall. Yaowa!

1. Drake “Trophies”

Joell Ortiz: “I like the Drake as of late. He’s rapping his ass off, he’s making good songs. He isn’t afraid to take shots at people. I admire what he’s doing at the moment. He’s a fantastic artist. I like ‘Trophies’—the cadence, and the flow on that.

“I always thought he was very talented. But to be honest with you, I wasn’t so much a huge fan. But lately, I’ve been finding myself liking more and more of his records, especially the harder sounding things like ‘0 to 100,’ ‘Believe Me’ with Wayne. It sounds like he’s taking pride in rapping his ass off again. That shit is dope.”

2. Adele “Turning Tables”

“I found myself listening to Adele’s 21 album again. Something hits me when I’m listening to it. It’s straight from the heart. And I feel like songs like ‘Turning Tables’ and ‘One and Only,’ you can’t make that hurt up. You can just tell that she was singing those things from her soul.

“Just like Keyshia Cole, Adele’s being missed. There’s a whole audience out there like, ‘What’s going on? What are you up to?’ But I just downloaded the 21 album again. I’m a fan. I want her to return. I was just listening to the Adele album like fifteen minutes ago in the whip.”

3. 50 Cent “Hold On”

“That shit is hard, right? It’s the first 50 one in a while where it seems like he wasn’t thinking about it. It was just like, something was on his mind and he got it off. It felt like genuine, Southside Jamaica, Queens 50 Cent. I just love it. It’s got that bounce to it, that bop. I fuck with that song.

“I’m even hearing G-Unit jumping on shit. Them niggas adding their own G-Unit shit to songs on the radio, doing what they do. I love shit like that.”

4. Battle Rappers’ Mixtapes

“We just did the rap battle, Total Slaughter. So I’ve been tuned in to the battle rappers. Loaded Lux’s mixtape, Murda Mook’s mixtape, just seeing what it is about them, and how their songwriting ability is. They love doing battles, but they all are MCs first and foremost. And some of their songs are dope. I can’t single out anybody, I’ve just been picking out mixtapes, and Googling, trying to figure out what it is. As we get more involved with this culture, I want to get to know the person, too.

“I think [the first Total Slaughter] was great. I think we—Slaughterhouse and Shady—saw what it was, and see where it can get better. The world is ready for this. They’re ready for mainstream, battle rappers. And we’re excited about it.”

5. Mally Stakz “Lil Boy”

“My young boy, he’s on my album. He’s up and coming. Y’all ain’t gonna know him just yet, but you’re gonna know him. He got a nice little movement, man. That shit is just tough. I’ve always liked to listen to stuff that ain’t crack yet, because that means it hasn’t been interfered with. No one’s over his shoulder telling him what to say, it’s just fresh off the corner.

“He’s working with The Heatmakerz right now, and they executive produced my album. He’s out of the Bronx. He’s a humble kid who can sing, rap, and he’s got this edge to him. I love his shit. ‘Lil Boy’ is hard.”

Follow Joell Ortiz on Twitter and Instagram.


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